So... I'm in Kenya. And I get this email. I've just gotten back from a little ramble out of Nairobi to see the flamingos at Lake Magadi and I'm sweaty and sunburnt and in desperate need of a shower. Actually, I get three emails. All basically the same thing: "Natalie, we're trying to find you, this is the Boston Public Library. We need to ask you something. Very important. Please contact us."
And I think, jeez, these people are really serious about their overdue fees. And then I think harder, and back further, and nearly choke on my nyama choma*. I think back to March, when I took a wild, blind shot in the dark and applied to be the Children's Writer in Residence for the Boston Public Library. Why was it a long, blind, wild and crazy shot? Friends, this is Boston. The people here are smart. (MIT? Harvard?) And motivated. (MIT? Harvard?) And having just gotten back from the NESCBWI conference I knew for a fact that they are also writers. Oh, are they writers. You can't swing a cat and not hit a writer. And good ones. I'm talking Jack Gantos and Peter Reynolds and Jane Yolen a million others who are too amazing to even be offended for being left out**.
So anyway, after a bit of phone tag across continents and oceans I get on Skype with the lovely Alan Andres who is sitting in this room full of books, and it's just so perfect, and he completely and permanently blows my poor mind by telling me that I'm going to be the next Children's Writer-in-Residence for THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY. I think he told me some other stuff. I don't really know. I'm pretty sure I was hyperventilating. I also ran a dozen laps around my apartment at 11PM shouting, "I'm the Writer! I'm the Writer!"
(You don't understand - I don't win these things. I entered my critique group's Christmas story contest and didn't even get honorable mention.***)
But in any case, by some miracle or misjudgment I won it and I'll be there soon. Scratching away. Counting my miracles. BPL has given me the gift of a lifetime, and I intend to put it to use.
Hope I see you there.
*roasted goat - yum.
***granted, those folks are tough. Again, Boston. Writers.