Saturday, April 3, 2010

Artists' Adventures with Mountaintop Mary

Mrs. Mary (Jack’s GED teacher, and not to be confused with Mountaintop Mary) is so excited about Jack’s book being published that she’s taken to spreading my name to all her friends who have work that she feels really should be published. This lead to a call the day after I met Mrs. Mary from a woman named Nancy. Nancy is an author and illustrator, and Mrs. Mary wanted me to meet her “right away.” One thing about dealing with matriarchs is that they don’t take kindly to denial or dilly-dallying when there’s important work to be done.

I had tried to get to Nancy’s the day I got her call, but ended up on a sightseeing tour to Townsend instead. I had never been to Lenoir City or to the Cross-Eyed Cricket Campground before, and our GPS was in Richard’s Bronco II. It’s dangerous for me to drive in unknown territory when I’m in my creative zone because my analytical self stays behind; and the prospect of meeting a talented artist always sends me into La-La Land, or Townsend Tennessee, as the case may be. I had a lovely drive along the Little River, but I finally returned home, determined to meet Nancy the next day.

I had been meaning to check in with Mountaintop Mary regarding the resolution to the problems she’d been having with scanning my and Jack’s work, and I also thought it would be fun for us to take a trek together, in what my friend, Girl Reporter Susan, calls Lucy/Ethel style. She agreed, so we set out a little before lunch yesterday.

Forsythia! Quince! Daffodils! Easter! Spring is happening in the holler even if it’s still too wet to plow. I wouldn’t have known the name of the magnificent magenta blooms next to our spring-fed creek if I hadn’t been with Mountaintop Mary yesterday. I had been calling it weigela until Mary and I got to telling tales of what’s blooming in our back yards. Mary’s place is atop a mountain, and her bushes blooming still hasn’t begun. I wonder if even a couple of hundred feet of altitude change can affect what’s in bloom and when.

Our first stop was at Donna’s Old Town Café in Madisonville. They always have good food and I wanted Mary to meet the proprietress of this successful mother/daughter business. I was able to recruit Donna’s daughter for teaching kids’ cooking classes and promoting our upcoming Coker Creek Cooking Classes. I also scored some additional bagitudes (handbags with attitude) for my granddaughters. It’s never too early to start having them act out their individuality.

We spent a lot of time going down what Mary calls bunny trails, both literally and verbally, before we finally found Nancy, but was it ever worth it when we got there! What a talented woman! She’s written scores of poetry pieces and illustrated innumerable of her stories. She also showed us a method she’s found for making resplendent reproductions of her water colors – on her home computer and printer.

I’m now chomping at the bit to get our next New Orleans trip behind us so that Nancy and I can get her poetry anthology to the presses.

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