Well, I was never in Kansas. But I was in Vermont. Only yesterday. And now I’m in Texas. Austin, Texas. (It is an hour earlier here, but I still managed to be a day late with this blog entry. Sorry about that.) I’ve never been in Austin before. I’ve actually only ever been in Texas once, and we were driving through the very northern tip of this big state and I was sick with a fever, lying down in the back seat of the car, for the duration. So maybe that doesn’t really count anyway.
I’m here now, though! And I am thrilled about it! My agent is having a writer’s retreat with her clients this weekend and I am lucky enough to be able to participate in that, and right now I am attending the Texas Library Association’s conference, and visiting with my amazing friend Kelly Bennett, and, boy, am I lucky on top of lucky to be doing that too!
Austin smells different than home. It smells like flowers opening and cedar and sage. The air is thick and just a little bit moist, like a sponge, and it soaks up the scents and holds them there for you to walk right through. Birds are chirping and the sun is shining and a lake saunters along the city. And here’s a cool thing: bats live inside the bridge that spans the lake. Lots of them. At the height of their season, which is July, there are more than 750,000 bats—all mamas and their newborn babies—who live there. And they all fly out whoooooosh at dusk. Incredible.
Kelly has been teaching me all about lovely Austin. She is a brilliant guide and an even better friend AND a phenomenal writer. Her new book Dance, Ya’ll, Dance is a gorgeous tribute to dance hall dancing and to Texas. It has been pure joy hanging out with Kelly here. And there is more to come. Soon I will connect with my fellow agent-mates and talk writing process and the mysterious publishing world and life as a writer.