Just finished a week on the road. First off I delivered a car and a trailer loaded with furniture down to Sara’s daughter in the DC area. I am still impressed with the audacity of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission – how they can collect tolls with straight faces is beyond me. Like Sisyphus – their work is never done. The entire length of the PA turnpike is dotted with construction equipment, ghost town rest areas, giant concrete barriers stacked into time sapping mazes and speed traps. There’s a sign somewhere along the infuriating length of roadway declaring that the stretch of road is “America’s First Super Highway.” To which I can only reply, “Yins are out of your minds!”
After exiting the pay as you go obstacle course in Breezewood – that fast food and motel Mecca, we headed south into Virginia to deliver the loot and spend a couple days with Sara’s daughter, son-in-law and trio of boys. Shoes were bought, dinners were grilled, trampolines assembled, runs ensued, biking the old Dominion trail and a yellow jacket attack were highlights of this visit.
Thursday we headed into the city – the city being Washington DC – or more accurately Alexandria to have dinner with a friend and fellow author Sandra Whitaker who has just taken the job of literacy coordinator for all of the Department of Defense schools around the world! Not too ambitious an undertaking – do ya think?
Then we drove up to Millersville PA to speak at the Pennsylvania Writing Institute. The Writing Institute is a national project that believes in order to teach writing effectively in the classroom teachers should be writers themselves. So a whole lot of the emphasis of the program is on developing the teachers as writers so that they may share their experience as practitioners with their students rather than lecturers, a little goose / gander action.
We love these gigs. Sara and I have come into this profession through a side door. Starting as writers and then becoming educators – so, while our paths may be a reflection to the teacher’s journeys the ground covered is essentially the same. We spoke at a Writers Project Institute in South Carolina earlier this year and while having a great time we were received really well. Same in Millersville PA – the group was attentive and ready to work even though it was the last day of their weeklong summer residency (one of the questions submitted on an index card at the end of the day was a request for more writing exercises!)
Doctors Donna and Kim proved to be wonderful hosts and even went the extra mile of being advocates for our foo foo dog Suzi when she was kicked out of the ballroom by some self important catering manager. We had the additional pleasure of seeing our good friends Will and Sue Mowery in attendance as well. So, even though the drive across the state leaves much to be desired the natives do seem to be friendly – except of course for that catering manager.