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Around Aspen: Summer Words

Mary Eshbaugh HayesAspen Times Weekly
MEHAuthor-workshop leaders at the book-signing party at Explore Booksellers during Summer Words are Richard Bausch, Nic Pizzolatto, Jan Greenberg and Sue Miller.
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This summers Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival was titled Passage to India and featured a week of writing workshops, talks by Indian authors, and lectures by literary agents and editors. I took a workshop in writing for young readers given by Jan Greenberg, who lives and works in St. Louis but also has a second home in Aspen with her husband, art dealer Ron Greenberg. Jan is not only a successful author, she is a fabulous teacher. There were 11 in our workshop and we did writing exercises and critiqued one anothers manuscripts. In addition to the workshops, Summer Words included a festival with talks, lectures and even a musical evening with Aspen singer John Oates.The workshops and most meals were at The Gant (ours was at Aspen Square), while other events were at Belly Up, Explore Booksellers (which co-sponsored the week) and The Steak Pit. Summer Words is always one of the highlights of my summer.This summer is more than busy: The Aspen Antiques & Fine Arts Fair was held all this week (it closes July 14) at the Aspen Highlands. More than 40 antique and art and jewelry dealers from around the world participated.Then comes ArtCrush, the annual summer gala given by the Aspen Art Museum. It has become a three-day event, including wineCRUSH on July 30, an evening of top-flight wines and a gourmet dinner hosted by Amy and John Phelan; a previewCRUSH on July 31, which will feature a preview of live auction artwork at the Baldwin Gallery; and ArtCRUSH on Aug. 1, on the Art Museum grounds, which includes cocktails, silent auction, wine tasting, dinner and a live auction. There will even be an afterpartyCRUSH at Belly Up featuring ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again.It is such a small world my hometown newspaper in Geneseo, N.Y., recently ran an article about John Wesley Powell, the pioneer explorer of the Colorado River, relating how Powell was born on Sept. 23, 1834 in Mount Morris, N.Y. (a few miles from Geneseo) and then two years later moved with his family to Castile. His backyard in both Mount Morris and Castile was Letchworth Park, the Grand Canyon of the East. This canyon was a favorite hiking and picnic place for my family when I was growing up. According to the newspaper article, after the Civil War, Powell was the first white person to navigate the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. My college roommate and I bravely took the mule ride down the Grand Canyon when we first came out West in 1950. I didnt know, until this newspaper article, that Powell and I came from the same area of New York state.

And yet another small world. Because the Democratic National Convention will be held soon in Denver, I thought of this: About two years ago, Christopher Walling took me to a reception for Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean that was held by the Aspen Democrats at The Little Nell. Christopher introduced me to Howard, who stared at me and said, How long have you lived in Aspen? When I told him more than 50 years, he asked if I had a son named Clayton.

I said yes, and Howard then related how the year he was a ski bum in Aspen during the 1960s, he had met Clayt on the ski lift and they ended up skiing many Saturdays together during the winter. Clayt was 12 years old at the time. Howard also reminded me, I came to your house several times with Clayton and this time here I looked for your house and couldnt find it. I told him that we had added a wing and a second story on our little miners cottage so it doesnt look the same as it did in the 1960s.Undercurrent … It seems that everywhere I am … swimming in the Glenwood Springs Pool, or walking on the streets of Aspen, I hear foreign languages … French, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Arabic … and now and then I hear English.


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