"Loyalty to oneself and ethical ideals are at the heart of this brilliant and surprising novel. Environment, red tape, crime, capitalism, and survival are topics ably fielded alongside of faithful stewardship, friendship, and what makes a family. If you're looking for a thoughtful, fast-paced, mad-cap, entertaining novel which will delight you, pick this up. You will not be disappointed, and you'll come away thinking—which is never a bad thing. Res upp! Life is GOOD!" —Tanita Davis, Finding Wonderland



Please do not email me for real estate on this website: ad space, reviews, or giveaways. I don't do that, and never will, so don't ask. To the wholly unconnected marketing machine: consider this the snarling dogs on my front porch. To everyone else: a smile.

« Give me the power of man's red flower | Main | layer »

spring forward

He is something about showing up. Earnest and humble, but with an alter ego who knows exactly what he's got. The point is to look how he cares: he cares, deeply, about being delighted and delightful, about being his very best. He goes forward.

I bet he wears red socks.

They find their way to me from Sydney when I seem to need them most. Stoic, vast, seeming empty but not empty at all, dashing. He is mine alongside The Captain and Old Oceans.

I'm all set, he says. There's a bit of fog but it belongs.


Evan said What's that? and I said That's my notebook.

I want to see, he said. I want to know what happened today

He tossed Flat Stanley and climbed up on the big bed. Tell me. Ben climbed up too, less invested but it's the big bed. One boy here and one boy there and me in the middle, and one small lamp.

Well, sweetness, there was a man from Tibet, and he had to run away through the mountains, and he had a son, and his son has interesting things to say, and he was wearing bright orange and bright yellow and everybody got very quiet and bowed. And he sat up high and he talked and he talked and I was so tired by then, because I'd been sitting there like one sardine, just sitting for two and a half days, and I could hardly listen but I heard, I think.

He thought about that. Why?

Well let's see. 

I speak to him as I'd speak to anyone. It's important. I tell him all of it, what the man in orange and yellow said, in the same words, letting it be big unless he needed otherwise.

2500 years ago, they discovered The Most Boring Thing Ever. They meditated to contextualize their existence. And it was boring. And they said 'Hey. This is great.' I told him how everybody laughed and the room got warm.

You cannot nullify fear.

Soft elements are essential.

Put human nature in a state of photosynthesis and goodness will arise.

Sit with small confidences. To sit is to be regal.

He looked over my shoulder, scanning the pages. The Mind Is A Horse, he read. And he thought for a bit. And he asked me what it meant and I put the same question to him. He thought a bit more. Like, maybe... he turned the notebook over a few times in his hands, running his hand over brittle bits. A horse is really strong but it needs somebody to make sure it doesn't knock everything over.

After, in the dark: Mommy. I mumbled yes. That would be good for my temper. 


Straightening up after two years of darkness and aftershocks and eggbeaten brain. There's a gigantic manuscript—the biggest—and not one but two release dates. One year from now, Flight of the Griffons, the sequel—twice as long as The Dread Crew and officially classified as a YA book—will be wet ink on fresh paper. In the coming months, Penelope and I have to deal with each chapter, paragraph, sentence, word; my dad insists on proofing the highway continuity of eco-terrorist pirate conspirators; I need a native chief, a helicopter pirate, and an activist to vet things; Sydney has to draw his heart out. Then to the printers, to warehouses, to you, maybe? After so long, such a slog. I can hardly believe it. Secret prairie camps and high altitudes and low crashes and Missy, glorious Missy, wandering far: Spring 2014.

And one year and a few months from now, the second release date. A book of monster poetry for 4-8 year olds. I can't say much else except that Sydney is going to first draw his heart out and then his brains. Goblin guts, a giant smashing her foot through a mall. Muddy fairies up to mischief with the crows. A bare-butted ghost and a sea siren. It's a bit gross, fantastic-gross, already test-read at Evan and Ben's school. I make myself hoarse, reading that book. Growling and snarling and RRAAAAGGGH. They giggle. For a few days after, at drop-off, kids look at me kinda sidelong with a smirk. Grade two hallway cred. If I Were A Zombie: Fall 2014.

A two-book year after two-year eggbeater brain. And now, with such an irregular daily practice—creative, literary, meditative, and otherwise—what next?

Adult fiction? Eeek. More pirates, a book three? More poetry? Must get to it keep going more more. That plus editing, photographing weddings and portraits, teaching. The year is stacking up and I feel oddly still, suddenly. Somebody burst in and threw all the windows open and it was fresh and bracing and I think, maybe, it was all of them doing it all at once. Evan, a storyteller, more devoted than I am. He is my new teacher. Ben, all kisses and smooches and giggles. Missy, who has been waiting such a long time. A witch, a ninja, a robot. A man in regal yellow. Friends. Red socks. They all said It's time. Slick your ears back.


What's good for your temper? Is your air stale or fresh? Have you ever sat like a sardine? What makes you regal? What makes you brittle? How are you doing?

Reader Comments (19)

What next indeed! Congratulations, Kate!! I'm elated for you!!
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ.
in two weeks or so i will have a daughter. temper tamer perhaps? ive only ever had a son for the last 13 years so i am a little scared. excited to have a new poetry book to read to my children next year.
blessings on your work.
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjen
You are AWESOME! How I love your writing! I am doing fine, better every day. What makes me regal? I would say, "looking a clouds"! I love the sky. Everything is better when I look up.
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNot on Fire
Wow!! I'm so excited for you. I'm just thrilled to see your words here.
About me? The air isn't stale exactly, just repetitive. Maybe it is stale. I'm bored. (But don't confuse my bordom with having nothing to do.)
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMisty
Congratulations! Poetry for children.
Emerging from years of lurkdom.
Love your words and your photography.
Thank you.

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Sullivan
I'm waiting, patiently, for your next beautiful book. I'm regal, too, too regal, actually, and far softer than a sardine. What's good for my temper is a quiet house with only light slanting in.
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Aquino
Congratulations. That's amazing. And hard-earned, I'm sure.
February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke
I continue to bask in your light, your influence, your third.
Quilts came home, space was realized, there is light and bits of colour punctuating our space and it feels good.
Now, about that temper...
February 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Arkison
February 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSummer
Congrats, Kate, this is wonderful news! Especially love the poetry book! Sometimes when you're stuck it's absolutely impossible to see a way out, but once the momentum gets going you start rolling along and it builds and builds and it's one of the best dang feelings in the world. Hope you can keep riding it into whatever project you tackle next.
February 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternicole
"What's good for your temper? Is your air stale or fresh? Have you ever sat like a sardine? What makes you regal? What makes you brittle? How are you doing?"

Nothing seems to be good for my temper. I bounds openly and endlessly and then it lies spent on the bed breathing raggedly and soaking into the pillow like so many tears. My air is stale but someone threw open the door this past week so I'm seeing some fresh air at last. I've sat like a sardine, only I was still wrapped in the can, unopened, dark, brooding in the stench of my own cacophony. My regal is my laugh. I have to let it pound it's way out of my chest until I cough up the dregs of what used to be and what was weighing me down to begin with. Brittle. Everything lately but mostly just the sound. I am craving the quiet lately. I think that means that I need to escape for a bit and let the darkness empty my soul like a breeze in the night. I'm not doing so well. It's time for a reset. I need to feel something besides misery for a while. I'm going searching for my bliss again. *skips off with camera in hand while looking to the skies*
February 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterForgotten
Brooding in cacophony stench, Forgotten—I know all about that, too. And all about skipping off with a camera regardless. It's so much like taking a dog for a walk. It's a small, healthy thing. I hope you keep doing that, and thanks for reminding me to do the same.
February 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkate inglis
I'm glad I could remind you to escape a little as well. Sometimes we just have to get out of our own heads for a while, you know? :)

I'm glad that things are rolling right along with your writing. I am a huge fan and my kids have taken quite a liking to your book. *sending love from Virginia*
February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterForgotten
So excited for your upcoming books-now with publication dates!! Congratulations!! And glad to see you writing here more frequently again. Love your words. :)
February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
I'm ready. Ready to slick my ears back and with a pocket-full of posies for the next sweet little thing that happens to catch my fancy. So ready.

My heart leaps to see/hear/read you like this. I'm so happy that the windows have been thrown open. You did it - did you not realize? xo
February 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily in Amman
I am sitting still, like a sardine, waiting. I'm waiting for health scan results with hope that the cancer (recently diagnosed) will not return. I am 30.

My temper flares easily these days. Just yesterday, out of nowhere, it came wildly. It is clearly in charge, my sharp tongue. And afterward I feel deflated and guilty and must force compassion on myself theseareharddaysitsokayjustbreathe. I meditate every day, do yoga, drink herbal tea, stretch, do art projects, take long walks, and generally try all kind of self-care in an attempt to be still and quiet. And calm.
February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Looking forward to the next one. About to embark on the Dread Crew with J. She's only recently grasped the idea of longer stories, 'chapter books.' I'm thrilled to read it, I've been waiting for her to be ready. As I've said, I wouldn't feel right to start it without her.

But perhaps she will prefer the poetry. I will wait and see. Lucky me and lucky J!

Thank you Kate. I'm slicking my ears back.

Andrea - I don't know if you will come back to see this. Maybe not. For what it is worth, I'm hoping that it doesn't come back. Hard days indeed.
February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine W
Andrea, Catherine said what I've been meaning to come back and say to you: I hope so too. What a toll on the body and mind and heart, good lord. Too much. Take care of yourself just as you are, beautifully. xo
February 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkate inglis
Spring I want it to be summer already.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.