Archive for March 15, 2013

Fan Mail #167: My New Favorite Reader of All Time (w/ Artwork!)

Here’s a sweet letter from a sweet letter-writer named Bridget. And, oh yes, she included original artwork that I can add to my Fabulous Gallery of Fame.

My reply:

Dear Bridget,

Thank you so much for that lovely, well-written letter. I feel blessed to have you as a reader. Truly. You made my heart rise up into my throat there for a second. Forgive me, while I try to hack it out . . .

Cough, cough, COUGH . . . HACK, whomp, COUGH.

Ah, that’s better.

I’m sorry it’s taken a while for me to respond. That happens sometimes when readers write directly to the publisher, there’s a bit of lag time. Plus, you know what else happened to me? I had EAR SURGERY.

Yeah, that’s right. Yuck.

It’s left me a bit vertiginous.

Should I wait while you run off to find a dictionary? Oh, nevermind. I was just showing off my awesome vocabulary. It means that I’m dizzy.

I loved your artwork, thanks for that. You are awesomely talented.

I’m very glad you liked that particular book. It’s one of my favorites, too. I had fun with the substitute art teacher, whom I loosely modeled after Stevie Nicks, a singer from the band Fleetwood Mac. I like that she’s kind of New Agey, which is a nice way of calling her a “Space Cadet.”

I actually have a sister, Barbara, who is a little like that. Hey, you live in California — you must know the type.

Your letter was lovely, of course, but what’s this business about me being “ONE” of your favorite authors? You mean I’m not the only one?! Numero uno? The top banana?

(I’m pouting now, depressed.)

Seriously, I love so many different books. When people ask me about my favorite authors, I can never decide on just one. It’s just a long, long, long list. And I’m really happy, Bridget, to be on yours.

Oh yes, almost forgot. Your mom is incredible! You are lucky that she takes you to the library so often. Give her a squeeze for me.

Keep reading, drawing, and writing.

My very best to you,


P.S. I have a new series coming out this July called SCARY TALES. Just right for fans of Jigsaw Jones who don’t mind a case of the shivers.

P.P.S. I’ve included a video of Stevie Nicks below, so you get the idea. She was famous for wearing flowy dresses and twirling around a lot. Oh well. The 80’s were a confusing time for many of us!

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Quick Link: Baseball, Childhood Cancer, and a Family Comes Full Circle

This is a story I’ve told before, 4-5 years back, but recently retold over at my other blog, 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball. The name pretty much says it all.

So I’ll direct you to it. Right this way, people —> Click on this link right here.

A sample of what you’ll find there, my oldest boy, my beautiful wife  . . .

Standing within the gray, concrete hallways of Shea Stadium, I couldn’t help but think of my mother, and how our love of baseball had brought us to this singular moment. My boy, sick with cancer, smiling weakly into the camera, a Sharpie and a signed baseball in his hand. All those games we had watched together, our spirits dashed by defeat and lifted in victory. All of that time and energy invested, all of that life we poured into the game — all of it, truth be told, a little absurd. After all it is just a game. Not life, not death, and certainly not childhood cancer. But standing in that basement of old Shea Stadium, I knew with certainty that it all had been worth it. We will always be grateful to the Mets organization for the kindness of that day.

Jigsaw Jones Conquers Scotland, Vows: “Belgium’s Next!”

My apologies, friends and neighbors, for ignoring this blog.

I have an excuse!

I had ear surgery nine days ago and, well, it’s not nearly as fun as it sounds. While the prognosis is good, the short-term result has been consistent dizziness. Only now am I beginning to emerge from the woozy fog. I still stagger around, and I’m very careful on stairs, but I can finally read for brief passages and — look! — write in bursts. But it’s a strange sort of writing, because I feel as if only half of my brain is engaged in the activity, going on autopilot. I can’t tell if I’m making sense or not.

Anyway, I got a terrific note the other day from a friend who is on sabbatical in Scotland.

She wrote:

For book week last week the kids at Claire and Graham’s school were encouraged to dress up as a book character.  Claire announced that she was not doing it because “P7’s (her grade) do not dress up,” but Graham was game. He decided to be Jigsaw Jones and made this costume all by himself.  I thought he did a great job considering our limited costume making supplies.

That was sweet to learn, since Graham is a personal friend of mine and, I might add, one heck of a hockey player. I keep wondering about those poor, confused Scottish kids who never heard of Jigsaw Jones — big in Germany and Portugal, but a nobody in the British Isles. They must have stood there, dressed in tartan and clutching their Bay City Rollers lunch boxes (right?), wondering what kind of books this crazy American was reading. I told Graham that he really should have been Clifford the Big Red Dog or, I don’t know, Lord Voldemort. But I accept the honor with gratitude.