Back to School & Back to Work

Confession: Even though I’ve been writing full time for a couple years, it still feels a little strange not going back to school on the first day. Instead of smelling new pencils and seeing nervous middle school faces now, the start of school means a return to longer writing days for me. That’s most welcome after a summer that was full of busy days and wonder. Here’s a sampling of the July & August memories I’m bringing back to my quiet writing room…

Magical glass

 We spent a day in Montreal and checked out this amazing Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

If you live near Montreal or visiting any time soon, don’t miss it – it’s there through October 20th.

Secret stone houses

Camping on Lake Champlain’s Valcour Island was on my daughter’s summer wish list, and we’re so glad we found the perfect weekend for it. This island saw a pivotal Revolutionary War naval battle in 1776  and was the site of a short-lived utopian community in the late 1880s. These days, its bays are full of Canadian sailboats, but the island itself is riddle with hiking trails that still hold some surprises, including this abandoned stone house that we came upon in a clearing.

Ambitious snakes

Just as we were gathering our camping supplies on the rocky beach, getting ready to return to the mainland, we spotted this garter snake, struggling to eat a toad that was many times the size of its head.

Nature is pretty amazing sometimes.

Ancient Rome

This was the view from my home-office-away-from-home for a week in  August…

That’s the Roman Colosseum you see in the distance, the Flavian Amphitheater as it was known at the time, and it’s an important site in one of my upcoming books. It’s too early to say much more about the new project, other than that I have many pages of notes and many, many photos for inspiration now that I’m home writing again. More to come soon…

So happy back to school, everyone! If you’re a teacher or school library media specialist or student, I hope you’re having a great start to your new school year!