Three months from today….

Imagine a catalog filled with courses you’d love to take.  The courses take place in your favorite part of the country.  The only problem?  You can only take one course at a time.  So how do you decide?  Well, I had that question every since I first opened a catalog from the John C. Campbell Folk School.  I wanted to learn it all.  So what did I do?  Looked for a way I could stay there longer than one week, of course.

Three months from today I will officially start my volunteer position at the John C. Campbell Folk School.   If you come take a class while I’m there, you’ll find me with a name tag indicating my position as “Student Host.”  At your Sunday afternoon orientation session, I’ll introduce myself and tell you I’m your after-hours support person.  Locked out of your room?  You call me.  Feeling ill? You call me.  Or my co-host (thankfully, there are two of us!).  If you’re an early riser, you can join me for a morning walk before breakfast each morning.  When the bell rings to signal meal time, you may find me at your table eager to hear your story.  If you’re going to participate in evening activities and you arrive a little early, you’ll find me setting up for them.  You may even see me in your class – because in exchange for my duties as Host, I get a free class every week.  For fifteen weeks.  Yup.  I get to take fifteen classes.

Here’s the thing: picking fifteen classes isn’t much easier than picking one.  I’m one of those people that will try almost anything, so every class looks interesting.   But there’s a catch that actually makes it a little easier to decide.  I get three “Silver Bullets” – three classes that I can pick today and be guaranteed my spot.  For the other twelve weeks, I make my request a few days before the class starts.  If there’s an opening, I’m in.  If the class is filled with paying students, I have to pick another.

Since the day I opened the catalog, I wanted to try blacksmithing.  So that will be my first Silver Bullet.  I’ve taken two writing classes at JCCFS and thoroughly loved each one, so I think my second Bullet will be another writing class.  The third?  Oh dear…such a hard decision.  But I’ll keep you posted:)

A Week Off

I am happy to report that there are still places in the US that have no cell phone coverage.  And even happier to report that I am sitting in one of them.

Back porch dining on the Hiwassee River

I’m currently in a log house on the Hiwassee River in Hayesville, North Carolina.  For an entire week, no less.  The idea for renting this place came from a friend from my first writing class at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  Four of us bonded quite nicely in that class.  We started an on-line writing group, had a reunion at JCCFS last March, and this week find ourselves together again with the sole purpose of writing.

Here’s the nice thing about going away for a week to write with three retired women over the age of 65: if you don’t want to write, you don’t have to.  Actually, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.  The retired have a perspective on life that fits quite nicely with mine.

Lest you think I’m stuck in some place with three crotchety old women, let me point out that in the past year one of them got a tatoo on the back of her hand (it’s her first – she’s 69).  Another claims to be a bit behind the times when it comes to technology, but has with her 1) a Kindle 2) an iPad and 3) a Nintendo DS – and she’s 79.  And there is no shortage of talk about sex.  I find the topic can bring insight and laughter no matter what the age of the women.

Yesterday, we spent a few hours at the home of our first writing teacher who has an adorable place up on a hill in the woods.  Then, we had one of the best dinners I’ve ever eaten.  If you’re ever in Western NC, you MUST try the Copper Door.  Food that melts in your mouth.  Food that, with every bite, makes you close your eyes and moan in ecstasy.  I’ve read that some things are better than sex.  This food comes close.  We knew we were in the right place when we found they serve a wine called Writer’s Block.  And then there’s the service.  Imagine a very good looking older man with a deep smooth voice and bedeviling smile meeting your every need.  The parallels between food and sex are many….

And to start the whole week out on the right foot, I got a sunburn on my nose on Sunday – isn’t that just splendid?  (As only someone who spent this past winter in the Northeast can say.)

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.  I wish all of you the opportunity to get away for week.  Not just take a trip – but to a place with no cell phone coverage (and only one wired internet connection).   And if you spent the winter in the northeast, you deserve it this year more than ever!