* Still no cover yet. Don’t fret: you’ll be the first to know, once it’s official and I’m allowed to shove the artwork in everyone’s face, crying, “Look! Looooook!” So really, enjoy the quiet while you’ve still got it.
* I started reading Enchanted Glass yesterday, Diana Wynne Jones’s last novel (unless there’s something posthumous up the sleeve of her estate)(ooh, the Wikipedia page makes it sound like there is another one, or part of another one anyway). It’s proven extremely easy to slip into so far, as if she wrote flannel pajamas instead of books. Very comfy. Maybe not earth-shattering, but you can do worse than soft pajamas on a chilly morning.
* It is a great sadness to me that she died before I could give her my book. I suspect the moral of the story is that we ought to thank the people who have a profound influence on our work – thank them directly in a letter, I mean – rather than waiting for the work itself to be our subtler thanks. Because you really do never know!
* Well, okay, she was 76 and had lung cancer. I suppose I could have guessed that time was fleeting.
* I got to meet Lloyd Alexander eight years ago, before we left Philadelphia. He very graciously let me and my friend Sarah come to his house and talk to him for an hour. I gave him a two-page comic story I’d done about him for an anthology called Spark Generators (where cartoonists talked about their influences; mine was one of the few stories about a prose-fiction writer). Anyway, I consider myself lucky to have had that opportunity.
* There are so many people we can never thank, or never thank adequately. Sometimes all we can do is hope our work holds a candle for the next generation in turn.
* How did I get all somber, here? This was going to be a series of amusing vignettes, ending with a coy allusion to the fact that I have received a couple nice blurbs from real, not-dead, also-beloved authors. I hadn’t realized that the process of questing after blurbs would require me to write letters, but it has and I’m very glad of it. Even when nothing blurblike comes of it, I’ve been given opportunities to thank people whose work has been invaluable to me, and I really appreciate that.
* But ah, Ms. Jones, I regret having missed my chance with you.