Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thurber House: Day Three

I saw two rabbits today.

As I left Thurber House to go next door where their Summer Camp programs are held, in the little garden outside, full of statues of James Thurber's dog Muggs, a rabbit ran right past me and into the bushes.

Then I taught two groups of campers back to back from 9:30 until 11:30. The kids were great and, to my tremendous relief, took to the material. Why is that a relief, you say? Well, it's like this. I have several presentations I usually give. One is an hour long presentation on the world of Thrones & Bones. One is a one or two hour presentation called ScripTips, which uses my particular take on cinematic story structure to teach plotting and outlining to would be novelists. And one, created recently, is an hour long workshop taking participants through exercises drawn from ScripTips lessons. Today, I combined all three of those presentations into one hour long performance. I felt a bit like the Doctor in that episode "Flatline" where he's stuck inside a shrunken TARDIS, everything compressed together tightly. But it went well, and now I have a new presentation I can do. And, as in each of these classes I've taught this week, while all the kids are bright, imaginative, and enthusiast, there's always a couple kids who really take to the material and set off writing their stories like wildfire. Which is always tremendous to see. (Future competition).

Next, I took off on a trip 30 minutes northish to teach a course at Worthington Park Library. Billed as "Description: Write On: A Creative Writing Workshop," I taught a group of about 9 kids (and one adult) a writing workshop, helping them construct the basics of a story. I'll have pictures from that tomorrow, but it was a very fun time in a cool library (in a strip mall!). Thanks to Ellie and Dustin for arranging and facilitating a great afternoon!

Then it was back here for a brief rest and then off to a "literary picnic" that Thurber House holds. Author Pauline A. Chen was in town to speak about her new novel, The Red Chamber. Based on the epic Dream of the Red Chamber—one of the most famous love stories in Chinese literature—Pauline described it as being, not so much retelling, as a work that sits in relationship to the original in the manor that Wicked aligns to The Wizard of Oz. The book sounds fascinating and Pauline certainly was. She also has degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. So there you go.

And during her talk, I looked out a window and saw yet another rabbit bounding around.

Now I'm back in my apartments awaiting a thunderstorm. Apparently between midnight and 3 am there's a real chance of dangerously high winds. So fingers crossed I don't end up crouched in the basement of a spooky old house, sitting in the dark with no power! But wouldn't that be a story!

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