"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My day in New York

It is almost 11 pm and I'm munching on soft baked chocolate chunk cookies, thinking about the day. I did not sleep well, last night, tired after the flight from Haiti, and disturbed by the constant background noise. I had forgotten how noisy New York is. This morning, I was tired, and nervous, well, more like borderline frantic, actually. Of course, I didn't need to be...

I walked the streets of Manhattan for more than two hours, reacquainting myself with the city before I reached the 192 Bookstore in Chelsea. It is a lovely bookstore with a very good selection of books. Dimitrea soon showed up with her two adorable daughters, and then, more people arrived. I read the book and Dimitrea talked about her process as an artist and an illustrator. It was very interesting, and everyone was so nice, and not even bothered by my accent.

I ran back to my room to shower and, most importantly, to change shoes ! My feet were killing me. And I took the subway to Utica Avenue and the Brownstone Bookstore on Lewis Avenue, in Brooklyn. There again, a lovely place, with a nice, cosy feeling to it. 

There again, the response was lovely. People seem to really appreciate the story, they love the illustrations, and I even got to meet the models that Dimitrea used to create several characters in the book. I'm feeling very happy and content, tonight.

                                Posing with Dimitrea

               This handsome young boy was the model for Amadi.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Second Reading, in Brooklyn, this time.

July 30 will be an exciting - and busy - day. I mentioned the reading at 192 Books in Chelsea, but I will be giving another one in Brooklyn, at Brownstone Books, in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, at 7 PM. For those who live in Brooklyn, my old beloved borough, or those who can't make it in Manhattan, in the afternoon... As for the other reading in Manhattan, the illustrator of Amadi's Snowman, Dimitrea Tokunbo, will be there with me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The 14th of July in France !

It's been a while since I spent the 14th of July in France. This is our National Day. Parisians stormed La Bastille, in 1789, and it became a highly symbolic event in the calendar of the French Revolution.

As a child, we'd often stay up late to watch the fireworks and sometimes dance at the balls, if we happened to be holidaying in some village. As I mentioned this to my daughters, the other day, the older one decided she wanted to see the fireworks and to dance as well. Any excuse to stay up late, really. I didn't know where the fireworks would happen, but I found out, and at 9 PM, I packed the kids into the car and drove the 7 kms to the town of Apt. There was quite a crowd in the big square where we watched the sprays of colors light up the sky. I was so happy to hear the girls going "Ho!" and "W0w!" and to share that very French moment with them. My patriotic bursts are rare enough for me to be able to boast about them, I think.

After the fireworks, a band started playing Seventies Rock, and we stayed a little while. My older daughter was obviously fascinated, more by the action than the music, I think, as it wasn't very good at all, quite frankly. But the little one was getting tired, and I suggested we go. We started walking in the direction of our parking space, but upon crossing a street, I heard Latin music, and immediately, my ears pricked up. A small band was playing in front of a pub. There were tables outside, and the area was packed (the crowd was almost as thick as in the big square.) We stopped and listened to the band who played Cumbia, from Colombia, and it felt wonderful to hear good music, and to see the people around us appreciate it and dance to it. 

Why do I report this here? Well, it just stroke me as interesting that on such a "French" day, people gathered spontaneously around musicians from a distant country, singing in another language, playing different rhythms. It made me smile, and it made me happy. It may not be much, but somehow, I find it revealing. I do not believe such a thing would have been possible when I was a child. Not because people would not have appreciated or enjoyed the music, but because the opening, the opportunity, simply weren't there. Now, it seems almost natural. So, that was our 14th of July in France. Lovely fireworks, and then, the joyous rhythms of La Cumbia. A multicultural moment, just the way I love it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My first reading in New York City

I will be reading Amadi's Snowman at 192 books in Manhattan, on July 30, at 2 PM.
The bookstore is located on Tenth Avenue, at 21th Street, in Chelsea.
Dimitrea Tokunbo, the illustrator, will be there as well. 
If you are in New York at that time, please, come and say hello.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why do I write?

I certainly didn't know it when I took the leap and decided to "try my luck" at getting published, but isn't this one perfectly lovely reason?

Please, meet Alice, in Moldavia. I'm just thinking I'd love to collect pictures of children from all around the world, reading my book, and with such concentration, too.  Thank you, Alice. I'm so happy that you liked it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where have I been?

I cannot believe it's been a month since my last post. The last weeks in India where totally crazy. I worked on my website, tried to prepare for our continent-hopping summer vacation and the fact that we'd be gone for two months, and the usual last days school activities, etc. When I left for France, I was tired, and stressed out about the fact that the website was not entirely done. It is now up and running, but still needs some fine-tuning. Still, if anyone would like to visit it and give me feed-back about it, please, don't hesitate.

On a much, much sadder note, my husband was supposed to join us in France, tomorrow, but he had to fly to Haiti as the cancer that his indomitable father had been mocking for the past ten years had finally caught up with him. My father-in-law waited for his son to arrive, and died a few hours later, peacefully, at the end of a life he lived with true joy and generosity. Hundreds of people from all classes and walks of life attended his funeral, many of them waiting on line for hours so they could pay him their last respects. Adieu, Papa AndrĂ©. Wherever you are, now, I know you're the life of the party.