the life all around me

Mostly photos today, with a little narration, to catch up the summer, and swing into fall.  We are about to make our annual trek to the beach. Remember last year's photos with one-word headings?
 There was the writing prompt idea at the end, with the daily headings of work, hope, fishing, honoring, weather, and morning. Photos for each day with a one-word caption.  I'm going to attempt that again this year. Want to do it with me? Take your camera with you, and at the end of each day, decide what one word you'll use to describe the day. You can turn it into a piece of personal narrative writing later, if you want, but for now, let the photos do the talking -- a visual storytelling. If you blog this, please send the link in comments, so we can all appreciate your handiwork... and storytelling.

 In the meantime... or until then....  this past weekend, I worked at the Decatur Book Festival, on a panel with Shelia Moses, presenting Countdown (that's our fabulous moderator, Vicky Alvear Shechter, in the foreground, and yeah, I'm just snappin' photos while Shelia talks):
We had such a nice crowd. If you look hard, you can pick out my Jim, Nancy Werlin, Elizabeth Dulemba, Nancy's husband, Jim, and in the row in front of them, good friends Frank and Mary Hamilton.

It's old home week at the DBF, since I live in Atlanta, and it's such a pleasure to work at a festival that doesn't require an airplane ride!
 I got to finally meet Alora Rose Plemmons! Her dad, Andy, is the media specialist at Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia, and we have stayed in touch ever since I visited Barrow a couple of years ago, and now -- Alora is in the world! Talk about life all around me... here it is, beginning again.

Alora waved and waved at me from the back of the tent, during my presentation. Then she promptly conked out. Thanks to Andy and Denise for bringing her to see me. My book One Wide Sky was meant for the Aloras of the world.

(And, while I'm at it, let me direct you to this fabulous YouTube video of Andy Plemmons receiving the Exemplary Elementary Library Program Award for the State of Georgia this year! The entire state of Georgia, y'all. Andy was also the 2010 Teacher of the Year for Barrow Elementary. Yay, Andy! And Yay, Barrow!)
We had two dinners with friends in Irene on DBF weekend, but I forgot to take photos of of the first one. Here's the second.

We also checked on the progress of The Square Pub, opening soon on the Square in Decatur:
Owners are Bob Rhein and a certain Jason Wiles, who happens to be my son. You can follow TSP's progress on Facebook, here. Let's friend them and watch how a first-class pub is constructed and opened (and then let's all go visit when they open!) Next DBF, it's a date, y'all. Here's Jason (right) and Bob, takin' a break:
Moving backwards, I realize I never showed y'all photos of the Suwanee Festival of Books at the end of August. Terry Kay delivered the keynote:
Don't we look melty? We were. It was so hot.
This little guy had the right idea:
Local Atlanta area teachers Kathy Schmidt and Suzanne Skeen (with Suzanne's husband). So good to see them again.
A keynote of a different kind:
Loved it.

Literacy Compass, in Norfolk, Virginia, at the beginning of August. This is the inimitable Carole McDonald with LC's Linda Kehm:
And look how looney we are at the end of the intense two days. Brod Bagert and Megan Sloan argue over who gets Countdown!
Love that we've got a bottle of hand sanitizer on the table... where did that come from? I loved working again with the good folks at Literacy Compass, loved working with Norfolk teachers, and loved meeting Megan for the first time -- what a smart, compassionate Seattle teacher. I love her new book, Into Writing. So smart and full of great insights and ideas. Also, she is a dynamite presenter.

I felt like I'd known Brod Bagert all my life. We exchanged stories about our mutual dear friendColeen Salley, which brought us both to tears.

Brod's presentations are funny, poignant, and particularly meaningful, which is so hard to pull off along with funny, but he makes it work beautifully because,  underneath the silliness lies a big heart and a passionate intellect. Can't wait to visit Brod and his wife, Debby, in New Orleans. Y'all leave the light on for me.
Last but never least, I made a quick overnight trip to Hickory, North Carolina this week, on the heels of DBF. I worked with teachers and education students who are going to be using Love, Ruby Lavender in their classrooms all year long, culminating in a marvelous celebration of story next April during "The Little Read," which is part of Lenoir-Rhyne University's visiting writers series. I'm right up there (on the poster, at least) with W.S. Merwyn. Ohmy.

I've got to brush up on my hula before next April!It looks as if there will be a luau on the lawn!
 Okay. I've kept you long enough. Time to pack. We go to Charleston in September because Jim's mother still lives on John's Island, his sister is in North Charleston, and Jim's birthday is September 10 -- tomorrow! We get a lot of celebrating in, in one week, cook a lot, sleep a lot, visit a lot, and do a whole lotta nuthin'. Last year we were on Folly Beach. This year we're renting a house on Sullivan's Island. I want to get to know Mount Pleasant.

I also want to get to know Sunny, in book two of the Sixties Trilogy, so I'm bringing her with me as well. Last year at beach time, I had just finished a draft of Countdown. This year I'm just discovering book two in a real way. I met with my editor at the Decatur Book Festival -- we had brunch on Sunday morning at Radial Cafe in Decatur. It was good to talk out the story with him -- now I'm inspired to see where all that good talking and thinking out loud takes us.

Happy September, all.


  1. What a wonderful post! I can't wait to share this with family. Have a wonderful time at the beach. I look forward to seeing the pictures and words. As always, we so enjoyed our time seeing you and hearing about your writing. Bravo!

  2. Hey, Andy! Congratulations on Barrow and your library program winning the Exemplary Library Program Award for the State of Georgia in 2010! I couldn't resist adding it to this post. I'm so impressed, and so proud. What a talented dad Alora has. :> xo

  3. Thanks for the shout-out for our media center at Barrow :-) I absolutely love what I do. Sharing stories with kids, exploring information, creating new information through projects.... There's never a dull moment. Thank you.

  4. Have a great time in Mt. Pleasant. Kiella's from all over the USA stay on the Isle of Palms every other year. This year all the folks who don't attend school are planning a Thanksgiving trip. Since that's about the first time I'll sit down between now and then we elected to fall in a pile at home.

  5. Wowee, Barb. Wish we might sometime be in the Charleston area at the same time! We'll have some fun for you! xo

  6. What an amazing Love, Ruby Lavender poster! I'd be gearing up for the luau right now if I were you.

    Hope you are having an amazing time in Charleston. Jillian and I thoroughly enjoyed most of our vacation there (a few moments were rough but make stories we can chuckle at now).


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