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Welcome back! Or just plain welcome!

by Susan Henderson on September 1, 2006

Do you like the new digs?

Okay, I’m not done decorating yet but it’s been too long since I’ve had company so I opened the doors anyway. Welcome!

If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you can be pretty certain I’ve missed you. If you’re new here, welcome, and feel free to introduce yourself. It’s a friendly crowd – talented and generous, too!

What is LITPARK.COM?

It’s a literary playground for writers, readers, thinkers, artists, musicians, and everyone who feels at home here.

What to expect?

Mondays – A question of the week, starring you!
WednesdaysUnique interviews with authors, artists, songwriters & more!
Fridays – A chat about you and us!
Saturdays – Special guests and hot topics!

That’s a lot of exclamation marks – sorry, but I’m excited because I know some things that you don’t know.

Thank you to Mr. Henderson who came up with the page design, using my grandmother’s old typewriter. And thank you to author, Terry Bain, who built this blog for me from nothing but a desperate list of demands.

I’ll keep it short today so you have time to poke around and subscribe and invite your friends. Unless ”¦

*

Maybe you have a little more coffee left in your cup and don’t feel like doing your work just yet. Maybe you’re even wondering what I did on my summer vacation? Well, okay. For those of you still reading, I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to.

I started to outline and draft my third book. For a moment there, I was in my zone, watching the book write itself.

Then my family and I set off for South Africa – but first we stopped in England.

We went to Mr. Henderson’s childhood home and stood outside the gate, afraid to knock. (Also, what does one knock on?)

We hung out with our boys’ godfather and had Thai food at a pub with my favorite Pasha Malla, where we watched France beat Spain in World Cup soccer.

We went to Brighton Beach to eat fish and chips, slide down Helter Skelter, and look at sand sculptures featuring the history of Rome.

On to South Africa, where we were met at the airport by Mr. Henderson’s childhood friend. (They were boy scouts together). Cape Town looks more like Honolulu or San Francisco than the South Africa you see in, say, Sarafina!

I wonder: Has anyone noticed that Mr. Henderson set the wrong year on the camera?

It was winter there, meaning jeans and a sweatshirt felt fine to us, but many of the locals wore knit ski caps and heavy coats. Since I didn’t pack a sweatshirt, I spent most of the vacation in clothes I borrowed from our 6’3″ host.

I should mention it’s really windy there! Most pictures of me feature hair in my mouth.

We saw everything from penguins to whales to elephants to warthogs. See how the warthog goes down on his wrists (elbows?) to eat?

The kids rode ostriches. (Ostrich steaks are delicious!)

What else? I did a reading. (Afterward, someone said it was “a humbling and redemptive piece. And if it’s true, you’re so brave to write it!” What did she mean by that?)

I babysat our friend’s two-year-old. (This I did a lot.)

My oldest (Bach-Boy to you regulars) was very affected by the townships and small children traveling miles along the highway to collect firewood.

My littlest (Green-Hand Henderson) sat in with a local band and jammed on a guitar made from an oil can.

We visited Robben Island, where my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe, were imprisoned.

We left changed.

Back in New York, I sat on an editor’s panel with C. Michael Curtis (The Atlantic), Charis Conn (Harper’s), and Jessica Brilliant Keener (Agni) at the Backspace conference. I was nervous and my teeth chattered when I spoke.

I wrote photo essays for thenervousbreakdown.com. Some are up now; some will go up later.

I worked a little more on the new novel and then got stuck.

I was occasionally an emotional wreck regarding the two books I’ve written that exist only on my hard drive.

I missed you guys and felt impatient to blog again.

I visited my parents in Virginia and got my first tattoo at Kings Dominion amusement park.

It was only an airbrush tattoo, so it’s already washed off.

We played soccer, had visitors, went to open-mic, and adopted a greyhound named Steve. I read lots of galleys, went to readings, bragged to my friends how I wasn’t ready to send my boys back to school, and a week later thought I’d die if my boys didn’t go back to school and fast.

That’s pretty much it. Summer is nearly done and I am done with summer. Bring on the acorns!

*

Okay, that’s more than enough. Now for you. Tell me what you did on your summer vacation.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Myfanwy Collins September 1, 2006 at 11:15 am

Love the new blog, Susan! It looks beautiful. Can tell I’ll be spending a lot of time here. Your photos are great.

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Lance Reynald September 1, 2006 at 12:01 pm

welcome back.
so good to see you.
my vacation……wow, thats a book.

xo-LR

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Ellen Meister September 1, 2006 at 12:02 pm

I love your new digs! It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Kudos to Mr. H and Terry Bain for all they did … and to you for your vision and this very generous gift to the writing community.

My summer was spent doing publicity for SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (the book launch you attended plus my first tv appearance, first radio interview and a few other firsts!) and revising my second book, THE SMART ONE. I’m turning it in to my editor on Tuesday and I’m no where near ready. So glad it’s supposed to rain all weekend so I won’t be tempted to go out and play.

Good to see you back, Sue!

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Richard Cooper September 1, 2006 at 1:08 pm

Susan,
What a cool new litpark to play in! Thanks for letting me read–the illustrators are FASCINATING.
Best,
Richard

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Pia September 1, 2006 at 3:06 pm

Oh, yeah, Sue, you’re back! The summer felt long without your blog. Mine was pretty good, with trips taken to places too far away from New Orleans. I’m having trouble turning my back on the city since K.

I’m trying to figure out the meaning of the numbers and symbols above the letters, because they don’t correspond to my keyboard. Should I be worrying about this?

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Mary Akers September 1, 2006 at 4:27 pm

Yay! So glad you’re back!

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Matt Bell September 1, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Hey Susan! The new blog looks great!

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Susan Henderson September 1, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Myf – I’m so glad you’re here!

Lance – I was hoping you’d come by early.

Ellen – That’s the sweetest thing to say. Thank you. I finished your book last week and loved it! And funny what you say about this overcast weather – it’s my favorite whether and practically the only time I’ve spent the days outside all summer.

Richard – Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully very soon all of those old interviews will be listed along the side of the blog for easy-access.

Pia – Pia! I keep thinking how it’s going to be reading your books when they come out and knowing how much of that setting and that history is just gone now. I’m so glad you captured it. I have to say I don’t feel hopeful yet about what New Orleans will mean in the future – it just feels forgotten except for these anniversary speeches.

The typewriter keys are old, and that’s how they used to look. I’ll show you next time you visit.

Mary – I’m so glad to see you here!

Matt – Hi! How’s Dancing on Fly Ash?

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teresa t........ September 1, 2006 at 9:24 pm

Gee, your park hath many mansions! It’s as clever “as a dog reading Shakespeare on a hire wire”(stolen from Dean R. Koontz) and I’m as excited as a dog with two tails (probably something Dr. Phil will say in the near future if he hasn’t already)to see you back in WiredTown. Thank you for all of this fine work.—–teresa from City Lights Bookshop (the one in Canada that has nothing to do with that Beatnik store in SF)

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Jordan September 1, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Sue, your digs are Gaw-jus. Love it here very much. I’ll fix the link at my new site shortly so that people can come here and play.

yay!
J

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Julie Ann Shapiro September 2, 2006 at 12:26 am

Hi Susan,
What a beautiful blog and website. Congratulations! I’ve been busy this summer. We moved north up the coast, then I launched a new personal website, fixed the business site, reviewed offers on my story collection – said yes. I went to Tahiti for a few weeks and came back, lauched a promotional blog and began promotions on my story collection, Flashes of Other World that’s available from Pulp Bits.

I have some book reviews lined up and other press. Pretty cool and lots of fun! I finished the draft on the novel in process, which means I’m back at the beginning again. It’s a hoot, very different than where it started.

Julie

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Susan Henderson September 2, 2006 at 2:21 am

Teresa – Great to see you here! I’ve got to use that dog with two tails saying. Are you sure you’re not really from Virginia? (Loved the photos on your site today.)

Jordan – Thank you! I love your new site. I clicked on every link.

Julie – Congratulations! You’ve been busy!

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Jim September 2, 2006 at 11:18 am

Lovely, Sue.

I’m Lincoln to you.

No, wait.

That’s not right.

I’m linking to you.

Yes.

Much better, that.

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Robin Slick September 2, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Oh good, I can comment today. For some reason, I got an “invalid” page yesterday. I must have tried while you were busy redecorating a little more. You already know how much I love your new site but in case I haven’t told you before, what I love most about you and your site is how you promote all artists in unique, fun ways and also let us have a sneak peek into your personal and writing life as well.

Best of luck with this new project and I agree, big kudos to Mr. Henderson and Terry Bain (by the way, Terry, if you are reading this, my daughter is madly in love with “You Are a Dog” and right now our dog is on ear drops. While I was administering the medication, she grabbed your book off the shelf and read the passage out loud which pertains to that and it made an otherwise tense/unpleasant moment lighthearted and funny.)

Err…I would promote and talk about what I did this summer but I decided not to take you literally until I have news as exciting as Ellen!

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Susan Henderson September 2, 2006 at 6:09 pm

Jim – Lovely Jim with the incredible new story collection. Thanks for subscribing!

Robin – That’s the sweetest thing you could say to me. Thank you. And I agree about Terry’s book. It’s great to read out loud.

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Dennis Mahagin September 2, 2006 at 8:05 pm

Hey Susan,

You’re getting pretty good at this

!!!

Litpark is an awesome name, and the new web design is extremely “easy on the eyes.”

Bring on the acorns!

;)DM

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Susan Henderson September 3, 2006 at 12:12 am

Dennis – It’s great to see you here!

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Nathalie March 13, 2007 at 8:53 am

Good morning Susan.
I wanted to thank you for your blog, which I find extremely interesting.
Not sure if I could contribute anything intelligent to your forums but I certainly read them all.

I shall admit to being a complusive scribbler.
But the truth is that I write essentially for myself, for the sheer pleasure of rubbing two words together to see if it sparks a little something.
Mostly I am a reader, a lover of words, paper and ink.
A dreamer.
I think I never recovered from that first childish pleasure of discovering that words were magic…

Nathalie

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jcorn October 28, 2007 at 1:07 am

I hope anyone interested in Live Book Chats will stop by here on MOnday or drop by and ask a question of the author, hosting my first live chat and I’d love to have people ask about writing the book (not mine, I’m just hosting for the author) as well as find another site for promoting yourself, free:
http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977158804
Love this site!

If the link doesn’t show up, you can get to it from my book blog.

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Meg Pokrass November 9, 2008 at 7:37 pm

What a gem! Love the interviews — can’t wait to dive in deeper!

Best Wishes,

Meg Pokrass

Reply

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