My experience of South Dakota so far has been something like a forced march, but that's okay. I left Pierre on Thursday with another author, Ann Bausum, who was also sent to Pierre to visit schools in advance of the book festival. Our drive along the Missouri River was amazingly beautiful -- green bluffs climbing up from the river and rippling away into the distance. The topography was formed, if I remember this right, by the Sea of Agassiz during the Pleistocene Ice Age. The Wisconsin Ice Sheet stopped short of here to the east (my Ice Age notes are far away from me right now so I'm winging this) but the meltwater created a giant inland sea for many thousands of years, and when it drained catastrophically (when ice dams finally gave way) it carved the western plains like a rake in a Zen gravel garden.
Anyway, we got to Sioux Falls in a driving rain, registered for the book festival and I went to a cocktail party at the home of one of the festival's sponsors. There I met and had a long and interesting conversation with Los Angeles author Hillary Carlip, author of Queen of the Oddballs. Hillary is a friend of Francesca Lia Block, and they've worked together. If you know Block's work you can infer something about Hillary. Check out her website. Friday I had an elementary school to visit, a public event with lots of the authors at a Barnes & Noble, then another school to visit, then autographing, then a presentation to members of the Sioux Falls Reading Council... and then I collapsed.
Today I have a presentation at the public library, and another autographing session, and then my work is done.
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