Of all the amazing people I met at the Southampton Writers’ Conference, the highlight for me, BY FAR, was seeing:
Yep. Sound of Music. Mary Poppins. Princess Diaries. That Julie Andrews! In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit the Sound of Music is my favorite movie OF ALL TIME. I come from a musical family and grew up with a bucket-load of cousins. We wrote plays and adapted musicals to perform at family gatherings at Grandma’s house in Austin, Texas. We often pretended to be the Von Trapp family singers.
Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton read from their new poetry anthology: Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. Made me fall in love with poetry again. I kept thinking of the poetry book from my childhood sitting on my bookshelf STILL after all these years, A Treasure Chest of Poetry. Mother gave it to me WAY back forever ago when I was in 3rd grade. The pages are dog-eared. Listening to Emma and her mother on stage brought back so many memories of times my mother read aloud to me. She cherished books, and so do I.
Maybe that’s why I write.
This was my first experience at the Stony Brook Southampton conference. The program offered MUCH more than writer’s cramp — though I have the aching wrist to prove they’ve put us to work. (I finally located all the outlets to plug in my computer. Ahhhh.)
This conference exposed us to the art and creators of fiction in its many delightful forms: books, illustrations, TV shows, drama, poetry, music.
Allow me to name drop:
My instructor for the conference. Cindy edited childrens’ trade book for over 20 years at Bantam Books for Young Readers, Four Winds Press, and Dial Books for Young Readers. She edited the 2001 Newbery Medal winner, A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck; and wrote a middle-grade fantasy novel, The Genie in the Book, under her married name, Cindy Trumbore.
Emmy award winning writer, director and creator who worked with legendary Jim Henson, and created a number of successful kid’s shows, including Clarissa, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Doug, and more. Currently he’s working on PBSKids series It’s a Big Big World.
We visited Mitchell Kriegman’s studio, met with his team of magicians, and watched filming for the Purple Berry episode. I sang the Purple Berry song the rest of the day. Yes, it’s still stuck in my head, painting it berry-colored purple from the inside out.
Best-selling children’s book author, freelance editor, speaker, arts educator, and daughter of Julie Andrews! She’s the Co-Founder of the Bay Street Theatre. She co-authored 16 books for children and young adults, making it to the NY Times Bestseller list four times. Her latest book is Raising Bookworms.
Award-winning author of In My Mother’s House, How I Found the Strong, Cashay, and When I Crossed No-Bob. We can look forward to new work coming out in 2010 for Houghton Mifflin.
Author of The Dulcimer Boy, A Rat’s Tale, The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book, Terpin, and 1997 National Book Award finalist, Mean Margaret.
Author, cartoonist, and illustrator. You’ve seen his work in the The New Yorker and National Lampoon. His books: Harry, the Fat Bear Spy, Harry and the Sea Serpent, Harry and the Snow Melting Ray, and Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night.
Along with the many panel discussions and artist presenations, we enjoyed a wonderful theater reading by most of the original cast of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley.
Here are a few iPhone pics of our adventures in Southampton.
Inspired by the Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, I leave you with a poem I loved as a child:
A Name in the Sand by Hannah Flagg Gould
Alone I walked the ocean strand;
A pearly shell was is my hand;
I stooped and wrote upon the sand
My name — the year — the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast;
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.
And so, methought, ’twill shortly be
With every mark on earth from me:
A wave of dark oblivion’s sea
Will sweep across the place
Where I have trod the sandy shore
Of time, and been, to be no more,
Of me — my day — the name I bore,
To leave nor track nor trace.
And yet, with Him who counts the sands
And hold the waters in His hands,
I know a lasting record stands
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought,
Of all this thinking soul has thought,
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.