Ads for this year's "Furry Fall Festival" at the Young-Williams animal shelter in Knoxville reminded me of last year's adventure. I had agreed to read "Jack the Healing Cat" at the Halloween benefit given by the shelter. I was seduced by the alliteration.
Volunteers parade the adoptable dogs around on leashes; alumni dogs that have been adopted come back with their families to say thanks. There are booths and balloons, popcorn and dog biscuits are served.
I was offered a cozy indoor room to read to the children. Several of my friends from UT showed up, including some great poets. In the picture you'll see Jessie Janeshek, Casie Fedukovich's husband with Bootsy on his lap, me and Jesse Graves with his daughter Cloe. All went well, though most children were more eager to pet the animals than to hear a story. Who can blame them.
After I left, however, someone brought a pug dressed as Wonder Woman into the room. Bootsy the cat was not used to being around dogs, and certainly not used to being around a pug dressed as Wonder Woman. Blood was shed. Bootsy was unscathed, the pug fared less well. Unfortunately, the pug's owner also owns a local newspaper--not so good for publicity.
For those of us who write children's books, some of the reading venues can be a special challenge. I've got one coming up on Thursday at the UT Gardens where I'll share the stage with a dog, Patch. A very nice, well-trained shepherd. Still.
Synchronicity: Just turned on the radio for "Writers' Almanac." Garrison Keillor's poem for today is called "Purring," by Coleman Barks. Best lines: "Say poetry is a human purr,/ vessel mooring in the chest,/ a closed-mouthed refuge, the feel/ of a glide through dying." Apparently cats purr not only when they're content, but when they're wounded; the purring is a healing act. Like poetry--
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.