Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm 59 years old today,

And I have barely learned how to be 40. 

At 40 I was making my big move off the island to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 

I had one restaurant behind me and two in front of me. Two chapbooks behind me, and ahead- two more chapbooks of full-length book of poetry and three books of memoir and fiction. 

I have lost a lot; my father, relationships, beloved dogs, health. I've gained a wife, new friends, more dogs.

Some things equal out. Others never can. But with loss, if you're lucky, comes knowledge. And the ability to more fully appreciate what you have, the will to hang on tightly to what is important.

I've been staring at this page from dark through just dawn to now the full light of early-morning, trying to shape my thoughts, trying to fit all my gratitudes into neatly contained sentences.

It's not going to happen. There's been too much good in my life in just the past two weeks to possibly fit on this page. Because if I've learned anything in these 59 years I've learned it's the little things, the day to day of a blooming fruit tree, an old friend reconnected with, the smell of honeysuckle on a walk with an old dog –

those thousands, millions of small moments that make up each day, each year, each life, that must be cherished. 

These moments, this now,  that I can so easily  let slip by in my push toward major achievements, events that may never even happen, or if they do, might not live up to my high expectations.

It's what I don't expect that can most thrill me, that flash of red caught from the corner of my eye, the unexpected scent of low tide carried on the wind, the sound of a long forgotten accent. All this, and then some.

Hey -

Happy birthday, world. Thank you for the flowers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

i'm pretty sure you can never have enough . . .

pictures of happy dog butts.

I bet that was not how you expected that sentence to end. Although if you have known me long this is exactly the kind of comment you'd expect me to make.

These pups may be getting on, but they are still happy to be doing something they love.

You know who else is happy? These kids.

Yellow Brick Road preschool
I read to them last week. I also read to Earthsong Montessori but I didn't get any pictures there. Sorry, Earthsong. Guess you don't get your fifteen minutes of fame. At least not from me. 

In all, I've read my silly sea poems to over 80 kids in the last two weeks.

True, some of this was shameless self promotion. But it may have worked. We sold a ridiculous amount of books before and during the signing on Saturday.
Bruce Macdonald looking dapper and artistic, and me in my hammerhead shark shirt.
me looking dapperly authorish
I don't know where most of you were, but you missed a swell time.

The book, looking appropriately bookish.
Also the fish inside are gazing longingly at the baked goods.
 You cannot see this but I could have shown you if you'd been there. Your loss.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I’m pretty sure . . .

preschool had not yet been invented when I was a child. Or if someone had invented it, they had not strapped it into a car seat and driven it into the hills of east Tennessee. 

Of course I am ancient enough that no car seat would have been needed.  They could have tossed preschool into the back of an open truck and hauled it over the state line.

But I digress. 

The point I was driving at (isn’t it amazing how I continue to extend the metaphor even as I correct myself) was that there was not even the whisper (or perhaps I should say faintest of fumes?)of preschool in my town  in my formative years. I am absolutely sure of this because if there had been anything even remotely resembling it my mother would have enrolled her daughters as the first test cases.

Look how I even managed to include a female parental unit reference in honor of mother’s day.
this is me and my mom. I am not reading her my book. i just thought you'd like the picture.

Why have I used all these words just to introduce the subject of preschool?

Well, because last week I went to preschool.
And I liked it so much I am going again this week. To a completely different school.
And maybe I will go to yet a third school before week’s end.

If you are asking yourself the perfectly reasonable question why, (and ignoring the hecklers in the background whispering that I have finally found my peer group) let me just say that I love reading to children and interacting with them. And sitting on the floor listening to a four year old relate the entire plot of Finding Nemo until my knees lock.

Okay, maybe not the last part.

See, I wrote this book of silly poems called Washed Up in the Waves about the sea and its creatures. And somebody swell  (Bruce Macdonald) illustrated it. And somebody also swell (Mariner Media)  published it. And now I am hawking it shamelessly.  

And, most kids in the age range it’s written for need to have the book read to them.  Preferably again and again, using all the different voices. (You gotta use all the different voices, people.)

Hence the trips to local preschools. (plus, I just like reading to kids. It’s a flaw)

By the way, did I mention I have a book signing Saturday the 14 at the Bookery in  beautiful downtown Lexington, VA?

What a coincidence, huh?

Life is funny that way.

"But, Margo," you cry, "I live too far away to make it to your signing-"

Despair not. I have a simple solution to your problem.

Log onto  
Then wander over to the shop page and buy the book, hit the special instructions tab and tell me how you’d like me to personalize it.

It’s almost like being in VA in the springtime. Only without the pollen.
Here’s the shameless self-promotion part-

BUY THE BOOK, PEOPLE!  From me,  from your local bookseller,  from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Order in bulk from

Because if you can’t take your child to the beach, the next best thing is to bring the beach to your kid.
this child is actually in florida. but she loves the book. her favorite is the clam poem.

And because I asked nicely. I was brought up right. Even without preschool.