I’m back from Texas, where I saw a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and sold a not-insignificant number of books. Pictures and such will have to wait; today, I’m back to work. But some quick hits from the long weekend:

  • The highlight, easily, was Saturday night’s open house. Over the course of the night, we saw more than 100 people stream in, stick around for conversation and food and enjoy 600 Hours of Edward. Big ups to Mom’s Catering (that is, my mom and her stellar party-making skills) for making the evening a big hit. I saw former classmates, former teachers, friends’ parents, people I didn’t know (but now do). It was a great time.
  • After Friday morning, I had a greater appreciation for the difficulty teachers face in trying to deliver a lesson, knowing full well they aren’t reaching everybody. I spent four hours with English classes (three at a time) at my alma mater, and I really appreciated being invited in by Richland High School and all the good questions about writing and life beyond high school.
  • Thursday morning, I spent time with English classes at Harwood Junior High in Bedford, Texas. The organizing teacher, Donna Baumgartner, was my third-grade teacher back in 1978-79. Wonderful to see her, and wonderful to see so many kids who clearly love reading.
  • After Harwood, I dashed out to the North Richland Hills Public Library for a reading and a Q&A. A lot of nice folks — many of whom I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years — came out for that. I’m looking forward to the next event at that beautiful new building.
  • Off-topic but near and dear to my heart: My wife, Angie, surprised me with a tour of Cowboys Stadium on Friday evening. The Cowboys’ opulent new home is absolutely stunning and far more impressive than the actual team.

I’ve been gone from North Richland Hills long enough and have lived long enough that visits tend to hit me in squarely in my nostalgia. On this trip, it seemed there was a memory around every corner. I had a lot of fun showing Angie the places I wandered when I was a kid, pointing out houses where my friends lived, plots of ground that used to be open space, etc. The Dallas/Fort Worth area has grown with such vigor in the past couple of decades that much of the background of my childhood has been left behind. I suppose that’s progress, in its own way. To me, though, it often just seemed like the erosion of the place I knew.

At any rate, we stumbled home to Billings on Sunday night. As is always the case after some time away, it’s good to be here.

AND ONE MORE THING …

600 Hours of Edward received a lovely — and long-awaited — review from the LL Book Review. The site originally planned to review the self-published version of the book several months back and graciously agreed to delay the review until the book re-emerged.

A snippet:

I could go on and on about all of the really fine points of this book, to the point where I might rival the 80,000 words of the novel itself. The bottom line is this is a book which should be experienced.

Thank you, LK Gardner-Griffie.

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