I’m back from an amazing week spent with about fifteen children’s book creators in northern England. Other guests at the inn sometimes pondered us as we wrote by fireplaces. “They’re here to be inspired,” I heard one tell another, and that happened. How could we not with views like this?
I made new friends and got to know some better, like my roommate, Amy Gordon, whose pencil scratched and eraser scrubbed as I click-clacked on my computer. I was so thankful to see old friends. What a thrill it was to hug dear Amy Greenfield in the country where she now lives.
Some of us took some short trips in the afternoon. My favorite was to Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth wrote. Here’s view from the hill behind, where we saw daffodils bloom and heard British robins sing – “Oh, like the one in Secret Garden,” someone said.
The cottage seemed quite dark and small inside, considering all the children and guests who were often there. I could better understand the long walks William and his sister, Dorothy, loved. We got to see William Wordsworth’s skates and his friend Samuel Coleridge’s opium scales. Beautiful old diaries and drafts of poems were displayed in the Wordsworth museum next door.
Here’s a photo from Castlerigg, a stone circle made about four thousand years ago:
Mostly I wrote and took walks. Moss-covered stonewalls, and daffodils were steps away from the inn:
Here’s a view with gorse:
After spending much of the day watching sheep graze, I was happy to come upon one up close and personal.
Two writers led amazing workshops, one of which led me deeper into the main character in my novel, and the other toward a foray into picture books. I found the little boy under my pen turn into a hedgehog and his mom into Mum when I wrote a picture book text, which of course still needs work, in a week. That was a first. Then a text that has been, more typically, coming in and out of drawers for years, took a turn that I think may set it apart enough to find a home. We will see. I guess I brought a little extra hope back, too.