My last time to teach "Creating Children's Picture Books" at the John C. Campbell Folk School (because we're moving to Scotland) could not have gone better!
On the way up to Brasstown, North Carolina on Wednesday, I had lunch with Doris Abernathy and Dale McKay Wagner (A BIRD ON WATER STREET is dedicated to Doris), and some of their friends in Blue Ridge, Georgia. We were celebrating their birthdays which all occur around the same time, including Doris' 87th birthday on Thanksgiving! Thanks indeed! Gads, I love her silly.
Then, on to the folk school... I had an especially inspired group of five students - the perfect size for the classroom. This was our view (that white thing on the hill is "Brasstown" in big letters like the Hollywood sign in California):
Truly, all my students were engaged, inquisitive and highly participatory, taking my advice, and offering great advice to their fellow students too. Their manuscripts were promising and they made fantastic progress during class. It was an absolute treat for me!
Add to that, Thursday night was wreath-making night. An enormous amount of greens and berries from all over the grounds was collected and piled up in the community room, where we were given straw wreath rounds and pins to assemble unique creations. By the end, our hands were covered with sap, lemon and lime juice and cedar. They smelled so good! They served hot chocolate and played Christmas music. What a way to get in the Christmas spirit!
All the creations were gorgeous, and they use them to decorate the school for the holidays and for the Fireside Sale on Sunday. Here I am with one of my students and the two wreaths we created hanging above us, and then me with three of my students and more wreaths:
Even nicer, Harold Underdown donated a copy of his latest, 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, to become part of the permanent collection in the writing studio at John C. - the "Orchard House." Wasn't that generous of him? I hope to have him on soon to talk more about this great resource.
Sadly, I had to miss the Fireside sale on Sunday. I needed to get home for Stan's Christmas work party Saturday night (way fun!). But I really wanted to pick up some Alpaca socks from a local vendor - Bedford Falls Alpaca Farm. I'd purchased some a few years earlier and worn them to death, so I arranged to meet him at his farm after the closing ceremony. What a gorgeous place it was, with all those fuzzy adorable alpacas everywhere! Have you discovered alpaca socks? They are like pockets of joy for your feet. SO COZY! And you can get some too!
Then I headed to lunch with some life-long friends in Murphy (we met when Stan and I lived up in the mountains)... Hi Toni, Lisa, Deb and Lynne - love you guys! We ate at Doyle's, a restaurant with a great view of the Murphy Christmas parade - in the pouring down rain! It was still fabulous.
All said, good-byes are hard, but I'm so grateful to have such great friends and experiences to miss!