A collection in progress. I intend to keep adding photos as others share them. What a deep joy to spend time in the company of these smart, creative, funny, wholehearted homeschool moms/Brave Writer coaches. Every conversation was full of new discoveries, meaningful connections, and belly laughs.
Who could have imagined that the Yahoogroups we joined in the ’90s would bring us lifelong friends and nourishing work? So happy to get some IRL time with my brilliant, inspiring, visionary friend Julie Bogart. Not that you can tell from these pics because I always play it cool.
Jeanne Faulconer is another fortuitous connection made on homeschooling lists in the mid-90s. I loved her voice in the Home Ed Magazine discussion groups and was thrilled when our paths crossed in person at Virginia Homeschoolers events in Charlottesville and Richmond. Here we are all these years later, still talking shop and bonding over writing & relaxed education.
I met Farzana Minty at the 2016 Brave Writer conference, at which I was a guest speaker. She came up to me after one of my talks and spoke movingly of some of the parallels between our motherhood experiences. She radiates warmth and kindness in all she does. Getting to spend time in conversation and laughter with Farzana was one of the highlights of a truly magical weekend.
We were supposed to sit with different people at every session during the retreat, to give us all a chance to get to know one another if we didn’t already. But somehow the lovely Rebecca Pickens and I kept ending at the same table, and I enjoyed her company immensely. What a gem my new friend is!
Jai Tracy, Jen Holman, Farzana Minty, and me
Many of us who were supposed to fly out of Cincinnati on Sunday evening encountered cancelled flights. I had just gotten through security and was retrieving my phone from the TSA bin when it pinged in my hand: my flight was delayed and I would miss my connection in Minneapolis. Delta put me up at the Marriott, where I found three more Brave Writer coaches in the same position. (A whole other crew wound up at different hotels.) Our dismay at not getting home on schedule was quickly overtaken by delight at getting to spend some extra time together. Somehow I hadn’t managed much conversation time with Jai Tracy and Jen Holman at any point during the retreat, so I was happy we got to linger over dinner in lively discussion. And I’ll take all the Farzana time I can get!
All my other retreat selfies were taken with other people’s cameras. I plan to scoop them all up to add to this album (starting with my beloved pal Karen Edmisten—a long overdue reunion for us! One worth every minute of lost sleep as we sat up late gabbing). Too delicious an event not to capture.
I first encountered Naomi Bulger’s mail art via her enchanting Instagram account. She has sent hundreds and hundreds of gorgeously illustrated letters around the world, and her delightful “Naomi Loves” newsletter often includes free downloadable templates for dressing up your own snail mail. Like this:
This month Naomi is launching an online snail mail e-course called “The Most Beautiful Letter You Have Ever Written.” It will focus on both the ins and outs of letter-writing—how (and why) to slow down and make time for snail mail correspondence, and how to dress up your letters so beautifully that just the sight of them will bring a smile to the recipient. The course includes writing prompts, tips for compelling writing, mail art tutorials and templates, and membership in a private mail-art pen-pal club. Lots more information here.
(Contains affiliate links.)
The hardest part of writing the Brave Writer Arrow for Kelly Barnhill’s gorgeous novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon was narrowing it down to just four quotes. What a rich and wonderful book. (It was this year’s Newbery Medal winner!) I’m so enjoying writing the Arrow guides. It’s a pleasure to choose passages from someone else’s work and dive deep into the writing, exploring language and craft. This week I’ll be working on the November issue, Johnny Tremain.
Other Arrow issues I have written:
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
This year’s Arrow guides include a fantastic new feature: Book Club Party School by Mary Hanna Wilson. Personally, I think Mary is a party genius, and I’m always excited to see what fun celebration ideas she comes up with for the books I’m writing about.
Today begins the two-week public nominations period for the 2017 Cybils Awards. Please visit the Cybils blog to find out how to submit your favorite children’s and YA books of the past year for consideration!
Now that I have finished radiation treatments and am slowly beginning to feel a bit more like my old self (for chunks of the day, at least), I’m looking forward to sharing regular weekly posts and monthly live chats with my Patreon subscribers. I began the Patreon to help pay medical bills and to support this dear old blog. If you’re interested in subscribing for $1 or more per month, click here. (And thanks!)
Become a Patron!
Okay, first things first! Here’s the link to my Brave Writer Retreat Resources page that I mentioned in the Periscope I just finished. I’m still adding links and books to this page—things that came up in the course of our discussions at the BW Retreat. For some reason the comments are broken on it, but you can leave questions here on the blog, or ping me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
I just finished a scope on the glorious time I had at the retreat, which you can view here: Popping on Periscope after a long hiatus and invigorating Brave Writer Retreat. I’m listening to the replay right now and it seems to be a bit spotty—some gaps in the recording here and there? Not sure what’s up with that. But you’ll get the gist. 🙂 And as usual we veered down a lot of rabbit trails. Scrivener, Hobonichi, Gotham Adventures, loads of things.
After SDCC, I’ll get myself back into a regular Periscope habit (and I think it’ll be fun to do some scoping from Comic-Con itself!). So many good topics and questions came up during the retreat, things like building habits and read-aloud strategies and comics suggestions and “towooshuns”—tons of juicy stuff I’d like to address both here and on Periscope. So stay tuned for that. I’ve returned from Cincinnati rejuvenated and eager to talk more about Tidal Homeschooling and comics and kidlit and habits and, oh, everything!
Things I mentioned in the ‘scope:
Scott’s Gotham Adventures books
Hobonichi Cousin (my planner)
Wild Simplicity Daybook (here’s a post I wrote about it)
Midori Traveler’s Notebook (featured in my Planner Love post)