Earlier this morning Brando got "stuck" under the house and cried and cried until I sat down with my head under the house and talked him out. This amounted to me saying "Get out of there!"--and suddenly he discovered that he wasn't really stuck at all. Now I'm sitting on the sofa with Sula curled up next to me, her head resting against a Penguin Classics totebag that served as my luggage over the weekend. Thursday night I flew up to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book. Friday morning I had coffee with Anne Landsman, who was there with her new book The Rowing Lesson, which was inspired by her father's death. Then I went to Barnes and Noble, where two local SPCA's (CASPCA and FSPCA)were having an adoption event. They made sure to bring plenty of pit bulls for me. One, in particular, spent a lot of time in my lap. His name is Michelin, because when they found him he was covered in tire tracks. Poor Michelin thought he should spend the morning running up to each of the other dogs to kiss them thoroughly all over their faces. Not all of the other dogs agreed.
Inside the store, I was part of a panel on writing after Katrina, and there were the usual questions about what is happening or isn't happening and why. One woman in the audience insisted that nothing has been done to rebuild Mississippi, which isn't true, and yet she was so insistent I realized I should just let her think that rather than have an argument. Later, it occurred to me that she must have also thought that New Orleans is all fixed up now.
After signing books, Anne and I went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's old estate. A really interesting house, full of dumb waiters and double pained glass tea rooms. All kinds of design innovations from the mind of someone who must have suffered from OCD. He even slept in a cubby between two completely different rooms, so he could step off the bed into his study or into another room. Or simply stare at the clock fixed directly across from his resting head. From there we went to UVa's campus for a reception, then on to dinner. I slept a few hours, left for the airport at 4am, arrived in New Orleans at 10am Saturday morning, went directly to NOCCA to teach a class...and then home to collapse.
The dogs are happy to have me home. The blueberries are blooming on the front porch; the tomatoes are struggling in the yard. And I think we'll just take it easy for a week or two.