Monday, July 26, 2010

They Had Me With the Gift Bag... Chautauqua!

I'm HOME!  I wasn't sure I would make it back. Somewhere along the Pennsylvania/Ohio border my van began to hiccup and the engine light came on. Since the temperature light didn't show, I kept driving. Once I reached Columbus, the engine light started blinking, so I stopped and got some advice from a mechanic. He ran a diagnostic and announced that not all pistons were firing. That's not the first time someone has said that to me, although they weren't referring to my van...  He thought I could make it home to Cincinnati, but advised me to drive under the speed limit. I followed his advice -much to the annoyance of every trucker on I-71 South.

How do I explain the Chautauqua Writer's Workshop?

Generous - I was greeted at the Hall of Christ by friendly faces and a Highlight's tote bag full of FREE BOOKS. That alone was enough to make me a happy gal. Every member of the faculty was friendly and helpful. Each person willingly took the time to answer questions. Any question, whether it was about books, writing, or finding the post office. No one ever made me feel that I was keeping them from someplace else they'd rather be.

Fun - Throw roughly 120 creative thinkers together for a week, and how could you not have fun? Especially when there is good food, ice cream and chocolate involved.

HOT - Holy moly was it hot! And humid. I thought I would melt and become one, big puddle of Nora somewhere along the brick road to the Atheneum Hotel. There was no air-conditioning except in the Hall of Christ, and that was to protect the pipe organ. I think the guest rooms at the Atheneum had air, but ceiling fans were the norm everywhere else. Whew!

Thought-Provoking - Every speaker gave me something to chew on. No word was wasted. Each piece of advice was rich.

Friendly - I met some nice people this week. They came from all over the world - Hong Kong, Spain, Thailand, Africa, Canada, and of course, from every corner of the USA.  There are several people I know I'll keep in contact with. You can find two of them at Slushbusters. I'm sure Michelle and Sarah will also blog about their experiences. Hanna is another fun, new friend. You can find her at Luna the Typewriter. Yup. She named her typewriter after the moon.

I'm already packing for another workshop, so it might be another week before I return to the blog. I leave on Friday for George Washington's Mt. Vernon Teachers' Institute for one week of immersion in the life and times of George Washington. It should be interesting, and it will renew my teacher's license.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a list of some of the books the Highlight's presenters used as examples in their workshops. I know my to-be-read list has expanded. Hopefully you can find something helpful here too.

Patti Gauch - Conflict & Tension - turn the page power
*SPEAK, Laurie Halse-Anderson
*THE CHOCOLATE WAR, Robert Cormier
*THE HOBBIT, J. R. R. Tolkien

Patti Gauch - Books Examples With... 
Voice: SAVVY, Ingrid Law
Narrative catch: HIGHWAY CATS,  Janet Taylor Lisle
Transcendent moments: MOCKINGBIRD, Kathryn Erskine

Peter Jacobi - Beginnings 
THE BLACK CLOUD, Fred Hoyle
A SUMMER TO DIE, Lois Lowry
THE HIGH KING, Lloyd Alexander
WIND IN THE WILLOWS, Kenneth Grahame
THE 13 CLOCKS, James Thurber
THE BAD BEGINNING, Lemony Snickett
BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS, Anne Tyler
FINNEGANS WAKE, James Joyce

Peter Jacobi - Endings
CHILDREN OF SANCHEZ, Oscar Lewis

Kim Griswell - A Sense of Place
THE HIGHEST TIDE, Jim Lynch

Kim Griswell - Mining Your Memories
Emotional Mining: HARRY POTTER, J.K. Rowling
Anecdotes and Events: PERPETUAL CHECK, Rich Wallace
FIREFLY MOUNTAIN, Patricia Thomas
People: THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY of a PART-TIME INDIAN, Sherman Alexie
TELLING TIME: ANGELS, ANCESTORS, AND STORIES, Nancy Willard
Specificity: THINGS INVISIBLE TO SEE, Nancy Willard

Donna Jo Napoli - Tension techniques
THE LOVELY BONES, Alice Sebold
I AM THE CHEESE, Robert Cormier
ZEL, Donna Jo Napoli

Rebecca Kai Dotlich - Creativity
A CELEBRATION OF BEES: ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR INSPIRING CHILDREN TO WRITE POETRY, Barbara J. Esbensen
DONAVAN'S WORD JAR, Monalisa Degross and Cheryl Hanna
POEMCRAZY: FREEING YOUR LIFE WITH WORDS, Susan Wooldridge
FOOLING WITH WORDS; A CELEBRATION OF POETS AND THEIR CRAFT, Bill Moyers
THE GLASS CASTLE: A MEMOIR, Jeanette Walls
PRINCE OF TIDES, Pat Conroy

Helen Hemphill - Writing for YA
HUNGER GAMES, Suzanne Collins
THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, Mary Pearson
SHARK GIRL, Kelly L. Bingham
GOING BOVINE, Libba Bray

Patti Gauch - Fantasy
THE BOOK OF THREE, Lloyd Alexander
THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, Joseph Campbell
THE HOBBIT, J.R.R. Tolkien
HARRY POTTER, J.K. Rowling
WATERSHIP DOWN, Richard Adams
THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, Ursula K. Le Guin

There you have it. That should keep you busy. Happy reading!


23 comments:

Hanna C. Howard said...

Love it. Yep, you summed it up quite well. What a week, eh?

Michelle said...

Nora, thanks for the shout-out and the fabulous synopsis! I'm glad you made it home safely.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I've heard a lot of good things about the books here on your list! :D

Nora MacFarlane said...

Hanna & Michelle - My head is STILL foggy from trying to sort out so much information. And yes, it was an incredible week!

Michelle - I hope you found something new on the list. It's going to keep me quite busy trying to get it all read!

Angela Ackerman said...

I'm glad you made it home safely and had a great time!

That's great breaking down all those great reads into examples of why they rocked. Some I have read but others I have not, and it's great having a list where I can hone in on my weak areas! Thanks so much!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Faith E. Hough said...

We just got back from Chautauqua as well...my husband Mark attended (did you meet the violin maker?), and Kent Brown invited me to come for a talk or two, so I was able to hear Patti Gauch speak. I'm still reeling, and Mark had a fabulous time and now thinks everyone should go. (I'm thinking next year...)

Nora MacFarlane said...

Angela - Thanks! I'm glad I'm home too. My mechanic just emailed me a picture of my tire. It has a nail and a 6-inch crack in the side wall. He couldn't believe it didn't blow on the highway. Engine coils AND tire. Yikes.

Faith - I DID meet the violin maker, but only once during the week. And now that I see your picture, I remember you, too. I wish I had known we were bloggin' buddies! The week was too short.

Angela said...

Oh wonderful! I'm so excited that you attended...and glad you made it home okay! Thanks for posting the book list!!! I hope you have some great writing time next week!

Karen Strong said...

Ah, I'm so jealous! It sounds like you have a FABULOUS time there.

And what a great resource of books! This is great I'm going to print this out.

I've heard so many wonderful things about Patti Gauch. I hope to be blessed of taking one of her workshops one day.

Julie Musil said...

That sounds like an amazing conference. It's so nice that you got to go. Thanks for the list of reference books. Yep, summer reading is busy, busy, busy!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Glad it was all we hoped for!

Kelly said...

Lucky you! That sounds absolutely fabulous!
Thanks for the great list of recommendations!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I knew you would come back full of writer love. :) Wasn't it the best thing ever! I'm so glad you made some Chautauqua buddies. Do you follow Tess Hilmo's blog? Ammy Allgeyer Cook? Susan Fields? They are a few of my (blogging)Chautauqua buddies.

I started a list after I got back and now keep track of everyting I read...

My Chautauqua bag is my fav!

Anna said...

Ooh, what an interesting list of books. Thanks for posting it. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

Marcia said...

Glad it was so great. I'm sure the week went by in a flash. And what a great list of books!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Thanks, All - It was a such a good experience. I highly recommend it to any writer.

Sharon - I'll add their blogs to my list.

Medeia Sharif said...

Glad to hear you had a great time. I read some of those books or they're on my wish list.

Rena said...

Sounds likee a great time, Nora!

adrienne said...

Glad the car made it!

Some of those books are on my wish list...which is growing all the time, of course.

Anne Spollen said...

Nice! Great way to spent those last, hot days. And I thought it was only me who drove with the engine light on sometimes...

lelapinamoureux said...

hi nora,

it's dora from hk, one of the ctq attendee. thx for the comprehensive list. :) that's one of the things I commit to do -- read lots and lots of good books. :)

Christina Farley said...

This sounds like so many lifelong memories. What an experience.

Mary Witzl said...

That sounds great -- especially the part about chocolate and free books. I've got to go to a writing conference. Yet another thing on my to-do list.