Friday, December 18, 2015

Album Notes

Morgan Powell's On and Off the Score is now for sale on CD Baby. It's worth looking at that site because it gives a lot of space for new information. There's a new bio, and there's also an excellent essay by the artist, who is well aware of the challenges his music poses for many listeners. I've copied his essay here, since it's an eloquent discussion of why it's worth it to find the patience for new experiences in art.
Powell on Powell

CDs are classified by musical genre to simplify shopping. My work has never fit into a genre, though, because I’ve never composed with attention to traditional formula or system. This is handmade music, written out of my head with pencil, paper, and occasional recourse to a piano.
I have never used preexisting structures; I don’t use computers; I’m not affiliated with any school of composition. I borrow no licks or lines. If you sample each of the works on “On and Off the Score,” the diversity of work will be clear, for no piece sounds like any other. You won’t find a “style.”
The roster of musicians on this CD in itself hints at the indefinable quality of my music. These are all world-class performers, yet they are at the top of disparate genres: avant-garde, jazz, experimental and improvisational music; orchestral, chamber, and solo performance.
I composed the works on this CD for these, my wide-ranging world of friends, collaborators, and colleagues. They came from all over the literal map to record this music: Jim Staley, New York City; John Fonville, San Diego; Ray Sasaki, Austin; Steve Butters and Tomeka Reid, Chicago; Eric Mandat and Ron Coulter, Carbondale, Illinois; Edwin London and Howie Smith, Cleveland; Ariane Alexander, Philadelphia. Several of us are rooted in Champaign/Urbana, with ties to the University of Illinois: Dorothy Martirano, Michael Cameron, Armand Beaudoin and I. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has its home city; the Tone Road Ramblers do just that. In all, over fifty musicians participated in recording the music on this CD. 
The oldest recording, “Zelanski Medley,” for the ineluctable Modality and Contemporary Chamber Players was in 1972 and the most recent, “Miscreant Angels” for Ariane Alexander, in 2015. 
I am grateful to all of these performers and to Ann Starr, the publisher of Upper Hand Press, who had the faith and courage to publish this CD of what many will consider unorthodox, strange, and difficult music.  
And all of those adjectives can be legitimately applied—if you forget that we are deeply programmed to hear only consonant music. The question is: whether it is worth it to you to experience dissonance and new sound; to discover the satisfactions that lie beyond your expectations? That depends on where you want to go with your sensibility.
This is not music you will relax to on the first or second hearing. Rather, it is music to listen to one piece at a time. With repeated listening, your mind adjusts to its sound and workings, and it discovers a new world on the other side of your patience. Science has established that Western minds are programmed to hear consonant music; but, with exposure, the mind will not only adjust to dissonance but will come to like it and be excited by where it takes you.
Again, is the experience worth it? I decided a long time ago that it is.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Business, art, and opportunity for a small press

You would think that a publisher's first goal has to be selling enough to cover costs and remain in business. And in truth, as the owner of a fledgling press, my fingernails don't grow as fast as I can bite them down when I let a sensible anxiety over finances seize me.

But the fact is that I founded my press to celebrate and to promote artists I admire and believe in because they are excellent practitioners of their crafts and because they are substantial thinkers with rich ideas and experience to offer. Their work and thought enhance our own lives.

Composer Morgan Powell is a brilliant, genuinely unprecedented artist who has quietly created a tremendous body of scored and improvised compositions(the latter as a member of the Tone Road Ramblers sextet). Powell has never sought reputation, his musical process being so much a part of thoughtful living that to step away into promotion is to depart into an alien world inimical to the twin improvisatory processes of life and music.

In a world awash with recorded music, composers we haven't heard of tend to merge into a pounding headache of background noise. We feel annoyed and imposed upon even by free handouts of new CDs by unfamiliar artists, and especially when we’re asked to buy something cold. Why should we?

Music composition is a profession; for many, it’s a competition. For composer and improviser Powell, it’s art, launched by observation toward the end of new understanding—and new beginnings. There’s no looking back: Life is improvised from minute to minute moving forward, and this is how Powell composes. His third eye music creates sounds and form not from rules or traditions of music, but from the freedom of art.

So if listening to Powell's extraordinary, unfamiliar music sounds like a recommendation to eat your vegetables—it's good for you!—freedom has to have the same lack of appeal. Who knows what will happen when there are no rules that both bind but protect you? When there is nothing to tap your foot to, telling you that you are hearing "correctly?" What if the music is written so that you can listen with your own ears and mind open, taking what comes and interpreting it as you will, without needing an expert to tell you what you hear? With Powell's music, every listener is an expert because for every listener it is unprecedented—completely new. Sit back and let it float or drown you; lean in and delight in the brilliance and sweetness of the sound world Powell composes, offers to you, or ambushes you with.
Powell’s music is powerful, beautiful, efficient, and unprecedented in the challenges for the many virtuosos who commission it and play it. In Morgan Powell you will discover a composer you wish you’d discovered years ago because his music reminds you why humans make art in the first place.

Learn more about Powell; purchase the new CD, Morgan Powell On and Off the Score, and the monograph "Sounding Our Depths: The Music of Morgan Powell" at Upper Hand Press

This music is thought and image at least as much as sound—and such sounds you'll hear in your dreams, where you can't analyze them. It's art, here to make us explore and to go deeper.

It is a great privilege for Upper Hand Press to be the corner of the world where people can come to find or to discover this extraordinary artist. In deciding to support the work of a great composer who is off the charts, we are doing important work that would be neglected to the real detriment of our musical and intellectual culture. 

Is this the way for a small press to do business? And how! If we aren't for the rarities, who will be? What an opportunity for my press to promote Morgan Powell——and that is the bottom line.

Ann Starr, Publisher
November 9, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rejection Letters and Submission Fees: Doing Our Job

Few people in the position to select manuscripts for publication expect to earn the goodwill of the many more whose writings they decline. Rejection may become routine for writers, but it never feels routine. It never should. If it always stings, though, shouldn't there be some balm that's equally common? Apparently there is not.

What is a writer to do with a rejection letter? This problem is embedded in the standard process of submission. If one still submits on paper, s/he can always recycle returned pages in a fresh envelope, affix new stamps in the correct amount and send it off anew. If it's on an electronic submissions site, upload and get out the debit card.

If the writer wants to improve her chances at publication, it's hard to know what to do. Who knows why the manuscript was declined? Writers are rarely told a thing. Like a child whose parents are free to tell them only that, "No means No!" the author is infantilized by the publisher whose authority is equally absolute and baffling. Shall s/he revise? Is the work deficient? Or did an intern nix it before an editor laid eyes on it? 

Few writers learn much as the result of rejection. "Good luck with your career." "We receive more submissions than we can possibly publish." Did they read it, one aches to know.

For writers to be denied useful or revealing comment on their submissions speaks to irresponsible practices of publishers, whether we are asking for fees or not. Upper Hand Press asks for a $10 reading fee, and there are people who complain that this is not nice. Poets & Writers takes a position against this, but they do not have a position that suggests that publishers owe writers anything for the chance to read their work. 

Surely one reason editors can't comment to writers is the common practice of allowing multiple submissions: They are swamped. Writers too often submit indiscriminately despite publishers' requests that they do their homework before launching a barrage of manuscripts. 

Upper Hand requires exclusive submissions, and this undoubtedly limits our numbers for the good. From time to time we receive submissions that are very evidently shotgun efforts. I return these. If I am mistaken, the writer can always correct me, but so far no one has.  

It was with the deepest gratitude, then, and a sense that we are doing our job well that we received an email from a poet this week, directing us to a new, two-part post on her blog. In Gifted, Sheryl tells about meeting with me for drinks and discussion after Upper Hand Press had rejected her manuscript. 

While Sheryl writes about the things she learned through her contact with me, she can't write about the great value our meeting had for me. How often do publishers get to speak with the writers who approach them, to sound out their motives, why they wrote as they did, to discover the nature of their minds, where they see themselves coming from and going as artists, how writing fits into their lives as whole people. Such a discussion gives me more knowledge, more experience, and more empathy. It makes me a better, more sensitive editor and publisher. And it gives me a friend and writer to follow.

Sheryl's two posts, Gifted and Gifted (Continued) are gifts to me and to Upper Hand Press: We're doing what we set out to do. Thank you Sheryl!

Ann Starr

Saturday, September 5, 2015

From the Publisher

It sometimes takes others to point out obvious things about oneself. So it was this week, when a friend wondered why I keep three enterprises discrete. "The same mind is behind them all." He urged me not to compartmentalize so absolutely.

I have to thank Rick for bringing this to my attention. He's right. I have assumed that my careers as a visual artist, as a lecturer and teacher in medical humanities (Ann Starr), as an arts writer (Starr Review), and as the owner and senior editor of Upper Hand Press might signal fecklessness rather than fecundity!

Art-maker; art-thinker; authority-questioner; writer. To anyone wondering where Upper Hand Press came from; to the author wondering if this is a likely company to submit to, of course this is all relevant information.

Upper Hand Press will not publish books (or music) unless I personally love it. I publish books that excite me and music that stops my heart. I publish individuals who are deep and whole-hearted about their work, eager to collaborate in establishing their audiences and promoting their works. It is my happiness to midwife for exceptional artists and their creations. 

Publishing has the reputation for being a cruel industry, but I don't want to be that. I come to this as an artist who is learning to run a business. I hope that this makes me searching and respectful. 

The Press editorial board is composed of seasoned writers and teachers who take their time with the manuscripts I send them, always returning extensive and thoughtful comments. Few writers turned down by Upper Hand Press go away without feedback delivered in a personal letter from the publisher. 

How can any of us grow without thoughtful criticism from the people we ask to consider our work? How can publishers feel they are behaving responsibly without doing this? I believe deeply in the importance of art criticism in its most generous construction: Thus, the "rejection letter" must provide content that, at the very least, assures the author that the publisher is paying the attention s/he deserves.

So, in case there could be any mistake, Upper Hand Press has a mission, is a labor of love, and feels to me personally like the project that brings together my hopes to realize some good for the world of art and artists. It is a grand, creative enterprise. It is a work of art, always in process.

It's an expensive one. I have had many blessings of people to help me along the way, but the core investment is mine. In my mid-sixties I invested my IRA and more in the company. I keep my fingers crossed, my drive and idea-generator in high gear. Upper Hand Press is a force for the good, feeding imagination in the world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the Road and In the Works, Summer 2015

August has seen me on the road in several guises of the publisher. The work is endlessly fascinating in its variety, that's for sure. 

Yesterday I was in Ashland, Ohio to visit our printer, Bookmasters, where I took a look at page proofs for the galleys of Zach Snyder's Clyde Doesn't Go Outside. The illustrations for Zach's forty-one page picture book are subtle and deeply layered, so the printing has to be perfect. Bookmasters is a company that can do it just right, but it takes my eyes or Zach's to tell them what "just right" is. Today I'll make the three-hour round trip again, to see the results of the adjustments I asked for yesterday.

This round of proofs is to get us one hundred beautifully printed galley proofs——paper covered sample books that I'll send to reviewers and potential buyers (independent bookstores)in advance of publication. During the months before formal release and sale of the hardback edition, we hope that the book will garner reviews and that bookstores will order it to have on the shelves when it comes out. Nudge your favorite bookstore now: They can go to to contact me and to read more about Clyde.
copyright 2015, Zach Snyder. Spread from Clyde Doesn't Go Outside

My Ashland jaunts come immediately on the heels of travel to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois for the launch of Morgan Powell's CD, Morgan Powell On and Off the Score. I was happy to be at his annual gig with the remarkable Jazz Sextet, a group of instrumentalists who are among the best players—and ears—in jazz. With the consummate fluency of musicians who have been together for over thirty years, Powell, Ray Sasaki, and Howie Smith were joined by phenoms Chip Stephens, Dan Anderson and drummer Steve Houghton, to improvise on jazz standards. 
Morgan Powell

Powell's CD features his commissions since 2000, each solo work a tour de force for the featured instrumentalist. Powell is a composer who stretches the limits of musicians, of music, of ideas and the heart. We are marketing it not only to individuals, but to college and public libraries: This music American cultural legacy.

Clyde Doesn't Go Outside will be published just at the New Year, but three other 2016 books are in the works as well. The cover for Rhonda G. Williams' The Naming of Girl will be revealed in the next couple of weeks. Though I haven't been to visit Rhonda in Arkansas yet, in early August I spent a long weekend in Washington D.C. with Upper Hand authors Louise Farmer Smith and Herta Feely. 

Both Smith and Feely have books coming out with Upper Hand in 2016. Smith, author of One Hundred Years of Marriage, will publish the short story collection, Cadillac, Oklahoma with us in April. Feely's novel, The Strange Shapes of Love, comes out in September. It was my privilege to work with these women while they are revising their manuscripts. 

It is bracing, humbling, and inspiring to be with writers at work. It's impossible to have enough respect for the sheer sweaty labor involved in the process of creativity directed through discipline. It clearly costs in terms of effort and ego both to receive direct suggestions about one's work. For me, it's a privilege to find that my reading and thinking sometimes help shape or improve a work; it's a privilege as well to be persuaded that I'm wrong when I am, and to experience the insight that no one but the writer herself can have.

Now, Ashland aside, I'm at the desk for a while. What is there to do? One of our editors, Jacki Bell, has come on board as an assistant too, and even so we could use more hands. We have publicity documents to mail and new ones to write. We have an OCR document to get in order for the ebook release of One Hundred Years of Marriage. The Naming of Girl will soon be ready to go to press for galleys. We will put out our first catalog this winter. It's time to choose book fairs, and to get our authors' books nominated for prizes. These are only some of the tasks that keep me busy.

Like us on your Facebook page. Tell your friends about our books. Submissions open again on October 1st. I'm rewriting the submissions page for clarity, so take a new look in a few weeks.

Ann Starr, Publisher

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Advice for Writers Trying to Get Published:" or, Who Wants to be an Artist?

by Ann Starr, Publisher

Upper Hand Press is now a year old. This month we will publish Morgan Powell's magnificent CD, Morgan Powell On and Off the Score. Every day I'm in contact with our three authors who are revising novels for publication in 2016, and on Monday I'll meet with Zach Snyder to see the finishing touches on what will be our first children's book, his Clyde is Not Allowed Outside. We are crackling with energy and hatching new books as fast as we can! I'm always reading new manuscripts and discussing them with our team of editors, not to mention attending to all the work that supports the writers—publicity, funding, distribution and more.

Running a small press is consuming and whole-hearted work, but the heart  is reading manuscripts, responding to writers, and choosing whose work we want to follow. My goals are to support and advance good writers and to delight the reading public. I want to make money as I do this. But I know that without cultivating excellent writing, I can forget the rest.

I am too often stopped cold when I'm reminded that my enthusiasm about authors, their writing, and the satisfaction I derive from publishing necessarily runs up against a world in which thousands of writers are stunned by anxiety about making it into print. Alas, this anxiety seems too often to shift psychic energies away from the activity of writing to a prospect (or experience) of rejection by publishers. There is no way for me to correct the injustices of a wretched world where talent is overlooked and makes cynics of the least willing. But each of us must do what we can to focus on our own plot in this environment.

Today I came across an article from Buzzfeed: "9 Pieces of Advice for Writers Trying to Get Published." Hey, I'm a publisher, so I took
Ann Starr represents Upper Hand Press at the
Buffalo Small Press Book Fair in April
a look. Shouldn't I know what it takes to get published? I can use all the help I can get! (The URL is

The tips come each from a different unidentified but presumably published writer, posed with in their publisher's booth at a big book fair. Most are nuts and bolts: Write! they say:

*Write every day!

*Give it time. Don't rush the publishers.

*All of life is research. Use your own experiences.

*Be patient. Keep writing. 

*Read a lot. Find your voice. Be nice. 

While I don't know about the necessity of niceness, these strike me as the essentials. If you want to get published, you have to write. At length, deeply.

*You probably need an agent and you should be willing to promote yourself,

was, however, one unsettling suggestion. Hold your horses. Write first, then think about publishing. It's a different enterprise, requiring a different set of skills.

I'll confess to being one of those thick-headed persons who has never much cared for advice. Tip lists make me a little nuts since they never appear as the result of an appeal for advice. Who's asking? Such anonymous, well-intended tips stimulate the barely-suppressed anxiety in many writers, instigating a self-inventory of professional and moral defects. "Maybe I should...!" 

I recall a conversation I had with a composer one time when I was at an artists' colony. He confessed to me his astonishment that writers so easily handed their work around for advice. He would never dream of doing the same, he said, and would be disconcerted if a colleague asked for advice. 

A composition was his job, from his head alone, both creatively and technically. Central to the composer's comment was the question of authority: Would these artists write—struggle, fail, struggle, overcome— their ways through their doubts and live with their work before turning it over to others? Would they endure; would they have the patience? As I see it, his core question is something like this: Does creative process have a character-formed direction and goal (near or far away), or is it open to incursions from all sides, its end defined by negotiation?

How can you know whether comments and criticisms are valid until you stand firmly on ground you've prepared yourself by sweaty trial-and-error? The ground that you've struggled to clear and level is uniquely yours. You will show your work—not a composite of advice, much irrelevant—when some future day you are talking with agents, publishers, and editors. They will have seen nothing like it. But that day is future: you don't have to invent those conversations as you write. 

When I read a submission, all I want is to read a well-made and distinctly personal book, the result of closeted time spent wrestling with words and ideas. I'm not interested in a composite of advice from tips and rules—peer or professional—offered before the writer's ideas have had time to take characteristic shape. 

My advice to writers trying to get published? Use your dictionary, not spell check. Be aware of your sentence structure and make it propel your pages. Attend carefully to your vocabulary; use it like an orchestra. Be excited by what you wrote or have at it again and again until you are. Read your writing out loud. Look carefully at any "flaws" in your writing: They may be the gems that distinguish your work. Be cautious about dismissing anything you've been told can't work: Maybe it will; maybe it won't. Writing is a long process and anything can happen if you let it. Your "errors" may be discoveries.

There is indeed is no rush to the publisher's door. Much of what I turn down has clearly arrived too soon. Take a long time, take years, all by yourself, finding and writing and rewriting your own words. Let the manuscript cure; return and rethink it. When you discover that you finally know what you really want to do, share it with someone else, confident that you can evaluate what they may say without anxiety about being pulled off course. 

Advice at the right point can make the heavens open. Or it can dash your hopes in a way that is too often unfairly attributed to publishers. 

Advice for writers trying to get published? Send work that you wrote and that you stand in because it fits you perfectly. If a publisher wants it and edits begin, you'll come to the process with authority and clarity. What are you selling and what are you trading for the price offered? 

Did you try to write a work of art, or something to get published? Can you think of yourself as an artist and still believe that some of us love, respect, and want to publish it?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In Other Words: Committed, Activist, Non-Profit, Feminist

At 14 NE Killingsworth Street in Portland, Oregon, I visited a rare bookstore called In Other Words. 

In point of fact, In Other Words is not exclusively a bookstore, for the books on their central stacks are a lending library. Doesn't this undermine the business model? Not exactly, because In Other Words is a non-profit organization, a Feminist Community Center.

In Other Words is near my daughter's house. When I was visiting, Upper Hand Press had just published Louise Farmer Smith's One Hundred Years of Marriage, a novel deep in its observations about the history of women in domestic unions, so I thought I'd pay them a call.

I have watched the television show Portlandia only twice, and In Other Words turned out to be the setting for the feminist bookstore in which Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen have made many a broad and silly jest about feminists and feminist culture. It was that bookstore.

But it turned out to be "that" bookstore not at all. Not. At. All. 

Portlandia's comedy is made by grotesquely exaggerating their targets—making feminism seem like a disease of the deranged, feeble-minded, and un-beautiful. Their send-up bears no relation to the broad-mindedness that I found displayed on the store's shelves and in discussion with Allison Specter, the woman minding the store. 

Among the books they carry one can find something for women of every sort in every life situation. There are philosophical writings about the bases for feminist thought; there are books on political theory and action. There are books about maternity and childcare, aging, and women's health from many perspectives. In Other Words carries books aimed at straight, lesbian, and trans women, and for the people who care about them. There are books for girls of every age, to encourage them to be happy and strong in their bodies and attitudes. This is  a broad-minded specialist bookstore, not a bastion of exclusive doctrine.

In Other Words needs to sell more books than it does to keep its doors open for its community activities. They tell us on their website:

"When we opened in 1993 there were over 200 feminist bookstores in the United States and today there are fewer than 30. In Other Words is the only feminist bookstore in the United States that also functions as a nonprofit organization, which has allowed us to serve a unique role in our communities."

That's gutsy, and optimistic, and it's also frightening. They drive with the needle on empty most of the time, doing business with the prospect of having to close ever present. There's some extra income from the television show, but it's balanced by the upsurge in male curiosity-seekers to be jettisoned and of t.v. tourists with no interest in buying.

Contributions are warmly welcome by this unique, determined, important feminist bookstore. When you watch Portlandia, think of the real women serving and served at Portland's In Other Words.

Upper Hand Press is sending an in-kind contribution of our books for them to sell and profit from, hoping the money will go farther than our admiration.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"One Hundred Years Of Marriage" Launched at Upshur Street Books

Cover by Natalee Michelle Brown
The District of Columbia's new Upshur Street Books hosted the launch of Louise Farmer Smith's novel, One Hundred Years of Marriage, on January 8th. Enough listeners braved the arctic cold to occupy every seat with which Anna Thorn had filled her store. Smith drew her audience at full speed directly into knowledge of the Brady family secret that protagonist Patricia would die rather than reveal. Patricia's narration in the first chapter is a catapult into the  novel's poignant stream of secrets kept and revealed throughout the passage of four generations.

Louise Farmer Smith is a long-time resident of Capitol Hill. Both she and Upper Hand Press wanted her first reading to be at a District book store. We could not have found one more suitable and congenial than Upshur Street in the northwest neighborhood of Petworth.

If you find Upshur Street's Facebook page, you can follow their progress all the way back to their beginnings, not so long ago, in June 2014, when they arose from a $17,000 Kickstarter campaign.
From a June, 2014 Facebook post for Upshur Street Books

Barely six months old, they have already become Washington tastemakers. Earlier this month, Anna Thorn was the go-to person for books when the Washington Post needed expert predictions about 2015 trends. 

Louise Farmer Smith reads from One Hundred Years of Marriage
Upper Hand Press was delighted to partner with Upshur Street Books for the launch of One Hundred Years of Marriage because of the affinity we feel with a hard-working, positive young business. It takes a lot of vision and commitment to open an independent bookstore in the days of bookselling behemoths. It takes some nerve to open an independent publishing house. 2014 was the founding year for Upper Hand and Upshur Street both.

2014 was also the publication year for One Hundred Years of Marriage, and this was another big "first," for this is Louise Farmer Smith's first novel. Though she has published many short stories and earned two Pushcart nominations, Smith went through the legendary years of struggle and rejection by countless agents and publishing houses until Upper Hand Press leapt at the chance to bring this book out. We will celebrate her 75th birthday with a royalty check!

A new bookstore; a new press; a first novel. January 8th's reading was a celebration not only of Smith's remarkable novel, but of a dedicated author, a bookstore built on heart, and of this new press, which is happy to be joining hands with people persisting in doing what they dream of.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Loves: Independent Bookstores Close to the Upper Hand Heart. PART 2.

Ann Starr's first reading tour for Sounding Our Depths: The Music of Morgan Powell during the fall of 2014 introduced her to several more outstanding independent bookstores, lengthening the list begun in our first post by Mac's Backs, Jane Addams, and Buffalo Street Books. 

Krista Long and Ann Starr at MindFair Books
A bookstore that smiles is in Oberlin, one of Ohio's great college towns. MINDFAIR ("The Book Lovers' Book Store") nestles inside the local Ben Franklin store. I thought that's where one goes to get tube socks and pet turtles. Krista Long's version lacks ephemeral pets, but it offers lots of old-fashioned, hand- or wind-powered toys, fabrics and notions, and day-to-day essentials like those snuggy socks and stacks and stacks of books——all with very nice young staff to help you out. Ann's reading turned into something more personal and fun——chats with Krista's customers who may have been shopping for specific items, but were happily led astray. Long has made of the whole store a neighborly zone where people express their curiosity, socialize, chat, and philosophize. What better place to talk about books than at the Oberlin five and dime?
Room at Loganberry set up for Starr's reading

Nothing of the pickle-barrel, warm familiarity at LOGANBERRY BOOKS in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Here it's more the coziness of Edwardian garden chairs, oriental rugs, and high tea in the library. And what a library! This exquisitely decorated store boasts floor-to-ceiling shelves in every one of its long line of rooms. The solicitous staff makes an author feel like she has a home in a bookstore——in every imaginable sense. Loganberry celebrated its twentieth anniversary in December. So many years have to testify to the strength of Loganberry's bonds with its neighbors. But an itinerant author could sense that without knowing the history.

Starr is introduced at New England
Mobile Book Fair, Newton, MA
Starr lived many years in Wellesley, Massachusetts. When she did, she took her children book shopping at the legendary NEW ENGLAND MOBILE BOOK FAIR in Newton, the next town east. No, it's not as big as Powell's or Strand or Seminary Bookstore: But it's big enough to occupy an industrial warehouse space and to make even an adult feel like she's gone to another country when she's gone to purchase a title (NEMBF motto: "I Only Came for One Book!"). The courtesy of a prepared introduction only added to the pleasure of presenting in the most magical of all spaces——where the author had enjoyed at one small remove the primal freedom and joy of childhood book-buying.