I had such a fun day yesterday. Before seeing Matt's debut with Bucksworth--he was awesome! I danced like a maniac--I went out to Indio to visit the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center, where I had done a lot of research for The Book of Dead Birds. They were having a volunteer lunch (complete with an old time jazz/Dixieland band) and invited me to attend. I donated several copies of the novel to the Center so they could use it as a fundraiser; they sold most of the copies on the spot. It was wonderful to see Linda York again; she was so helpful to me as I was researching pelican rehabilitation. No pelicans are at the center right now--botulism season hasn't started yet--but I saw tons of owls (many of which hissed at me. That was unlike anything I had experienced--even the babies sounded like huge pneumatic machines!), hawks, falcons, etc., etc. I saw baby mocking birds being fed liquified bird seed, and baby starlings being force fed pellets (actually, they weren't begin force fed--they like the food to be pushed down their throats.) A road runner even propositioned me! He came up to the edge of his enclosure with a fat mealworm in his mouth, wagging his long tail back and forth. Deborah Eby, Linda's daughter, said he was asking me to be his mate. I had to tell him I was already married; he handled it pretty well. It was wonderful to see the good work that is being done at the Center; all the volunteers are so dedicated--one woman takes baby hummingbirds home and feeds them every fifteen minutes!
I also stopped by the Palm Springs Book Festival. I was originally scheduled to be on a panel there, but the other authors were unable to attend, so the panel was cancelled. I got there in time to see the What a Poet Should Know panel, where Richard Beban, Eloise Klein Healy, Michael Datcher, and Brendan Constantine all shared their "top ten" lists for poets. So much wonderful advice--read a lot, revise a lot, have a lot of different dictonaries and reference books at your disposal, play drums to learn rhythm, be precise, have friends, give back to the community (all of these things were told much more eloquently than I am writing them here. I wish I had taken notes!) It was a very inspiring panel. And I found a great 80s station on the drive home; a great day all around.