Friday, June 13, 2008

MY WEEK IN TENNESSEE: How one thing leads to another…

In the spring of ’06, my publicist gave a copy of BLUE to Jan Broadfoot.

Next thing I knew, Jan invited me to participate in the North Carolina Experience at Broadfoot’s of Wendell.

At the North Carolina Experience I met Carol Crane who read and reviewed BLUE.

Next other thing I knew, Carol Crane invited me to speak at MidSouth Reading and Writing Institute in Birmingham.

In Birmingham, the amazing coordinator, Maryann Manning bought 5 copies of my book, handed them back to me and said, “Pick five people to give these to.”

Feeling a bit shy, I simply gave them to the five people closest to me at dinner.

Two of the five were Beverly Barnes and Bobbie Solley of Middle Tennessee State University.

Bobbie Solley asked if I’d be interested in speaking at a Youth Writer Camp at MTSU in 2008.

Do you think I said “no”?

Well, NO!

That is how I came to spend 4 days working with the National Writing Project which at MTSU includes professional training for teachers and a cluster of 2 week Youth Writer’s Camps.

Last summer when I was at the MidSouth institute, I was a bit intimidated by Bobbie and her fellow academics. Hanging with them this week has convinced me what wonderful human beings they are.

How about a few introductions?

First there is this view from my room in Bobbie’s home. In addition to that lovely pool, Bobbie has a vividly green thumb.

(How could I not love a fellow gardener?)

Angela, director of the Youth Writer Camps toted me from one county to the next to connect with campers and made sure I had appropriate amounts of food along the way!

Marcy met me at the airport in the first place and put me at ease within seconds. She's in this pic - in the way back - honest she is. You just can't see her. Too bad because she's cute and fun and a fabulous storyteller too. The folks in this pic are just a few of the many fabulous ones in TN.

Such as, the campers! They blew me away with their writing skills.

To my fellow authors, I am warning you – there is some seriously stiff competition nipping at our heels.

The camp teachers? I’m not sure where they got so much energy so soon after the close of their school year. But they were up for the task of motivating kids to write.

I could so enjoy sitting at their feet and practicing all their techniques.

Alas! There wasn’t time for that. Time goes so quickly. One thing leads to another. And after a trip to the airport and a flight that was marred by a mechanical delay, I am home with my good hubby, staring at the usual unwritten list of a zillion things to do.

And I just keep thinking about Tennessee - fantasizing about all this week could lead to…


  1. WHOAAA!!! The power of connections and meeting new people. Very exciting stuff! And thanks for all the intro's, links, and photo's - neat stuff.

  2. Wow! How fabulous is that journey?! Thanks for sharing all of it with us. You are such an inspiration, Joyce.

  3. How awesome! I can't wait to see the campers tomorrow and tell them about your blog! You're the BEST!
    What great words of encouragement for the awesome young authors!