Before I take a ride back to Indiana, let me first take a moment to RAVE about the work of Alan Cummings, known for his Cabaret, his work on the Good Wife as Eli Gold and now MACBETH. Last night I dragged Tuvia with me on a sweltering Monday night to live through a night of Macbeth, just one more time. Yes it was hot outside and inside as well. What happened to the AC? Maybe, it just added to the power of play.
WOW! A one man Macbeth! I had to see it and like the All Write 2013, I was taken beyond my expectations. I never took on the “Scottish Play” myself when I was directing high school theater, but it was on the list- a Star Wars version. Alan Cummings made this monster his own and took us to a new place with a play that we know well. His setting fit perfectly, in a psychiatric ward complete with TV screens and guards. I hope there’s a way that it can be recorded for everyone who can’t get to New York City in the next few weeks. A true Tour De Force. I could see it again and again. I think once was enough for Tuvia. Shakespeare’s words are lost for him but he did love watching Alan. It’s the morning after and I’m still with Lady Macbeth descending into her bath, naked. Later her descent into madness, his descent into evil will remain with me.
Okay… I could say a lot more about this production and maybe I will somewhere else, but I need to marshal my energy and do some reflecting on my thrilling adventures in Warsaw, Indiana, okay?
So I was ready for this adventure. My Hudson Valley Writing Project was picking up the tab (YES!) and I was set for hours of travel without the convenience of a direct flight. Yep, I am very spoiled living so close to Newark Liberty Airport, a hub of United and direct flights everywhere. Okay enough complaining.
I arrived at the Fort Wayne airport met by a very sweet driver who was waiting for me and a trio of education superstars: Carl Anderson, Jeff Anderson(no relation) and Terry Thompson. Can you imagine the conversations in that van? I was right in the middle of Carl and Jeff and it was non-stop talk. Sadly, I learned more of the details of the recent settlement agreed to by the powers-that-be for teacher assessments designed for the NYC teachers. UGH! If you haven’t heard, I don’t want to bring you down now right now.
So we arrived and Mindy was on hand to give us a minute to get our rooms, wash our faces and join her for a ride to the opening dinner arranged by Ruth. A room filled with SLICERS and interested teachers. No we didn’t break into a Slicing prompt, but we did take the time to introduce ourselves and I was overwhelmed, trying to recognize people that I’ve been writing with for years now, just from their blog pics. Yes, I was overwhelmed as I shoveled down my salmon as everyone else was already on their last courses.
I sat across from Linda and close to Elsie, two Slicer buds who I counted on throughout the past year of mourning my close friend Eileen and my mom. Every day I posted an entry they were right there with a comment. And I would be remiss if I didn’t include Tara into that trio. Three friends who always had something wonderful to leave me with. Tara and I live close by and we do meet for coffee, dinner and movies. It felt complete to spend quality time with Linda and Elsie throughout this intense three days, even though by 9PM I was ready to get back to my room, unpack a bit and change into PJs.
The next morning we were up early and picked up by Ruth with a small group of Slicers, Ramona and Nanc,for a quickie breakfast and then off to the opening of the conference. Let the photo ops begin:
I was starting to feel comfortable and we were off with a shot of Starbucks and a bit of muffin. Our conference space was a gorgeous school, with students still engaged in the last days of the year as we moved from space to space. The auditorium was filled with 650 teachers as Carl Anderson, my bus bud, kicked off the conference. Just was he was feeling his mojo and rolling along: FIRE ALARM and we headed outside and the conversations continued with Deb, Christy and Tammy and when we returned Carl finished up and we were off to explore ideas with a wonderful variety of teacher leaders.
I learned throughout the next 48 hours from Jeff A.,Jennifer Serravallo, Ruth Ayers and her partner DEB, Chris Lehman, even though I realized that there’s another Chris Lehmann that I had thought would be there. Oh well, there’s two great Chris Lehmans.
I wasn’t expecting to buy any new books but then, not everyone is on Amazon’s Kindle section so, yes, I added to my library, like everyone else :) And as we finished our dinner with Kate Messner and Mary Helen, my ace in the hole, encouraged me to pick up one of Kate’s books from my favorite 6-year-old Mia. On Saturday, at our family barbecue she and her brother walked in reading books and I had one for her, autographed by Kate with a picture of us and the book. She was blown away!
And last but not least let me send a Shout Out to my Slicer bud, Mary Helen who offered me peace of mind when I was figuring out how I would get back to the airport on time. She had her charming son and his cousin drop me off at the airport and I could then enjoy her company and our Slicer group for one last evening of fun and one last day of conference learning.
I did love being with all these Slicers, face-to-face. We seemed to pick up from where we left off from our online writing community . Yes, there is power in sharing writing in cyberspace.. KUDOS again to Two Writing Teachers. Stacey, we missed you!
Next year? Who’s coming???