Fall 2013
 
 

Dear Friends

A couple of years ago, my friend Bob (the one who talked me into running a marathon at the last minute) built us a sleeping porch outside our bedroom. It looks like a little cabin from the inside, is screened on three sides, and the bed hangs from rough cut 4/4 beams. Since we've had it, we sleep outside from April to November (sometimes later than that). These past couple of weeks, I've gone to sleep looking out at the clear hard stars, to the sound of coyotes and barred owls. We have to put on a couple of blankets this time of year - it's the best sleeping weather there is.

So things are good around here.

I'm in the middle of fall craziness and having a good time doing it. As long as I stop at a certain point and don't worry about what isn't getting done. And the Red Sox in the playoffs forces me to stop.

 
 
Inside the sleeping porch
 
Charlie Bumpers A
 

Charlie Bumpers vs the Teacher of the Year

 

Much of our work in the past several months has revolved around the release of Charlie Bumpers vs the Teacher of the Year. While we've been getting the word out on that, I've also been putting the finishing touches on the second book, Charlie Bumpers vs the Very Nice Gnome and outlining the one after that. Pshew. It's been great to get positive feedback from reviewers, teachers, parents and kids about Charlie. I spent a couple of days at Southern Pines Elementary School in North Carolina, where every kid knew the story of Charlie – there aren't many more things gratifying to an author than hearing how their work has reached people.

 
     
Opera  
 

Bill and Paul at work

 

 

I'm also beginning work on an opera I'm writing with my friend Paul Phillips for the North Cambridge Family Opera Company – a community family opera company that has commissioned us to write a piece for the spring of 2015. Tentatively titled "Weedpatch", from a story I have developed, it takes place in a federal migrant labor camp in California in 1940. We're excited about the story and all the possibilities it presents for music. More on that as we get closer to the date.

 
Annual concert to Sing Away Hunger  
  On Saturday, November 16th at Lincoln School with shows at 11am and 2pm, Keith Munslow and I will be doing our annual concert to benefit the RI Community Food Bank. If you are anywhere close to Providence (or know someone who is) please come. I promise that you will have a great time. You can get your tickets by clicking here or call (401) 942-MEAL (6325) for more information.  
     
Taking a Break  
 

And then there's the performing, which is still the bread and butter around here. Hotel rooms - bleh, airplanes - bleh, long car drives - bleh. But then performing - well that's the good part. Like Jackson Browne sang, "the only time that seems too short is the time we get to play."

BUT! As far as that goes, other than a few commitments I’ve made, my plans are to take six months off from from traveling and performing and um, income generation (hmmm...). It starts in January. I'm excited. And nervous.

I'd love to visit you – after the break!

 
Books  
 

I’ve been reading a lot about the Okies and their move to California, and came across Whose Names Are Unknown – a novel by Oklahoma native Sanora Babb, that captures the Dust Bowl and the migrants' experience in California. It didn't get published when it was written because Steinbeck beat Babb to the punch and publishers didn't think there was room – but it's quite an amazing book – only published in 2004.

I very much enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. Also working my way through a lot of Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly. They keep me up at night. And finally, a friend gave me Gary Snyder's essays A Place in Space: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds and I'm reminded how much I've always liked his writing and spirit.

Best to you all,

 

 
From the Office
  Charlie Bumpers audio cover  
 
Charlie Bumpers: Audio Book!
 
 

We've been so busy telling you to read Charlie Bumpers that we completely forgot to mention that you can listen to it as well!

It's available as an audio book (2 CDs) read by the author himself.

You can find it on the Charlie Bumpers product page along with the hardcover book version!

Listen to chapter one here.

 
     
 
Upcoming Shows
 
   
 

 

 
   
 
www.billharley.com & Round River Productions
301 Jacob St
Seekonk, Massachusetts 02771
800-682-9522 Michele@billharley.com