Saturday, March 12, 2016

A respite from the chaos

During the last few weeks, I've been a bit frazzled. We have a brand-new beautiful grandson who, along with his parents and two sisters, has stolen our hearts and planted them three hours away. We've started renting a place closer to them and listed our home on the market. We're downsizing like crazy, cleaning out closets, cupboards, the garage, the shed and giving away what we no longer need. We place unwanted items out by the road where they're scooped up for free, sometimes before we even walk down the driveway. Oodles of books have ended up at the Tunkhannock Library. Clothing and household donations went to the Salvation Army or Interfaith Friends, as did many of the vinyl records I couldn't sell on eBay. It's a long, tedious process, this downsizing. Each day brings its chore list. I dutifully check off finished tasks, but I'll admit I don't take much satisfaction in it. There's always more to be done, and it leaves little time to write or even think about writing. 
In the midst of this, I gladly set aside chunks of time to plan, prepare, and thoroughly enjoy the Readers Meeting Writers program at Tunkhannock Middle School. I'm ever so glad I did.

Thanks to Erica Rogler, Margie Young, Hildy Morgan, Sara Ergott, and the good folks at the Wyoming Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater, the debut of the three-week long program was well-received by students, faculty, and administration alike. 
But let's talk about those students! They were enthusiastic and engaged for all three two-hour after school sessions. They asked questions galore and offered opinions and ideas about topics ranging from bullying to being a hero. They spoke fondly of the story line and the characters in Risking Exposure, and voiced the same need for a sequel that I've heard from many other readers. All our activities, whether doing jumping jacks or making propaganda posters, were well-received. When asked how they thought the program might be improved for next year, they unanimously voted for more - more days, more chance to write their own work, more activities, more discussion, more, more, more! Wow. 

Such impressive young people. They treated one another with respect, listening, encouraging, waiting their turn with hands raised. There was none of the eye rolling and snide remarks often associated with kids that age. They showed sensitivity when discussing difficult topics, and remarkable insights into human nature's darkness and light. Those kids are a credit to their families, their school, and their community. They give me great hope for the future. 

I thank them for giving me those hours of respite in the midst of the endless chore lists and chaos of our upcoming move. I'll get back to work on the sequel soon, I promise.

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