Julia Hogan, Peter LaBerge, Jamie-Lee Josselyn: at home at Penn

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm kinda tired and I'm kinda cold, but I'm not settling down on the couch beneath a blanket with my mug of warm apple cider and my memoir of the week before I post this photograph, taken at the end of a Saturday at Penn.

The highlights: Sharing the campus with my brother, sister-in-law, and super smart nephew Owen. Buying my beautiful son a quick lunch, a hot chocolate, and two party-colored pretzels. Meeting Julia Elizabeth Hogan and Peter LaBerge of National YoungArts Foundation fame for a quickish tour, a too-short conversation, and some hummus. Getting to know Julia's mom (who took this expert photo at the door to the building where I currently teach) and dad, despite the small radial arrangements in the restaurant.

And: Seeing Jamie-Lee Josselyn, associate director of recruitment and instructor in the creative writing program at Penn, at work at the Kelly Writers House. Jamie-Lee has a plan for Penn, and that plan is simply this: Let the best young writers in the world know about this university of ours, about this unique creation that is Kelly Writers House, about the gathering of word-hungry souls around the hearth. Creative, loving, persistent, Jamie-Lee crisscrosses the country, tells students the truth, and brings them to the campus for a look see. She'll even come to Manayunk on a wet day to meet the teen writers I pull together for a workshop and festival; she'll stay and chat. It's because of Jamie-Lee's efforts that I had the pleasure of seeing Julia and Peter again today. It's because of her that I have brilliant young writers entering my classroom.

To the day. To the snow that wants to fall. To the mug of cider I have earned and the book that I will read.

To continuity and friendship.

Oh, and by the way, Miss Mary Lee Adler: We did some talking about you, oh yes we did. We all love you. Hugely.

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