Sunday, September 29, 2013
I'm back from a delightful weekend in Steamboat Springs, a picturesque mountain town about a three-and-a-half-hour's drive from Boulder. I was invited to take part in "Book Feast 2013," organized by the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat, and of course I jumped at the chance to have an excuse for a jaunt to Steamboat just as the aspen were beginning to turn.
Book Feast was a day filled with presentations by children's book authors and storytellers, including Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins who writes nonfiction books about animals illustrated with his stunning collage art, picture book author Kathleen Pelley whose lilting Scottish accent is a treat for the ears, and historical fiction writer Jeannie Mobley who just won the Colorado Book Award for her debut novel, Katerina's Wish (beating out my own Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters, I must note, but I liked her enormously anyway!). I gave a talk first thing in the morning to an auditorium of appreciative kids and parents and led a creative writing workshop (on writing dialogue) in the afternoon. The day was structured so that I got to hear all the other presenters and also had a chance to sign lots of books.
To make the weekend even more fun, my friend Rowan came with me, so the trip doubled as professional opportunity and girlfriend getaway. Rowan packed an exquisite little picnic for us to eat on the drive, where we actually drove past busy snow plows on Muddy Pass (which should be renamed Icy Pass) as we approached Steamboat. She spent Saturday exploring the town while I enjoyed Book Feast, and then we met up for dinner and cozy reading time in our hotel. This morning we hiked up to stunning Fish Creek Falls and then took our time driving home, with plenty of stops to photograph golden foliage.
As I transition toward leaving my university job at the end of this academic year to concentrate on my writing career, I'm going to have less discretionary income, so I'm going to have to find more ways to double my fun as I did this past weekend, piggybacking an outing with a dear friend on top of an author visit, finding new ways to wring a little more happiness from existing resources. This weekend was good practice for blending work and play for a future of frugal contentment.