Knock, Knock, I’m here…

IMG_3798 (1).JPGThanksgiving. I pack light. One carry-on and a small bag with my Kindle. Off to Nashville for the holiday. This time, I leave my cowboy boots at home. I’m here to visit with my daughter. And also, to present my newly published YA novel, Ecowarriors. My destination, Parnassus, is a small independent bookstore and a bit of a legend. Unique, of quality, delightfully cozy; a store the likes of which you don’t see much anymore. I’ve heard it has real atmosphere and book-loving dogs roaming about.

I head toward the busy intersection. Press the button by the traffic light with determination. Wait to cross. Protect that book. The heels of my cool black boots click as I make it across in the twenty seconds allotted by the digital traffic-God. I’m pleased with my choice of tight black jeans and leather jacket. My curly hair blows in the light wind. I’m wearing just the right shade of lipstick, too–what actors call, “leading lady.” I’m ready for my book audition.

I strut onto the sidewalk that leads past a few uninteresting stores. Then, on my left, I see my target. Parnassus is partly owned by one of my favorite authors: Ann Patchett. I loved Bel Canto. Read it twice. My stomach tightens when I see all the new books lovingly arranged in the window. Every book in the storefront looks important, perfectly placed.

I feel vulnerable, yet protective. It’s hitting me. Writing a book is very personal. This is my precious “baby” I’m carrying in my indestructible, dark-blue satchel.  I’m not selling vacuum cleaners or magazine subscriptions. I want these literary people to get excited about my eco-fantasy. After all, aside from a perilous adventure involving superpowers, the novel deals with the controversial topic of fracking. Equally wild and timely, the book will sell.

I’m struck–not by a Stephen King hardcover that’s fallen from the top shelf, but with anxiety. So, I quickly duck into an adjacent shop instead. It’a a maternity shop that’s going out of business. I quickly about-face. No place to hide here.  As I walk back to the storefront of Parnassus, my head fills with lyrics from a musical. This is a norm for me. This time, Chorus Line is going strong: “Give me a chance to look forward to sayin’–hey listen they’re playin’ my song!” I imagine my book filling the Young Adult shelves;  a large Sandra Dreis display in the window.

Once again, I manage to postpone the inevitable–and head for the nearby Chipotle. Food for thought is exactly what I need. Never pitch a book on an empty stomach. My Jewish mother told me that. Lunch will give me strength! So, I line up and order a burrito that slowly expands as I nod my head “yes” to everything remotely vegetarian. Suddenly, a monster burrito is sitting on my tray. I choose a drink, a Nantucket nectar, (noticing after paying) that it had over 60 grams of sugar.

Like a CIA operative, I sit at the narrow counter on a stool facing the Parnassus. I study it while I slowly eat every bite and hear my straw make that empty-bottle sound. Fortified, I pick a jalapeno from my front tooth. Courage and determination are now mine. I’m set. Confidence rises in me like a souffle. The moment of truth had come. Time to go forth and present Ecowarriors to the manager of Parnassus. I reapply lipstick and wash guacamole from my hands. I hold my satchel under my arm like a football. This play can’t be more than twenty yards.

Here, in front of me, the bookstore of my dreams. I enter. Floor to ceiling bookshelves, comfortable chairs, and yes, dogs. In fact, I almost step on a homely dog lying in the center aisle. Immediately, the people-friendly canine rolls onto its back inviting me to rub its belly. A good sign. Next, a smiling employee walks toward me with a dachshund slung over her hip in a carrier. I now understand why I was beckoned to Parnassus. This place feels right.

My eyes scour the shelves. A section in front of me is filled with books signed by local authors. Further back, I spot the mile-high Young Adult shelves. I pluck a few books, sit down and browse. Then, I remember why I’ve come. I stand and approach a pleasant young woman who is busy re-shelving. She tells me Parnassus is way too busy to deal with any new books until after Christmas. With a nod at my sell sheet, she takes my book and heads to the back of the store. Returning, she assures me my book is safely on the manager’s desk.

No drama. That’s it, I guess. At first, I’m not sure what to do. Then, I figure I might as well stay and enjoy the ambiance. I relax back into a soft rounded chair with half a dozen books. Not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. Hmm. What’s that they say? Good things come to those who wait…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Viewing the world in 3-D

I saw the musical “Hair” on Broadway eons ago, when some people reading this weren’t remotely BORN. Other readers of this eco-blog may have been in the row behind me in the theatre, wearing fringes and headbands. Nevertheless, some of the lyrics ring true to this day; maybe even more so than they did when I sang them in the shower back in the 70’s.

“Welcome, sulfur dioxide, hello carbon monoxide–the air, the air is everywhere!” (I suppose we can say the same thing about WATER, right?)

It took me a month to read and digest Naomi Klein’s powerful, mind-blowing non-fiction book, “This Changes Everything.” I underlined and highlighted and took so many notes–that now I’ll have to get another clean copy for my library to put next to this one.

The Aperture cinema was shockingly (to me) only a quarter full when Klein’s documentary, “This Changes Everything” was shown for one night only on October 20th. Though it was a Tuesday night at 8, I bought my ticket in advance to be sure and get a seat–and since I’m of legal age–a beer. The one and a half hour film was an excellent, global overview of the enlightening 500 page  book. (But don’t let size frighten you.) The movie is a fine summary, though–trust me on this.

A+. Yes, the documentary gets my A+ rating. Though not actually in 3D, the film paints a detailed, defining, data-backed picture of the reality of climate change as we face 2016. Klein takes us around the globe, from Alaska to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada–to Africa and Beijing. What is uplifting, yes, about the very bad environmental report card? Take heart. There is hope for the planet if we open our multi-pierced ears and computer-induced dry eyes and join a grass roots environmental organization. Get informed first; then, let our well-informed voices be heard.

Naomi Klein is my new hero. She offers a worldview that is beautiful and balanced and humane…”a worldview based on renewal…rather than depletion.” Naturally, since my book, (published October 30th, 2015) the eco-fantasy, ECOWARRIORS: The Bluffs of Baraboo, deals with frac sand mining, I was particularly excited about her thoroughly researched take on the blindness and short-sightedness of FRACKING. Hooray!  There’s now a moratorium on fracking in Stokes County!!

Air is key; water is key. Klein details the evidence that fracking puts our drinking water at great risk; that there are links between fracking and small earthquakes; that this kind of gas extraction causes leakage of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is one of the worst greenhouse gases, heating the planet much more intensely than carbon dioxide. And…if we don’t keep the watch on those rising temperatures–including the ocean–well…

Okay. There’s another lyric from a song I remember. (Tom Paxton?)
“Whose garden was this? It must have been lovely. Did it have flowers? I’ve seen pictures of flowers…I’d loved to have smelled one…”

Hope I didn’t wreck your day or anything. If you can, though, buy Naomi Klein’s book even if you have to read one page a day for…say a year. It’ll be worth it.

Sandy Dreis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECOWARRIORS – on sale now! www.sandrabdreis.com

Today’s blog is about the excitement of knowing that those 300 copies will all be sold by the end of 2016! What is even better? Well, already I have some wonderful events lining up.

BOOK SIGNING DECEMBER 4TH  –  4 – 8 pm 

My daughter and website designer, Haley, is flying in from Nashville for the BOOKMARKS book signing: Of course you will find us at: “The Green Table” #3 – which is in the lovely Reynolds Place Room at the Milton Rhodes Center on Spruce Street. I’ll be there with my green pen. There will be brochures and information about local environmental groups and activities.

TEMPLE EMANUEL TU B’SHAVAT – JANUARY 29TH – Friday 7:30

Great fun, great learning! Join in for an inspiring evening of hands-on activities. Participate in the lovely Jewish holiday celebrating the beauty of nature. Vivian Smith and Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn have invited me to present my book, ECOWARRIORS. Drama is never far from my mind; so, volunteers from the B’nai B’rith Youth Group will be cast in the roles of the four main characters in my young adult eco-fantasy. (Age 15) Come hear them read and act out scenes I have scripted from my book. See Cynthia Silber for scripts in the office of Temple Emanuel, starting November 20th.

TEEM ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT – film, book presentation, discussion

TBA. Coming soon, Jim Tittle’s award-winning documentary, “The Price of Sand” will be shown at one of TEEM’s Thursday night events in 2016. The film deal with the epidemic of frac sand mining–the “sand rush” that is taking over huge areas of Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is a serious theme that underlies the daring adventures of my four teenage ecowarriors: Davie, Sharon, Carl and Melissa.

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION MIDWINTER CONFERENCE

Big news! My novel will be on display at this prestigious conference and exhibition taking place January/February 2016. THE ECOWARRIORS: Book One – The Bluffs of Baraboo will be featured by iUniverse/ Rising Star and Editor’s Choice endorsement in the Young Adult fiction category of action/adventure.

Stay tuned,

Sandra Dreis, Author (Sandy)

http://www.sandrabdreis.com

2badgeru.worldpress.com