Three years ago I was starting to write my sequel to Annie California. I wrote a passage where Annie, now 11, is wondering what to do about her dad in prison, her mom who can’t seem to get off the couch these weeks, her best friend Crow Boy who keeps running off to visit the neighbors instead of playing in the creek as they used to. Crow Boy’s mom sings a few lines of a song—“People get ready, there’s a train to Jordan picking up passengers from coast to coast. Faith is the key, open the doors and board them. There’s hope for all among those loved the most”— and she says, “Honey, you be you. In fact, I’d suggest you be more Annie! Be more and more Annie.” (For the past couple of weeks I’ve worked hard to take that advice from the character I created, someone wiser than myself.) One day last week I read in my own journal from 2-1/2 years ago something a friend had said to me *after* I had written that passage in Annie Book 2: When I asked my friend for thoughts about what I could do about being totally misunderstood by an arts community I was part of, my friend pounded a fist on the table: “You be Margaret. Be more Margaret. Be more and more Margaret.” I’m surprised that’s such a hard job, but I’m working on it as I’m finishing up the sequel for publication (faith is the key, people...this summer, yes) having written U-B-U on my kitchen chalkboard yesterday, grateful for the advice, whoever it sings through.
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