No place like home

Perhaps you have been thinking that the Green mountains of Vermont had swallowed me up in their morning mist and starry nights. It is not so. When the VCFA residency ended I drove back to my parent’s home in south central Pennsylvania, packed my older son I. for his first sleep away camp experience and then drove him three and a half hours to northern Pennsylvania where the camp is located. On the way, largish-son, smallish-son and I met up with my hubby and camped. (For those of you who don’t know, Hubby is away with the Navy which is one reason I am at the parent’s place.It had been three weeks since we had seen one another.) Now smallish son and I are packing up as much of our belongings as will fit in the minivan, and I am snatching bits of time for reading and writing assignments. (Three books down and one critical essay started as well as some important character discovery work)

Come Thursday we will get back in the van and travel back to the sleep away camp, pick up largish-son and drive to Newport, RI where we will see hubby again. Twice in two weeks, not bad. When the renters move out of our Maine house and we can move back in… I will have a home. And my screen porch. And my kitchen.

Oh, how I miss my kitchen. This kitchen will be the site of many a potluck in my new and improved Maine life. You see it took leaving to realize how much I missed my Maine friends.

Just click your heels together and say, "There’s no place like home…"

I wish it was that easy. Instead, moving (on our own, piece by piece, storing stuff in my parent’s barn and basement that we will have to come pick up later in the fall) has been a big pain in the tuchas! Anyway,  I’ve resolved to have monthly potluck dinners and whoever can come is welcomed! Bring a dish to pass and if you want, bring a board game that your chidren like to play or we can herd them outside to play in the driveway. Save the date– Saturday, August 22nd. (I assume I’ll be home by then, you might have to unpack a box if you come though.) You are welcome to arrive anytime past 2 but dinner won’t start till between 4 and 6 when others arrive. If you think you can come and you’d like details, send me message through Live Journal or Facebook. Hope to see you then.

Good-bye grads

Big party night here in Montpelier, Vermont. The fourth semester students throw a themed party for the graduating students. The theme– Hawaii. I can’t imagine the end of the tunnel, as I have just started to travel this road but the community here is such that I am extremely happy for my new friends who are moving on in their journey. The alumni who visited this weekend have also been kind. I know quite a few people  from SCBWI-NE so it is nice connect without having to wait from next spring’s conference. Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Sally Reilly, Julie Berry, Martha Caldero, Sarah Aronson,   and Anindita  were here too. Anindita is busy already on plans for next year. (By the way the CFP is up on the website if you are interested in presenting in 2010, due date September 15)

My biggest epiphany this week is that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I came to the program thinking that I knew how to write and read and this week has shown me how much I have to learn. The lectures were certainly helpful for me and I took something from each. The workshops, though, were crucial and most educational. Certainly it is important when someone gives me feedback but it was listening to co-workshopers critique another person’s work that was most helpful and accessible. They unveiled the psychic distance, POV issues, flat characterization, etc. in the writing we analyzed. I have a lot to work on this semester, that’s for sure.


Okay, I haven’t done one of these in a long time but since it is dark and my roommate is sleeping and I can’t read, I’m going to fill it out. Just for giggles. If you want to be tagged you are. If not, the world is not going to fall apart because you don’t fill this out. In fact, your day will probably be better if you just turn off your internet browser right now and go grab a good book, liike Grace Lin’s new book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

 Rule #1:
If you open this you take it. (copy and paste into your notes)

Rule #2:
You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages you and asks.

Rule #3:
Tag 15 people.

1. You hung out with? Melanie
2. You texted? Chris
3. You were in a car with? Mark, Caroline, Sue, Melanie, Helen, Terry 
4. Went to the movies with?Mark, Caroline, Sue, Melanie, Helen, Terry, Sean, Lindsay, Katie, Sharry, Sam, Meg, Jess, Hannah, Laurie, Stacy, (I know I’m leaving someone off, sorry)
5. Person you went to shop with? Isaac and Ethan
6. You talked on the phone? Isaac and Ethan
8. You hugged? Lisa

1. Sun or moon? Moon
2. Winter or Fall? Fall
3. Left or Right? right
4. Sunny or rainy? sunny
5. Where do you live? I think Maine but I’m not sure anymore.
6. Club or pub? Club if that means dancing.
7. Are there 1 or 2 people who you can always trust and rely on? yes
8. Do you want to get married? not again, nope
9. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? twirl
10. What time is it? 7:16 am
11. Are you afraid of commitment? no
12. What is your greatest hope/wish? That I am happy in my work and feel that I grow intellectually.
13. When’s the last time you cooked? maybe Mon. July 6th, hard to say
14. Current mood? peaceful

1. Kissed someone? no
2. Sang? no
3. Listened to music? no
4. Danced Crazy? no, but I should
5. Cried? no
6. Liked someone you can’t have?yes

25 FIRSTS …..
1.Who was your first prom date? John 
2. Who was your first roommate? Brianna
3. What alcoholic beverage did you drink when you got drunk the first time? warm beer
4. What was your first job? camp counselor
6. When did you go to your first funeral and viewing? middle school
7. Who was your first grade teacher? Mrs. Niedenfur
9. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? Italy
10. When you snuck out of your house for the first time? never
11. Who was your first best friend? Nyani Colon
12. Who was your first Best Friend in high school? Roxanna Hopps
13. Where was your first sleepover? Mike Learmonth’s
14. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? Mom
15. Who’s wedding were you in the first time you were a Bridesmaid or groomsman? never been in wedding
16. What’s the first thing you did when you got up this morning? pee, check email
17. What was the first concert you went to? James Taylor, DAR Constitution Hall
18. What was the last concert you went to? Garrison Keillor, Wolf Trap (does that count?)
19. First tattoo or piercing? 1981 ears
20. First celebrity crush? Anson Williams (Potsie, Happy Days)
21. Current celebrity crush? Matt Damon
22. First crush? sailing counselor at camp
23. Current crush? a school principal
24. First date? Star Wars w/ Keir
25. First time you tied your shoe laces? Can’t remember

Five names you go by:
1. Anna
2. Mommy
3. Mama
4. Dear
5. Get me

Three things you are wearing right now:
1. U of R tank top
2. under pants
3. blanket

Three things you want very badly at the moment:
1. a job that gives me room to do my mfa
2. intimacy with my husband 
3. snuggles from my children

Three people who will probably fill this out:
1. Mona
2. Val
3. Joyce

Two things you did last night:
1. Saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
2. Tried to create a bibliography with zotero and failed. 

Two things you ate today:
1. nothing yet
2. I guess water

Two people you last talked to on the phone:
1. Isaac
2. Mom

Three things you are going to do tomorrow:
1. workshop someone else’s writing
2. listen to lectures
3. read my work at a student reading time

Two longest car rides
1. Maine to Florida
2. DC to Florida

Favorite vacations:
1. St. John, USVI
2.Bar Harbor, ME

Favorite beverages:
1. Tea
2. Orange Juice
3. Milk

College Life Redo

So first of all, a  very happy birthday to my conference co-conspirator  . I hope you have an awesome day. If you come to VCFA for the alumni day I’ll see you there. If not, here is my family’s traditional birthday breakfast just for you. Enjoy! (I’m going to announce the CFP for 2010 at lecture today.)

You may have noticed the early hour of this posting. Sometimes writers get up early to savor the early morning peace before the chaos of the day begins. I just can’t sleep past 5 am here. Perhaps it is that we eat dinner at 5 pm or that I drink tea and wine before I go to bed, or that my honey is not here to snuggle, or that the bed is too small in my dorm room, or that mattress is not as good… whatever the issue, it is insanely frustrating. My bedtime doesn’t seem to matter. My bladder seems to rule the situation and then I can’t get back to sleep despite the sleeping mask and earplugs. Oh well, I suppose I’ll make it up when I get home or I’ll start savoring the early morning peace before the chaos.

By Anna Boll

I curl.
Head and toes
touching cool
cinder block.
the solidity
of you.

Five on Friday

1. Some people are seashore people, I love the mountains. I love to see the cloud shadows slide over the folds and peaks of the land. As I drove north through Vermont today I felt that I was painting with my eyes. In my imagination I was squeezing oil paint silky slipping out of the tube onto my glass palatte: greens, blues, and violets. I could imagine mixing the green and violets together to make those places where the land undulates into cool shadows and slapping the deep olive green of the pines onto the canvas with palette knife their prickly needles poking the colbalt of the sky. I am a mountain person.

2. Because I had a shorter drive today, I was able to tool around a little on my way to school. On the advice of I stopped at the Northshire Bookstore. I don’t write this very often but– OMG! Here are a couple of pics. Jessica and her staff of amazing children’s book sellers were just awesome. So helpful and welcoming. These are the places I dream of visiting as a published author.

3. I am happily moved into VCFA, my bed is made, my clothes hung up and my roommate, Melanie is wonderful. I’m not sure if it is luck of the draw or if there is some effort to match people according to backgrounds and interests but they scored on this one.

4. We just play 2 truths and a lie, can you tell which one is my lie? Put your answer in the comments. 

A. I taught Middle School for ten years.
B. I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maryland to Maine (but not like Governor Sanford.)
C. I ran for the Maine State Legislature.

5. We are headed out to watch Milo and Otis on the quad. I feel like such a coed.

On the road again…

 Yesterday I packed the car with clothes, books, my lap top, and a fan and hit the road headed for my first Vermont College residency. After a long day of driving I met up with  last night and he told me about his most recent contest to give away a copy of BUG BOY the winner of which was chosen by a horse race. Check out the race and Eric here. 

Today I move on to the second leg of my journey tooling through Vermont on my way to Montpelier. It is a sunshiny day here in North with comfortable temps and I’m eager to see what this chapter of my life brings. Wish me luck!

Reading Time

The past month I’ve spent reading and preparing for my first Vermont College Residency. Some of the reading is required, some suggested, and some is my own desire to read the books of faculty members so I know them better as I am placed with a faculty advisor for my first semester. I’ve also been reading and enjoying the worksheets (manuscripts) of my workshop group. I’m very excited to meet everyone and can’t wait to hear the conversation of fellow students or the guidance of our instructors.

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
Impossible, Nancy Werlin
The Postcards, Tony Abbott
Runt, Marion Dane Bauer
The Underneath, Kathi Appelt

…and because the movie Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince comes out in theatres this month, I read it aloud to I. who has finished books 2-5 on his own. 

There are a few more that I am trying to finish up this week:
Red Butterfly, Deborah Noyes
Criss Cross, Lynn Rae Perkins
Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything In It, Sundee Frazier
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Maryanne Wolf (non-fiction on how we read and how our brains change as humans have learned to read)