I hope your windows are shut and your insulation is good. I hope you get just the right amount of snow, depending on whether you like it or not. I hope if you get it, it doesn't turn immediately to icy slush, and then freeze so you cannot get it off your driveway. I hope your car always starts, and your gifts get to wherever they're going on time. I hope you eat everything you want and lose five pounds by January 2. It could happen!
Things are good here. I am off the road for two months – part by accident, part by design. That is a good thing, because we have –
Rationally, a ridiculous decision. Over the past month, I have often been reminded of those first two years of our children's existence, wondering who I was and why I couldn't get anything done. At the end of the day, in our house, there are destroyed dog toys all over, some inexplicable damp patches on the rug, shreds of destroyed cardboard boxes and socks, and finally one exhausted puppy. And Debbie and I, thinking 8:30 is a completely acceptable time to go to bed.
But - it's a blast, too. A Border Collie mix, Django is already showing some of that wolfy running style Border Collies have when they're chasing something (no sheep yet, just frisbees). And smart enough to get out of any enclosure we've devised. A puppy is kind of like life - frustrating and affirming and exhausting and joyful.
So, that’s what we’re doing.
I’ve just recorded the audio version of the last Charlie Bumpers book, Charlie Bumpers vs. the End of the Year that will be out in April. It was fun to do though saying good-bye to Charlie is certainly bittersweet. I wrote a song to accompany the last book, which you can listen to here…a teaser before the book…
For my next books, I'm looking for a good literary agent. I have a couple of leads, but if someone out there knows someone (or is someone) that might be a good fit, let me know!
On January 12, I’ll join my cohort in musical and storytelling crime, Keith Munslow for our annual Sing Away Hunger benefit for the RI Food Bank. We’ll be performing in the beautiful new theater at Moses Brown School in Providence. This show is always a blast, and we’re happy to raise money and awareness about the problem of hunger. You can check it out and get tickets at rifoodbank.org/sing-away-hunger.
We’re lucky this holiday season. Our two sons, Noah and Dylan, and Dylan’s wife Marken, live close by and are doing great work – Noah busy translating from German several projects, including this article that was in November's issue of Harper's- and Dylan working for a local oyster farm that is dedicated to sustainable farming and aquaculture (and oysters for his dad) while Marken does design work and pop-up food events. Noah and Dylan’s band,the Horse-Eyed Men play to growing audiences in New England and they host a monthly show (WHEM) at the Columbus Theater in Providence. Debbie’s parents have moved and are living near us, so we have a widening circle of family. And friends.
It’s that time of year! You need something. We have something. You buy it. I sign it, or we can send it with a card to the one you love, or both. In particular I want to remind you of three recordings I did this year – Further Around the Bend – stories and songs for the younger crowd, Stickeen – the telling of John Muir’s adventures in Alaska with a brave little mutt, and Same Moon, a live recording (in our barn) of some favorite stories and songs hitherto unrecorded. For the season, it has the epic, “Santa Doesn’t Wrap”, which my pal storyteller Sheila Arnold Jones said she couldn’t stop laughing at so that the people in the waiting area at the airport eventually had to move away from her - just the kind of reaction I’m looking for.
We’re reading dog training books.They’re really people-training books. Very difficult to train people. I won’t bore you with them.
At my friend Clare Murphy’s suggestion, I’m reading A Way of Being Free by storyteller/poet/novelist Ben Okri. If you are of that tribe, I highly recommend it – it is REALLY beautiful and thoughtful. I’m also completely entranced with Rebecca Solnit’s latest book of essays, Call Them By Their Names. Solnit, to my mind, is one of our best essayists – she always makes me think about things in a new way.
I also really enjoyed Dvorak in Love by Joseph Skvorecky – a novel about Dvorak’s time in America, told from seven or eight perspectives. Next up on my bookstand is Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling by the inimitable Phillip Pullman. I was figuring I might try this storytelling thing out and see if I like it.
Have a good month. Stay warm. Be kind. Stay in touch!
From the Office
All Bill Harley books and CDs are 20% when you use the promo code Holiday2018 at checkout! This includes the Charlie Bumpers audiobooks!!! There's something for everyone. If you can't figure out what to give, visit our Holiday Gifts section for some ideas.
The promo code is good until Wednesday 12/19/18 at Noon EST. It doesn't apply to Combo Deals or any products not produced by Round River (ie Songbooks).
We're working on our new website, but it's not ready yet. But it should be done soon! We can't wait to share it.
Django hard at work on the website, mailing your orders and answering your emails!