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Readin' from Eden

Sunday, August 20, 2006

photo by Tina Tolins, used by permission. Thank you, new friend! Hi Grady!

On Friday afternoons, the Chautauqua Bird, Tree and Garden Club holds informal "chats in the woods" at the Burgeson Nature Classroom just behind Girls' Club. Tall oaks, poplars and maples surround a row of wooden benches, and a wooden podium collects acorn caps, to be brushed away by the next speaker. On Friday, August 11, this classroom was the scene of my first real reading. Accustomed to speaking with eye contact, I was a little unsure how a reading would go. I spent much of the day writing interstitial text and thinking about what I would say to introduce each essay. I selected pared-down versions of four essays from Letters from Eden: "A Bad Day for Starlings," "Once Bitten," "Chicken Fever" and "Calling Kali." These are some of the punchier ones; the first one tells the story of a starling in our yard who imitated Liam's voice; the second tells about my copperhead bite and ensuing drive to the hospital; the third confesses a secret urge to own a flock of chickens; while the fourth is a heartbreaker about leghold traps. I was absolutely unprepared to have applause after each essay, and it was also a pleasant surprise to see a good number of Kleenex deployed in the 50 or so people who came to listen. Hmmm. It was interesting, something I would like to do more of. It was like reading commentaries, but with more opportunity to emote and use some acting skills than radio allows. You can find out more about the book here and order it here.
I'll be shipping copies, signed to your liking, in mid-September. Wow, that's coming soon. I cannot wait to see this book. I'm all ate up, as they say in southern Ohio.
Bill came to lend his support, and we opened and closed the chat with some songs. Photo by Neal Cantrell.

Phoebe and Liam sat in the audience with friends. That was really cool, singing in the woods, to our kids, with my love. Photo by Neal Cantrell.

Music puts the finishing touch on any talk, and I'm grateful to be able to sing with Bill, who brings great guitar chops, soul, and a public relations executive's expertise to everything he does. He kicks me up ten notches in every arena of our lives. I am one lucky woman, I'm old and wise enough to know it. Photo by Neal Cantrell.
Thanks so very much, Guitarzan. It was ossum, and so R U.

PS. Chet Baker is well enough today to leap up and repeatedly kiss unsuspecting guests who are not leaning over. He has been tusslin' with his toys and gnawing lustily on his Nylabones, begging for hamburgers, and was even seen on the kitchen table when he thought nobody was looking. Yep, Baker's back, and full-size.


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