Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stealing from Sophie

I'm stealing from Sophie Blackall today. Sophie's the Caldecott-winning illustrator of Finding Winnie and my future friend. She might not know that yet, but it's true. I like Australians. (That's a family joke; it would take too long to explain.) This weekend she was featured in a little Q & A in the New York Times book section, and today, fresh out of ideas for this blog, I'm stealing the format. I'm afraid my answers might not be as interesting as Sophie's, but hey, we can't all be that interesting. Here goes.

READING: I've usually got about six books going at once. I'm still working on Naomi Novik's final Temeraire novel, which is a bit of a shock given how quickly I devoured the first ones. I read an ARC by Juliana Gray called A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, which I thought was extraordinary indeed, though frustrating as since it isn't even being published until October I'll have to wait extra-long for the promised sequel. I'm reading The Long Weekend, about life in English country houses between the wars--that's more-or-less research--and a book called Fluent that explains how to learn a foreign language really well. Every time I travel to another country I'm ashamed of my monoglot language skills. I'm going to do better.

LISTENING: I don't listen to anything while I'm writing. In my car right now I'm alternating between the soundtrack to Hamilton and a CD of Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader of the Civil Rights movement, who has the most gorgeous full rich voice.

WATCHING: I am not really a tv or movie person. If I lived alone it's possible I would not have a tv. The last thing I sat down to watch on purpose was Season Six of Downton Abbey, which I saw last fall though an internet fake. My daughter watches Mythbusters and Doctor Who; my son sports and Dan Patrick talking about sports; my husband sports and cooking shows. We Tivo Survivor and Battlebots. It's not highbrow round here.

FOLLOWING: I love the Yarn Harlot. I'm a fan of Sarah Bessey. I love Lin-Manuel Miranda's tweets, and I pay attention to the Disability in Kid Lit blog, some of the School Library Journal blogs, and whatever my friends call my attention to on Facebook.

GOATS: Sophie Blackall, who lives in Brooklyn, confesses a longing for a goat. I live on a farm in east Tennessee, and I have had goats, and that will not happen again. My goats were 100-pound Angoras with huge curved pointy horns, and the idiot I got them from castrated them the same day he sheared them for the first time. This means that every time I had to shear them they were convinced I was trying to cut their balls off all over again. You've not lived until you've had a knockdown fight with an enormous raging stinky goat while wielding an electric machine capable of cutting your fingers off. Trust me, it's not as much fun as it sounds. I found my goats a good home elsewhere and do not regret it. Now it's possible that Sophie actually wants a goat like my neighbor's goats, which are tiny and cute and excellent jumpers. And hornless. And not shearable. That would be okay. But I'm done with goats, thank you.

PONIES: I've got 'em! Half a dozen, including the oldest surviving pony in Sullivan County! He's a cantankerous old coot, but better behaved than most goats. Sophie, come visit! I'll take you riding! And thanks for this blog.