October 20, 2010
I’m just coming off of a whopping 5 and a half weeks in a row at home – this hasn’t happened for a LONG time, and it’s been great. Getting to know my family better, catching up on that long to-do list (but not entirely), writing a book. A BOOK?!?! Well, sort of. It’s for kids. (I love Steve Martin’s comment upon having finished his first kids’ book: “I never knew a book could be so short!”)
I sort of accidentally wrote a kids’ song a while ago. Now, I don’t do kids’ shows or kids’ albums, so I was afraid it would die of loneliness. It dawned on me during this recent sabbatical that it could be made into a children’s book/CD combo. Since I have NO skill whatsoever as an illustrator, I thought I’d just put a verse on each page and leave some blank space for the kid to do their own pictures. My thought is to do a small run of home-made copies and give them to any of the K-4 set that we know, see how it goes over. If it’s well received we might “roll it out,” as they say, and do a proper press run. Or not. Still, it’s my first book. I’m an AUTHOR!
A starting revelation was recently served up to me by one Barry Nester. We’d had a short email exchange about Sim Webb, Casey Jones’ fireman who survived the train crash that made the engineer famous in song. Then Barry sent me a link to an article showing that Casey was, in fact, not driving his own train, the Cannonball Express, when he died. He’d brought the Cannonball into Memphis from Canton, and then agreed to take another engineer’s train, Train #1, back south since that guy had called in sick (or whatever they did before telephones). Here’s the sentence that blew my mind: “Train No.1 was known as ‘The Chicago & New Orleans Limited,’ later to become the famous “Panama Limited”.” CASEY JONES WAS DRIVING THE PANAMA LIMITED WHEN HE DIED!
There may be those among you who can receive this information with a degree of calm, but for me this unexpected confluence of my two favorite train songs is earthshaking. Thank you Barry!
I’m heading out this weekend to see if I still remember how to sing and play and all that other stuff. Friday’s Jim Thorpe, PA, which is in the throes of the annual Foliage Festival – I expect scenic grandeur and lots of it. Saturday is the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh, with the show being organized by the Calliope Folk Music Society. Great hall, great folks! Then off to Toronto for Sunday and Monday at Hugh’s Room, a very cool club where I get to catch up with my Canadian buddies.
Come on by or send a friend! And get that cordwood in.
All the best,
Link of the Month: Here’s the Casey Jones link. Note that at the top of the piece they say he was driving the Cannonball Express in the crash, but go down to the section headed, ominously, DEATH to get the real skinny: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Jones
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