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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crystal River Elementary in Carbondale!

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Hey everyone!

I had a blast in Carbondale last week! I have lots of pics from my trip, so I"ll divide this into two entries-- this one will focus on the Crystal River visit, and then, in a few days, I'll post the middle schools visit pics.

So, I have to admit that when we scheduled the visit for the third week in November, I was pretty nervous I'd have a long, terrible drive in a blizzard, since that's not uncommon in the mountains of Colorado this time of year.

But it was a perfect and breath-takingly beautiful four-hour drive there. Sunny and so warm I was wearing jeans and a tank top and even turned on the AC for parts! I listened to a Lila Downs CD over and over and relished the time to just sit and let my mind wander wherever it wanted to go. I felt grateful to be living in this gorgeous state.

I stayed at a very cool strawbale house in downtown Carbondale with a very cool family.

It made me want to live in a strawbale house. There are real bundles of straw in the walls-- well insulating and energy efficient and green-- and it just gave me a good feeling.

I spent Wednesday at Crystal River Elementary, where we focused on a story I had published in Cricket Mag a few years ago called Drops of Wax. It takes place about 70 years ago and it's about a friendship between a Gypsy girl and a Mixtec girl, with fortune-telling and waking from the dead and magical healing powers. It was inspired by some real-life tales told to me by my Mixtec curandera friend Maria Chiquita.

Two groups of fourth grade girls did fabulous performances of the story for each of the grades.

This was the first time I'd seen it acted out, and I loved it! I talked for a bit about my writing process and journey, and did a couple writing workshops.

There were lots of Spanish-speaking kids in the school, which always makes visits extra-exciting for me. They have all kinds of interesting personal connections with my stories. All the students came up with super-creative stories of their own during the workshops-- we did plenty of writing and laughing together.

Thanks, Carbondale, for a very warm welcome to your town! It seems like everyone knows everyone (and they all have good things to say about each other). Everything seems to be in walking distance-- the schools, library, restaurants, neighborhoods-- which I loved. I'll treasure the memory of this trip!

Be sure to check back next week to hear about the visits with Carbondale middle schools.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Trailer, Harris Bilingual, OSHER... and OBAMANOS!

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Hi everyone!

I've been pretty busy lately-- finishing up my comments on the copy-edited version of The Indigo Notebook, getting permission to use all the Rumi quotes in it, giving input about the cover art for the Notebooks series (which I'm happy Delacorte let me do-- it's uncommon.) The cover art that you see in the October 7 post has been changed-- they're in the midst of doing a photo shoot now for the new cover art, and I'll post it here as soon as I get it!

I have an essay on the Colorado Author's League Website this month-- it's about my writing trailer-- check it out!

I've been doing lots of events lately. Here's a photo taken yesterday at Barnes and Noble in Fort Collins at the Day of the Dead fundraising event for Harris Bilingual. Martha, in the orange, is a friend of mine and the librarian at the school (she also helped me with the latest revision of the collaborative memoir about my Ecuadorian friend Maria Virginia's girlhood!) I love Harris Bilingual-- it's a really special community of kids, parents, and staff.

Here's a photo of the OSHER class at CSU. Nancy Hansford (book review columnist in the Coloradoan) put this lecture series together-- four local authors who write about international topics-- Kari Grossman (Bones that Float), DJ Murphy (A Thousand Veils), Greg Campbell (Blood Diamonds). It was fun to be part of this-- the students were fabulous and enthusiastic.

On Tuesday I'm leaving for a teacher's conference in Pittsburgh (I'm proud I finally learned to spell that.) I'm hoping I'll find some kindred souls in the hotel cafe to celebrate the election results with. My teacher friend at the Barnes and Noble event told me the Spanish verb for Obama in the nosotros form-- !OBAMANOS!-- "Let's Obama!"

Thanks for reading-- enjoy fall!