Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Thurber House: Day Seventeen (John Burroughs Elementary and Robin Yocum)

Today started off with a trip to John Burroughs Elementary School to visit their summer school camp, a grant-funded program to provide food and activities to students in a low-income area. There were 40+ kids, and they were on average a few years younger than I have been speaking to thus far. But they (and I) had a blast. I talked to them for about 15 minutes about my books, and then we did a writing exercise where they were shown some of Andrew Bosley's great art for my series and asked to fill in facts about the characters. And boy did we get some good names. A turbaned Uskiri scholar, for instance, was actually "Donald Trump" whose major talent was "screaming" and who wanted to "blow up the world" but who desperately needed "a breath mint." (That's presented exactly as the child wrote it and offered without comment.)

The afternoon was somewhat lazy--I'm wiped out after working late again last night. But this evening, at the Thurber House literary picnic, Robin Yocum read to us from his coming of age mystery novel, A Brilliant Death, and told stories about its setting, the real life town of Brilliant, Ohio. Yocum spoke to a crowd of about two hundred folks. He talked of how long and difficult a road the writing life is, and I was happy to see he had a long line of people awaiting his signature on books when I retired upstairs for the night.

Meanwhile, this will be my last update until Monday. I'm actually flying home to Birmingham tomorrow for (completely positive) family reasons. I'll return to Thurber House on Monday and have one more week here. It's been an incredible experience thus far, and there's still more to come!

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