I was nervous, of course. Ever since my fall and subsequent hospital visit I haven't really been able to drink alcohol the way that I used to. I don't know if I'm having some sort of allergic reaction or if it's entirely psychological, but I start feeling sick so easily. I don't want to stop going to Trader Vic's and other tiki bars just because drinking makes me nervous, but I also don't want to find myself face-planting on the tile floor again.
Especially not at a work event.
But it all went fine. I skipped a cocktail and had something fruity and non-alcoholic so I could focus on the purpose of the evening's dinner: meeting author Philip Stead and learning about his newest picture book, Music for Mister Moon . Legendary editor Neal Porter also spoke for a few minutes about the book, but he kept the focus on the Steads as much as possible.
Music for Mister Moon, which publishes in March, goes something like this: A little girl is practicing her cello when a noisy owl upsets her. She throws her teacup out the window and knocks the moon out of the sky. She and the moon become friends, and he confides that he'd really like to go on a boat ride on a lake he's seen from the sky. She's happy to help him fulfill his dream, but his other request, to hear her perform her music, makes her far more nervous. It's a quiet, gentle picture book, the sort of thing one reads at bedtime to calm children down into sleepiness.
Philip wrote the book with his wife, Erin. Well, he wrote and she illustrated, but they're such a partnership that I tend to imagine it's all collaborative. She is a talented illustrator, and for this book she had nearly finished the art when she decided to scrap the whole thing and start over with a new printmaking technique. It sounds like madness, but when you see the images they're so lovely and perfect for the story that you can instantly see why she'd feel so strongly.
Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, the event was more of a cocktail reception, so there was plenty of time to chat and socialize with other booksellers. Honestly, this is my favorite part of these author dinners. Don't get me wrong – I love meeting creators and hearing about new books! But there's something about being around other people in my field and remembering what an interesting and vibrant community we are that's simply wonderful.
Each bookseller was given a print from Mister Moon to take home, signed by the Steads. I was able to bring an extra print home for V; she LOVES the Steads and wasn't able to make it to the dinner. She'll be so excited.
My photo doesn't do the print justice.