June 2017! Published by beautiful Running the Goat Press. Inspired by the community I live in, Lismore Sheep farm, storytellers everywhere, artist Deanne Fitzpatrick and—of course—baby lambs. So grateful for this team and the art of amazing Darka Edjeli.
I was unpacking the boxes marked kitchen, arranging juice glasses onto the shelves when Gilles called and asked could I start to pack a bag—he had to rush home, fly out at once to New York: a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I'd had my first visit to New York City only the week before. New York had never been on my dream destination list but I seriously and unexpectedly fell head over heels in love. I'd caught New York Fever, a New Yorker told me.
From the notebooks of Lynnie Lucette Eliza MacGinnis, 1968. Yesterday all I worried about was the overpopulation of the planet, babies starving in Biafra, nuclear bombs, radiation, pollution, the extinction of the bald headed eagle, ignoring Jesus, going to hell and the possible invasion of freaky aliens who hover around our neighbourhood in spaceships called U. F. O’s or Youafoes, as my brother Fen says.
Sometimes characters are hard to get to know. They play hide and seek, especially if you've been not paying attention to them—but when they do emerge, they can just jump up from the page and knock you over. Lynnie Evans has been one those characters. The novel is almost over. She's still surprising me. I never saw the french kissing part coming. It's taken me so long to write this book, she's entered puberty!
Do you know it really happened?
As wild as it might seem
The youngest was the wisest
And peace was not a dream
Here, take my child.
She has written a poem:
“dandy lions are golden buttons in the grass”
Smell those dandelions, see the image,
Before you tell her dandelions are weeds or
Dandelions is not spelled correctly.
Here, take my child
but... TAKE CARE.
As doors close at River John Consolidated School and summer begins, the RJSOS wait for word and confirmation and time when Premier MacNeil will meet with them. We still believe, if all the facts are fully known, Premier MacNeil will help this community find a way to pilot their creative HUB School. The community will continue to rally.
Like so many of her readers, however, I'd "met" her, or felt like I already had, in the pages of her books. To me, everything she's ever written is a wake up call to action. Meeting her changed my life the same way her books did. I discovered more about what I thought and believed or rather what I didn't know that I didn't know and knew more about who I was or could be—as a result. I still read—love and/or wrestle with—her work.
For now, this made me stop and gasp. Almost thirty years later, I'm at work on Majorly Weird and Freak/wently Wonderful, a Doubleday title. I've never made it rich or famous. (But I got to meet Mr. Dressup and that's way cool.) I've worked with amazing editors. I've told the stories I needed to tell the way I needed to tell them.
Little did I ever imagine I'd end up living in a community and become part of a team fighting for their school. But it's a much bigger fight than that. It is about justice and finding a new way for rural communities. It's about sanity-making in a system so top heavy it's forgotten—is disconnected.