Saturday, October 11, 2014

A story with gaps

On October 11, 2008, coming off a happy summer that had involved a great internship and a lot of tree-climbing, I climbed one last tree on the Simmons campus. I sat for a while--it was quite a nice day for October--and read from the dual volume of Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward from my Nineteenth Century American Children's Literature class and from the copy of Much Ado About Anne I'd yoinked from The Horn Book's "No Shelf." When I finally decided to go inside, I guess I didn't properly mind the gap between the branch I was sitting on and the one I wanted to step onto.

Fractured spines and shoulders aren't fun, and the next few months were not my favorite time.

There were certainly good things in the gap between then and now. I graduated from Simmons. I healed enough to work in a great bookstore, and I got to know a lot of wonderful people. But I never liked October 11.

Here's how I spent October 11 this year. I spent it in thoughtful discussions of gaps in children's book content, and of logistical and economic gaps between books and the readers who need them. I spent it surrounded by people who care a lot about stories and how we tell them and how we get them to kids. I spent parts of it behind the registration table and behind bookcarts full of swag bags. I spent it (and the awards ceremony last night) with good friends old and new. And in case anyone requires reassurance, I spent it on solid ground.

These snippets of a story, meaningful to one individual with an overdeveloped storytelling impulse, don't have much children's lit significance. But maybe they mean Pollyanna was onto something.

And they definitely mean that I, like Anne, shouldn't walk ridgepoles.