March madness has begun in earnest in the high stakes world of picture books.
March is busy for me.
School across the nation celebrate Read Across America by bringing authors to their schools and feeding them Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots.*
* If I come to your school; don't even think about it. Save them for the next author, please.
This March involves a lot more traveling than I usually do. Traveling, as you are no doubt aware, is one of the greatest ways to leave home and sleep in strange beds surrounded by unusual sounds, unfamiliar sights, and occasional unpleasant odors.
As I write this, I am in a hotel room in New Jersey pondering deeply why the non-smoking room I got should contain an upside down ashtray with a "No Smoking" sticker stuck to the bottom of it. It sort of tells you "No Smoking (but if you do, here's a convenient ash tray)".
When I asked the helpful fellow at the front desk about this odd choice of furnishings, he shrugged his shoulders and grunted a slightly feral "unh-nuh". I got the same response when I asked about the distance to the next town over.
It seemed wisest to cut my losses, and besides, not knowing about the ashtray will give me something to think about while I am staring at the ceiling tonight listening to the roar of traffic howling past the hotel.
My real, actual home is on a very quiet, some might say bucolic, back road in the outskirts of New Hampshire. Two cars passing our house in 10 minutes is a major traffic event. So I find myself unable to properly adjust to situations like my dinner tonight. I am planning on going out to a fabulous, nationally known establishment that serves the latest in cutting edge pizza cuisine.
In fact, I can see the restaurant from my hotel room. If it weren't for all the exhaust fumes, I could probably smell the pizza. The problem is, I don't know how I'm going to get there.
There is certainly no safe way to cross the six lanes of furious traffic that is whizzing by. And even if I managed such a daring feat, I'd most certainly spill my drink on the way back to the hotel.
So I have to drive there.
500 yards away.
To make my dinner plans more interesting, there are no turns allowed from the roaring highway of doom I am on, so I may well have to drive for several miles to simply get my pizza.
I need to be safe about this, because I am scheduled to visit a school tomorrow morning and I'd hate to get lost on my way across the street and spend the next several days wandering aimlessly up and down the highways of New Jersey, looking for my pizza.
If you do see a hungry looking guy with out of state plates, toss a piece of pizza my way, okay?