Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hello-o-o-o-o-o-o Down There!

When I go to New York City for NCTE/ALAN, I will be staying in what I am sure is a perfectly lovely hotel. I made the mistake, though, of reading reader comments about the hotel on a website. While most people were quite happy with their stay, one person mentioned the 31st floor, with no hot water. And one person mentioned bed bugs.

Of course, I immediately had another anxiety attack.

I am scared of height--always have been--so regarding the first mention I sped right past the lack of hot water and focused on the number 31. 31!!!! Holy crap. It is a sign of my ongoing naivete that I never considered that I might be up in the clouds. Way up. (Have I mentioned that I hate flying, and this is why?)

I also did not think about bed bugs.

So now I am convinced it will be me and the bed bugs on the 95th floor, with no hot water.

To offset my ongoing mental crisis, I will mention a wonderful children's historical novel I read a couple of months ago, BLOOD ON THE RIVER: JAMES TOWN 1607, by Elisa Carbone. This is the story of a real boy, Samuel Collier, who really travelled from England to the new colony in America, and survived. Carbone has created much of his personal story, as little is known beyond the bare outline, but has used excellent research to draw a very realistic picture of life in James Town--the good and the bad--including the relationship of the Europeans with the Native Americans, the struggle to survive starvation, hardship and disease, and the leadership of Captain John Smith, a truly remarkable man. This would all only be factually interesting if Carbone had not made her characters, especially young Samuel Collier, come to full life. Samuel is utterly alive on the page, and through him I really experienced that early, rough life in colonized America. Wonderful.

See, I feel better already, just thinking about this young boy and his incredible bravery. Maybe some of it will rub off on me. (And scare away the bed bugs!)


Anonymous said...

kathleen, When you check in, you can ask for a room on a lower floor. They'll do it for you -- it's a common request.

-Nancy W.

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson said...

Oh, well, duh! I never thought of that. Thanks for the suggestion. :-)