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August 2018

July was the quietest month I've enjoyed in a long time. Stillness is an important, albeit almost lost art, and I'm grateful that this last month allowed me the gift of stillness for days at a time. It is in moments of quiet that the creative mind has the time and space to do its work. No wonder I came up with ideas for new books! Hopefully, at least one of them will make it out into the light of day.

Independence Day wasn't the only thing special about this July. At church one Sunday, a friend came running up to me, waving a copy of Reading with Patrick, a memoir by Michelle Kuo. "Look!" said my friend, excitedly. She pointed to a page featuring references to my work, including my novel, Jazmin's Notebook. Talk about a sweet treat! To match it, I got to read Kate Messner's mention of my poetry in her new novel, Break Out. There, it is her main character, Elidee, who was inspired by the work of several poets, myself included. So cool! And here's the book about Madeleine L'Engle that I was interviewed for. It's such a great book that I wrote a blurb for it!​

Reading with Patrick Michelle Kuo   Breakout Kate Messner   A Light So Lovely
         

While the pace of life was slower than usual for me, there were definitely highlights. First and foremost was my trip to Pennsylvania to receive the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for One Last Word. The event took place at Penn State University in State College, PA. Following a lovely lunch with award committee members and university staff, I took advantage of a captive audience by reading several selections from the book and talking about the inspiration that led to it. Afterwards, I was pleased to sign copies of the book for a happy crowd. I could not stop grinning! Lee was unable to attend, though, but he insisted that he was there in spirit. (I'm happy to report that I did not see any apparitions!) Even so, Lee's presence was felt by all.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award name change

Receiving the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award put a smile on my face.

Highlights' Word Garden

Penn State, where the award ceremony was held, is a beautiful campus. Loved coming across this Carnegie building that used to be a library.

Later in the month I took a trip of a more personal nature. I went to Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle, to visit good friends Gina Maria Mammano (adults, look for her book Camino Divina:Walking the Divine Way) and Rick Vander Kam, who now calls Washington home. We stay in touch online, of course, but there's no substitute for a real hug, in person, no digital devices required! And, since my friends and I are all writers, we enjoyed reading aloud and listening to poetry—my favorite thing, in case you didn't know. You really must try it, sometime!

 

Well, that's it for now! Until next time.

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Nikki Grimes

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