It’s warm outside, again. We found a baby squirrel on the sidewalk. We took him home to make him comfortable, and he was, and then he died. The dog was very maternal, very careful, tiptoeing as best a poodle can tiptoe around the box. That was a good day, lots of sunshine.
Here he was, pink and alive and sleeping:
Fresh from the AWP conference in Chicago, where I listened to Marilynne Robinson talk about fiction and morality, gazed lovingly at Starlee Kine from the back of a packed panel on radio storytelling, crammed a tote bag full of postcards and journals and pens, ate not enough food and not enough water, and stayed up far, far past my bedtime every night.
Shared a pleasant train ride back up north with an enthusiastic man who announced that he absolutely loves the train because it is so relaxing, before gathering his laptop and power cords up and bidding me adieu for the lounge car, where he leaned back in a booth and slept with his mouth open, snoring (this I know because I passed him several times on my way to get water) for the entire 8-hour ride. He returned to our seat thirty minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis, pumped my hand and said it was wonderful to have met me, best of luck, and then he put on his hat and stood at the door, waiting for the train to pull into the station while the rest of us turned back to our Words with Friends.
The AWP conference was okay, a little frantic and disorganized (schedule Dan Chaon to speak in a room that can only hold 25 people and you will have a clusterfuck of hatted literary types struggling to push through the door), but it was pleasant to be in Chicago on its birthday and see old friends and laugh hysterically because we were eating dinner at 1:00 in the morning, and we’re thirty years old, can you believe it?