today the girlchild is eighteen

It has been a tough year for the Girlchild, but she faced the challenges and overcame them. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

1989telling a story at seven weeks
1992full of beans
1993with her best friend Emma
2002in England
Wyoming 2003llama hiking in Wyoming, with the Mathematician
2004as Cher, for a class project
Coney IslandManhattan summer
mountain girlat Second Nature
May 2007 *Please watch for signs of depression in your teenagers:
Poor performance in school
Sadness and hopelessness
Withdrawal from friends
Loss of interest in favorite activities and subjects
Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
Anger and rage
Overreaction to criticism
Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
Poor self-esteem
Extreme guilt
Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
Restlessness and agitation
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Substance abuse
Problems with authority
Suicidal thoughts or actions

Don’t wait for a teen to come to you. Deep depression is disabling. If you see these symptoms, act. Consult a professional, talk to the teen. Do not wait for a teen to come to you.


Jill (my agent) has just finished up the deal with Books on Tape for the unabridged edition of Fire Along the Sky, hopefully with the same reader (Kate Reading).

A well read audiobook is a thing of great beauty. Some sentences I have heard on audiotape were so perfect in tone and cadence that they have stayed with me for years. I especially like to have a really good audiobook waiting for a long drive. Some of the best I’ve listened to, books that lend themselves to this format and had excellent readers: Ordinary People (Guest), Possession (Byatt), Niccolo Rising (Dunnett), Wyoming Stories (Proulx), and in a collection of short stories by Stephen King, “Dolan’s Cadillac” read by Rob Lowe.

The wrong reader can turn a good book into a disaster. I tried to listen to one of Dennis Lehane’s mysteries on tape and found that the reader had no grasp of Angie’s personality at all; he read her like a simpering adolescent. I gave up after about fifteen minutes. There are other books I would like to listen to on tape, but they have never been recorded (Magician’s Assistant is one such example) or are impossible to find (Hearts and Bones, by Lawrence).

Right now I’m looking for the right audiobooks for two trips: when I go to teach at a conference in Gig Harbor at the end of this month, and then at the end of May, I’ll be driving down to the Bay area for a workshop. That’s a two day trip, and I can get through a big book.