I had a blast in Carbondale last week! I have lots of pics from my trip, so I"ll divide this into two entries-- this one will focus on the Crystal River visit, and then, in a few days, I'll post the middle schools visit pics.
So, I have to admit that when we scheduled the visit for the third week in November, I was pretty nervous I'd have a long, terrible drive in a blizzard, since that's not uncommon in the mountains of Colorado this time of year.
But it was a perfect and breath-takingly beautiful four-hour drive there. Sunny and so warm I was wearing jeans and a tank top and even turned on the AC for parts! I listened to a Lila Downs CD over and over and relished the time to just sit and let my mind wander wherever it wanted to go. I felt grateful to be living in this gorgeous state.
I stayed at a very cool strawbale house in downtown Carbondale with a very cool family.
It made me want to live in a strawbale house. There are real bundles of straw in the walls-- well insulating and energy efficient and green-- and it just gave me a good feeling.
I spent Wednesday at Crystal River Elementary, where we focused on a story I had published in Cricket Mag a few years ago called Drops of Wax. It takes place about 70 years ago and it's about a friendship between a Gypsy girl and a Mixtec girl, with fortune-telling and waking from the dead and magical healing powers. It was inspired by some real-life tales told to me by my Mixtec curandera friend Maria Chiquita.
Two groups of fourth grade girls did fabulous performances of the story for each of the grades.
This was the first time I'd seen it acted out, and I loved it! I talked for a bit about my writing process and journey, and did a couple writing workshops.
There were lots of Spanish-speaking kids in the school, which always makes visits extra-exciting for me. They have all kinds of interesting personal connections with my stories. All the students came up with super-creative stories of their own during the workshops-- we did plenty of writing and laughing together.
Thanks, Carbondale, for a very warm welcome to your town! It seems like everyone knows everyone (and they all have good things to say about each other). Everything seems to be in walking distance-- the schools, library, restaurants, neighborhoods-- which I loved. I'll treasure the memory of this trip!
Be sure to check back next week to hear about the visits with Carbondale middle schools.