We made it home from the Great American Prairie Odyssey Extravaganza on Tuesday night. I think I’m still recovering from all the car time, road food, and prolonged exposure to the random whims of Midwestern “oldies” stations (like playing Russian Roulette, where the bullet is something like “St. Elmos’s Fire”), but here is a brief compendium of our travels:
- Miles driven: about 1400
- Covered wagons viewed, replica or otherwise: 7
- One-room schoolhouses: 6
- Replica sod dugouts: 4
- Haysticks used for purely decorative purposes: 3
- Number of times an exhibit guide or sign purported to explain the origins of the phrase “sleep tight”: 3
- Number of times an exhibit sign refuted commonly explained origins of the phrase “sleep tight”: 1
- Sunbonnets purchased: 4 (YES I KNOW)
- Old iron stoves: at least 12
- Outhouses: 4
- Nineteenth-century parlor organs: 6
- Live pageants: 2
- Live cows: 3
- Girls in sunbonnets: 600 (estimate)
- Miniature horses: 2
- Leeches encountered in Plum Creek: 0
- Times we heard “Afternoon Delight” on the radio: 2
I’ve been putting up pictures and more are forthcoming. Remind me also to tell you about the night we thought lightning would zap us and our covered wagon/camper thing into oblivion.Â Oh right, I guess I’ll just put that in the book. Anyway, it was an amazing trip.Â Sometimes it was grueling, but sometimes the stars were singing.
I’ll be making one more trip this month, to NYC, where I’ll be reading at the launch party for Love is a Four-Letter Word on July 29th at 7pm, along with Maud Newton, SaÃ¯d Sayrafiezadeh, Amanda Stern, and Dan Kennedy. If you’re in town, come by and say hello, and if you’re elsewhere, check out the book. Even though I have forsaken the glamorous big-city publishing world to roam the prairie and collect commemorative plates, it is still totally exciting to read Susan Toepfer’s piece about it in True/Slant and the reviews in WSJ and the Paper Cuts blog at The New York Times. It has been a weird, occasionally isolating summer, with all this writing and long drives through cornfields, and so it’s nice to experience a little taste of that jumpy happy post-publication stuff.
If you are reading this on Poundy.com and not through one of those fancy newfangled feed-reader thingies, you will notice that things look different today.Â That is because I finally updated my WordPress software and the new version rejected my old customized theme like a bad kidney.Â I just installed the same theme that I have on my other site and slapped up a new banner today. It’s a quickie resdesign and I’m still tweaking things, but I actually sort of like it. My plan is to eventually incorporate poundy.com into wendymcclure.netâ€”just move the rss feed and all the archives over and have the URL refer to the newer site (which can be done, right? I don’t always know how these things work!)â€”but for now this is just a step in that direction.
In some ways, that’s been the most exasperating thing about working on this book: having to take so many small steps, whether it’s writing a couple hundred words in a night, or doing just enough laundry, and keeping it all going, wherein “all” is several dozen tiny wheels that squeak along and take forever.Â But I’m getting somewhere, yes?Â When will it feel that way? 200 pages?Â You’d think that since we drove over a thousand miles last week that I’d have a sense of how it all adds up in time, but no, I don’t.Â Well, never mind, I’ll get there somehow.