Libraries & Archives

Libraries & Archives

Monday, December 08, 2008

Lowry in Kansas, after.

Lois Lowry captured the photo of the performer's bows at the end of the musical "Gathering Blue" on her website.

I enjoyed the performance at Independence Community College Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, tremendously, and felt privileged to be in on the production at what amounted to the workshopping stage. The drama speaks to our times in the era since 9/11, or perhaps Oklahoma City, in the concepts of the world going through 'destruction and reconstruction, many times' as recognized in The Singer's Song; in the security vs safety issue as expressed in GW Bush's presidency; and in the hope for the future that many now feel. I appreciated that the copyright date of 2001 was pointed out during the audience discussion with the composers, the director, the playwright and the author Lois Lowry just after the show.

On Saturday, she gave what was termed a lecture, but what I would call a memoir - she told a life story, accompanied by pictures. Born in Honolulu, she left the island shortly befor Pearl Harbor was bombed: she remembered telling her father that he needed to put his uniform on that day. She has a picture of her grandmother, visiting, on the beach in 1940 with the USS Arizona in the ocean behind them...

She also mentioned her favorite book of all she's written is "Autumn Street," in which a child is murdered; her book about her sister's death is "A Summer to Die." Her second Newbery Medal award was for "Number the Stars." She truly has dealt with dark material in her life: "Gathering Blue" reflects that, but remains quite hopeful. Too, when asked what her favorite part of "The Giver" is, she recalled when the boy is given a memory of a family and a dog, gathered in warmth within a home, around a tree. He doesn't know what the memory means, but we do, especially these weeks before Christmas.

I look forward to reading "Gathering Blue" and the following novel "The Messenger." (The actor playing Matt was so amazing in the musical). She says she's also working on a 4th in the set. I'm amazed to see how few of her 37 books I've read; she published most from 1980 forward, so my daughters read more of her than I have. I shall enjoy them!


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