It's hard to believe summer is already at an end! I wish I could say I finished a manuscript or signed a new contract or am about to launch a new book, as some of my fellow spuds are doing. My summer has been busy, but not filled with much time for writing. The day after school was out my husband and I headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week with both our children and their families. It was a wonderful week, especially with my brother looking after our parents so I could relax. Here's a photo of all of us on the beach at sunset.
That same week, I began teaching an online writing workshop through McDaniel College's graduate certificate program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. It was a busy 8 weeks, but I think I learned as much as my very talented students, and I hope to continue as an adjunct, teaching in the program. In fact, I've been asked to be a faculty advisor for one of my students during her MLA final project--writing a young adult novel.
Throughout the teaching, I was also planning and preparing for our annual 2-day regional SCBWI conference, which went off without a hitch in mid-July. We had an amazing line-up, including keynote authors, Richard Peck, Deborah Wiles, Sally Walker, and Bobbie Pyron; editors Mary Kate Castellani of Walker Books/Bloomsbury, Stacey Barney of Putnam/Penguin, Christine Peterson of Capstone Press, and Rotem Moscovich of Disney Hyperion; and agents Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary Agency, Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary, and James Proimos of Welcome Literary; and a very talented illustrator, Jaime Zollars. Here's a photo of me with Richard Peck at my home for the faculty dinner the night before the start of the conference. What a joy to have him here in person!
I also managed to get away to Los Angeles for the 41st annual National/International SCBWI Conference, which was another amazing week, jam-packed with marvelous speakers and good friends in the writing industry.
Any spare time amidst these many endeavors was taken up with helping and caring for my parents. Just yesterday my husband and I helped move them to an assisted living facility 10 minutes away, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will settle in well. The apartment is tiny, but we worked hard to make it as homey as possible with their own furniture, paintings, and other well-loved belongings. I will, of course, be seeing them frequently, but I hope to have a lot more peace of mind knowing that they have capable caregivers available at any time day or night.
I'll close with a lovely photograph of my father with my youngest granddaughter (his great granddaughter), Piper Drew Hemingway, on his lap a couple of weeks ago. It's one of his happier moments over these past difficult months.
Ooops! I forgot to say that I now have my mother's 7-foot harpsichord (built in British Columbia by Sabathil & Son) sitting in the great room of our log cabin! It is a "French Double" with a hand-painted soundboard made of Canadian Cedar, an American Black Walnut case with gold banding, and Rosewood double keyboard. I'll post a photo in a future blog post. In the meantime, I try to slip some practice time into my busy days as a way to calm my mind.