Vermont College

I've just returned home from Vermont College of Fine Arts where I teach in the Writing for Children and Young Adults. We had a fantastic residency. It's so intense, it's like a writing boot camp. We go from early morning until way after dinner with lectures and readings and group workshops and individual meetings between students and advisers.
 This time I did yoga (classes almost every day) and I managed to get there (7 am!) six or seven times, so I felt like I had a yoga retreat as well. But sleep? Not so much.

Kathi Appelt and I did back to back lectures. I led off with writing picture book biographies, discussing the brilliant craft moves in four of my favorite picture book bios. I couldn't resist talking about the dance between images and text, and how to save "scrap" for the upcoming illustrator while researching. I unplugged my PowerPoint and Kathi plugged in, rolling with her lecture on autobiography and memoir, and how facts and feelings play into them. It was a great saturation in the whole genre with both of us coming at it from different angles. Kathi is pure inspiration.

Residency is a time of taking in more than you ever thought you could, a bittersweet time of letting go of old teacher-student relationships and starting new ones. It's a time of risk-taking, and falling or leaping off cliffs and flying, as the graduating class of Wingbuilders can attest.

Here are the last couple students making it to a reading, just at that moment when it is getting dark but you can still take a photograph. And yeah, I was the very last one there, or I couldn't have taken this shot!