The Highlights Foundation, nestled in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains, is a special place where writers and illustrators of all shapes and sizes and experience levels come together to learn, share, and be inspired. When you turn into the driveway and make your way to The Barn, you can feel the energy. It’s almost magical.
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a workshop at Highlights. Most of the guests are housed in individual cabins, but this time my room was in the Lodge – a larger building with its own unique charm. There is a great room with comfortable couches, a kitchen area, and writing desks that opens up to a wide porch with rocking chairs. There are about ten guest rooms, and it is the custom of the staff to attach a sign to the door of the cabin or room announcing the name of the guest. After locating my room, I continued down the hall to see who else was there. I think my heart literally skipped a beat when I got to the last two doors. On one side of the hall – Rebecca Stead; on the other – Wendy Mass. Suddenly, I was once again sitting with a group of fifth graders reading When you Reach Me and 11 Birthdays. Instinctively, I put my hand on each door, willing that the creative spirit and talent of these two wonderful authors could somehow transfer to me.
Rebecca and Wendy were not part of my workshop (which, by the way, had its own lineup of superstars). They had come to spend time on their writing and be inspired, just like the rest of us. I did have the opportunity to speak briefly with Wendy later in the evening, but I only got a glimpse of Rebecca at breakfast before they both headed home.
Authors are my rock stars, and that’s the way it is at The Barn – you never know who you might run into.