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Friday, July 22, 2011



       My dear father-in-law said, " you won't have time to blog." I am eating my words after missing 2 days. 

     Actually, I am only claiming one day of lost time as my fault from being busy and tired and busy, some more.  Yesterday, it was the blackout that occurred in the middle of the afternoon that disrupted Julie Ham from Charlesbridge.  She did not miss a beat. 
 The Brown Brothers sang their ballad and the auction went on despite no air conditioning or fans.  I tried, and the blackout disrupted my blog.  Sleepless in Chautauqua was an experience this author does not ever want to experience again.  With the humidity, the temperature was noted to be 104 yesterday. We woke to the fan coming back on and the fire alarm going off.  I was dreaming I was in hell. 

        I am about to embark for the closing banquet.  I am not sure if I can fit any more food in my belly or information from such incredibly creative humans, in my head.  I have so much to share with you but it will have to wait so that I can do it properly from my studio, next week.  Thanks for your patience.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Highlights Chautauqua Day 4

     Sorry for the short post.  It was a full day with a critique that has me working on a revision at 10:30pm, and  I have a 5:30 am wake up call for a naturalist journaling activity. 

     In the mean time, enjoy this link and visit the Roger Tory Peterson Museum where we went on a field trip to and ate dinner this evening.  It was another simply amazing time! 


Highlights Chautauqua Day 3

Day 3, Monday

        Our morning started out with a fantastic talk by Peter Jacobi who led us down the yellow brick road to OZ where we were encouraged to find our brain to think and create, our heart to follow, our courage to keep on plugging along, and our spirit to dream. Peter spun his lifetime of wisdom, humor, and compassion into a magical and inspirational talk which received a standing ovation.

         Next, I unexpectedly found myself in front to the amphitheater where the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts gave a speech to all of Chautauqua. He was interrupted by a Flash Mob from the Chautauqua Opera Company which sang a variety of opera and songs starting with Mr. Chairman’s own Toni winning play. I could not resist and stayed for the whole speech which also got a standing ovation for the Flash Mob and the lecture. As a Commissioner for Arts and Culture for GJ, I walked away satisfied that we are moving in the right direction as a community expanding the arts and arts education on the West Slope of Colorado.

       My afternoon was filled with lunch with the sr. art director from Highlights, Robin Gourley and three workshops ranging from learning more about dialogue from Mitali Perkins, editing from Andy Gutelle, and nonfiction writing from Sneed Collard.

         Tonight, after sharing a dinner table with Andy Boyles, science editor for Highlights and Boyd Mills Press and Julie Agnone, vp of National Geographic for Kids, I am awe struck as I try and reflect back. Each and every one of these encounters left me with inspiration, knowledge, and hope from examining myself and my creativity as well as looking at the world we live in and create for children.

            Hot, tired, and satisfied for the night, I wonder what nighttime dreams I will have as I integrate this marvelous day down the yellow brick road.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Highlights Chautauqua Day 2

            Day 2 was a continuation of getting accuainted with fellow conferees, faculty, and the Chautauqua grounds.  What seemed to transpire very quickly was a building of community.  Everyone is friendly, helpful, welcoming, and encouraging. 

       I had breakfast sitting next to Andy Boyles, science editor.  After breakfast, we were given an over view of Highlights Magazine by the editors.  What continued to come up was the original vision and mission of the publishing company is what continues to drive what gets published, no exceptions.

     After lunch we boarded a bus for Director, Ken Browns' brothers' family home in Westfield for a BBQ.  We were given a surprise speech by award winning,  author Joy Cowly who inspired us by reminding us that all authors start out at the same place.  She went on to say that writing for children is like a prayer with out the religion.  It's spiritual.  In her closure, she said may the fire of the divine creation consume you and make you its' co-creator. It gave a few of us that were sitting together goose bumps.

        At the meal, Patti Gauch, former editor and VP for Philomil sat across from me and talked candidly with us about what we needed to get from this conference. She talked about critiquing Eric Carle's manuscript and him telling her that he would rather sink of his own steam than that of an editors.  Patti said to be our own boss of our own business when we leave.  She also made it clear to find and hold on to your own unique voice.

Today was about building community.  The community is now ready to move forward into the learning, honing, and making the next steps. 

Highlights Chautauqua 2011, Day 2 Wee Hours of the Morning


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Highlights Chautauqua 2011 Day 1

     You know your in New York when you see Lake Erie, the miles to Buffalo are decreasing, and you see billboards for the welcome center for Niagra Falls.  It was about this time that I let go of my traveling thoughts and began to think what an incredible gift I had been given in having this opportunity.  The lady who gave me my ticket at the entry to the NY Thruway wished me an amazing weekend.  Do you think she knew what I was getting into?

     This is my home for the next week. I am staying on the top floor in a small corner room with my writer roommate from Texas, Katherine. We are lucky to have 2 windows and a ceiling fan. I can get a wireless connection from the balcony which I think I will spend a lot of time on when it is not in sun. The good news about being on the top floor is lots and lots of stairs and rationalization about burning off calories with all the stairs and walking everywhere for the week.
The Ashland Inn

When I arrived, I was given a bag with many books in it. It was like Christmas or a birthday pulling them out one by one and looking at who the author was and what it meant for me to receive these books. I’ll be sure to let you know if I find out.

     Tonight at our opening banquet, Kathryn Erskine gave the keynote talk. Kathryn won the 2010 National Book Award, Young People’s Literature for her novel Mockingbird. Kathryn spoke about her 2004 Chautauqua experience. Here is her top 10 magic list that makes Chautauqua a very special experience.

• The Cooking

• Chautauqua the Place

• Creative Outlets (many)

• The Classes

• The Critiques

• The Confidence

• The Community

• Charging up

• Clarity

• Career Changing

Kathyrn Erskine

     In her closing statement, she reminded us that we were chosen to come because of our talents and that everyone in that room knew that and was rooting for us and wanted us to reach our goals. 
     I walked home to the Ashland listening to the Opera going on 3 blocks from my room thinking that this truely is going to be an amazing weekend and week, just like the ticket booth employee said.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Highlights Chautauqua 2011

Welcome to my 2011 Highlights Chautauqua blog. 

 I am very excited to have this incredible experience right around the corner. 

Highlights Chautauqua 2011 starts July 16th and closes on July 23rd.
Check back to see my postings daily! 

What will I be posting about?  Why writing and illustrating for children, of course and a whole lot more.