I arrived Sunday evening, Sept. 29th. Pam, the driver who picked me up at the Newark airport, had been visiting her son in Jamestown CO when the floods hit, and she and her husband had to be helicoptered out! We had a great visit--she married her high school sweetheart and they had kids and now they're both retired travel all over the country but Honesdale will always be home. Nice to meet a person who is totally happy with life.
Monday, Kathy arrived! She was one of several women from the Chicago area, and was good friends with Heidi Bee Roemer. We all took the tour of the Highlights office in Honesdale, in this beautiful old home.
Here's a picture of the Chicago Five--Heidi Bee Roemer, Pat Fowler, Linda Dryfhout, Julie Stiegemeyer, and Kathy Doherty.
Then we moved on up to Kathleen Hayes' office--she's the editor of High Five and Hello. She had just received the box of the latest issue of Hello, and she showed it to us. There were three of us that had poems in that issue! Here we are feeling like rock stars with Kathleen.
Back at the Barn, we had dinner and then toasted marshmallows dipped in different flavored liqueurs. Great idea, Matt! Here he is soaking marshmallows in Grand Marnier for Pat and Michelle.
I guess I should mention that we really did discuss poetry! I saw this more as a retreat than a class, but it was very beneficial to have David review the poems we'd sent in. I'd added one that had been rejected by Boyds Mills last year, but it turned out to be his favorite! He wrote "Bingo! If this isn't published, it soon will be. Lots to work with here. An artist will go wild with this." He gave me a suggestion to add to it a little bit, so I revised while sitting outside on the patio with the woods all around--so lovely. Here's David getting ready for his big solo! He looks a little nervous here, but most of the time he was smiling and laughing. Delightful, talented man, and he gave us all copies of his book, Pirates!
The Skype visit from Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis was very good. Boy, do I have a lot to learn about poetic forms! Fortunately, David gave us a great handout. Took a relaxing, yet energizing walk in the woods.
The evenings were so much fun--appetizers and wine on the patio, dinner, and then poems performed around the fire. At night, my wonderful neighbor Karen Eastland and I took a flashlight walk down past the former store to a farm where she'd heard a rooster that morning. So fun to be out walking in the dark! This is Karen chatting with Chef Joseph. She was on meds that made her light-sensitive, so she wore dark glasses and a hat during the day.
Kathy and I took a walk, and at night, sweet Cory Corrado joined Karen and me for another nighttime flashlight adventure! Here's Cory with Kathy.
The Skype visit with Renee LaTulippe was super. What a delightful woman she is! On Thursday, Marileta Robinson came to visit. She was the editor at Highlights when I first started submitting, and she rejected everything I sent, but often added an encouraging note. Those notes kept me going! It was fun to meet her, and thank her, and share my happy news about another sale. Heidi calls us the "Three Amigos" and we had our picture snapped with her.
Rebecca Davis of WordSong, the poetry arm of Boyds Mills Press, came to talk to us about submitting poetry. I talked to her about my poem that David liked, and she said to send it in to her attention. Connections like these are why I think Highlights conferences are such a great investment.
So hard to say goodbye to everyone! I keep going through my photos and remembering all the terrific and talented people I met there. And it was so wonderful to reconnect with my dear writing buddy, Kathy Doherty.
Good friends, good poetry, good food, good weather--I will remember it always!