Writers and Artists in the Heart of New York, Part One

Sorry it took so long to post this, been pretty much out straight since coming back from Binghamton and parts thereabouts. So much to talk about, but let's take this a step at a time..

I had a wonderful time this past weekend in upstate New York. Everyone I met welcomed me with open arms, and lots of questions (especially the Seton students!). To recap as briefly as I can:

Thursday, I took the 3 hour drive to Troy to visit my son Andrew. Haven't seen him in a month and it was great to wrap him in a bear hug - twice - when I saw him. Delivered a bunch of critical supplies like a mini fridge and jelly beans. Kicked his butt in pool... OK, well, we each won a game. :-)

When he kicked me out so he could head to class, I drove another 2.5 hours to the small village of Lisle, NY, just outside of Binghamton. I have to say first, I almost wished the drive didn't end - even with the clouds and the occasional rain, I've never seen such a beautiful country. Rolling hills, farms and more farms and quaint small towns (yea, OK, I just used 'quaint' in a sentence, but couldn't think of a better word). Reminded me of Acadia National Park, only hundreds of miles long. Special thanks to Andy Palmer who was kind enough to put me up for three nights! Andy's an artist with one of the coolest houses in existence. He and I had a frighteningly lot in common on so many levels, and we instantly became friends. I'll miss him - and his moldy coffee and questionable butter. :-)

On Friday, I met with Kevin Lucia's (my overall host for the weekend and the reason I was there in the first place) Creative Writing class at Seton Catholic High School. I've been blogging with the students for the past couple weeks as they read and comment on their assigned work: Solomon's Grave. I also met with five other honors and AP English classes throughout the day. Special shout-out to everyone! I've included some photos. I had a really, really fun time talking with everyone, both during class and in the two and a half minutes between bells.

That night, Kevin had arranged with the local Barnes and Noble for a book signing of Solomon's Grave. Can't tell you how great it was to see the book on the table with the other, more-deserving works in the store. As per usual for a bookstore signing unless you're already a best-selling author, turnout was pretty low, but I still had a great time. The folks running the shop were terrific, and very attentive. Overall, though no books moved, I had fun. :-)

To be continued in Part Two, where our hero steps into one of the coolest churches in existence and one of the most enjoyable artist events he's seen in a long time, and he also eats lots of pasta... stay tuned...


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