Thursday, July 23, 2009

Arrivederci Chautauqua

I've been thinking about why it's taken me a week to write this final post about the Highlights workshop, and I'm wondering if maybe it's not some unconscious defense mechanism to prevent it from ending, to avoid acknowledging it's over out of fear that admitting it's done might bring an end to the wonderful inspiration and excitement about writing/the fellowship of children's writers that we felt all week?

Anyway, the last day of the workshop, effectively was Friday the 17th. I sat in on Patti Gauch's session on the fantasy genre, Alvina Ling spoke about what an editor's day is like, and Larry Pringle discussed interviewing techniques. After that, myself and several others were asked to give "parting shots", share some of what we learned or was most memorable for the week. I hate speaking in front of crowds and was quite nervous. But I got through it, thanking several of the people I'd met who had been so supportive and friendly and sharing a small part of my wonderful conversation with Clay Winters on Tuesday night.

Friday night was the closing banquet. (here's I am with my fellow ladywriters of Vera house). At the banquet I got to share a table with the ever gracious Jerry and Eileen Spinelli. Jerry shared some of the Hollywood trials and tribulations of trying to get Stargirl made into a movie (with Paul Feig hopefully directing and adapting the script). I had a wonderful conversation with the Spinelli's guests, Miles and Elmore Demott from Montgomery Alabama. They had so many great ideas on how to market my book, I could have talked with them for hours.

Since this was the workshop's 25th anniversary, there was a special tribute to the founder, Kent Brown, which was very touching. At the end they presented him with a big check raised from friends.

Saturday I packed my bags and had one last, great farewell breakfast with another group of writers I'd not met yet (I think out of the 106 attendees, I met and spoke with about 65). Afterward, I guess my car didn't want it to end either. When I got to the parking lot, it wouldn't start. I had to get a jump from security and then I was on my way.

I arrived in Ohio just in time to meet my wife and daughter at the urgent care center for a replay of Faces of Death part 6, as in, my younger daughter had gotten whacked by the wheelchair swing at the playground and had to get 6 stitches in her ankle.
And with that I was forced to say, Arrivederci Chautauqua! Hello real world.

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