21 Dec Travels, Talks, and Tinsel
Last week I went on a road trip. And North Dakota decided to come along in the form of the first blizzard of the season. Nice timing, old state, old friend.
North Dakota normal:
Usually drift is not a problem. The skies are blue. The roads are clear. There’s just this drift of snow. Constant. Shifting with the winds. The most difficult thing about drift is that it makes you dizzy. After hours of staring at the snow blowing sideways on the road, you start to think that the road itself is drifting sideways. It’s a mind boggling condition. Sort of like inner ear. Just a little confusing. Until the winds pick up and the sky starts to turn white, too.
White out happens when the winds pick up, the snow picks up, and all the world turns to white. The sky and the land merge. You can’t tell anything anymore. Pretty soon even the road is white. After awhile you can’t tell up from down, east from west. It’s funny though. It comes and goes. Drive by a belt of trees and bingo, no wind, oh, THERE’S the road after all!
Ice is about the worst thing to drive though. It gives you that funny roller coaster feeling. Yup, that’s my car, kind of slipping off to the side. Slow down. Don’t hit the brakes! Just keep driving.
HARVEY, North Dakota
So after a few hours of mixed up roads, wind, snow etc., I arrived. Harvey North Dakota! The librarians had gone out of their way to advertise, “Author Coming to Town.” I felt like Santa. They made a gorgeous bulletin board and had my face up on each of their computer screens.
Because the weather was bad, the large contingency of elderly Red Hat Ladies didn’t make it into town-many of them living on farms around the area. But about fifteen people showed up and we had a grand old time: PowerPoint show, readings from So Many Africas, and a Q&A.
Afterwards, they not only gave me a speaking fee of twice what I had asked for, they presented me with a gift bag. Inside? A bottle of locally made Chokecherry Syrup and one of Plum Jelly. A Pride of North Dakota sticker adorned the jars. Harvey was good to me!
CARRINGTON, North Dakota
The next day I spoke at the Carrington City Library. The local newspaper carried a front page story of the Author Talk, and my name was advertised prominently on the Bank’s billboard.
Again, North Dakota didn’t favor me with good weather. The day before all the schools had closed down for a blizzard day. Not very conducive.
But ten people showed up. One of them was a high school freshman who had just finished writing her first novel. We talked half an hour about writing, agents, and getting published. I loved it! What a joy to talk with and encourage a young woman who has writing on her heart. After an hour long presentation, Q&A, and book signing, I was back on the road.
Thank you to each one of you who made this trip memorable. I’m thankful for small towns and local librarians. And I’m thankful to live in North Dakota where trees are frosted and shine like tinsel and the sun blazes in the cold.