LongHouse Day 4

It’s only Wednesday, but it feels like we’ve been here longer, in a very agreeable way. Several of us went on a hike around Lake Myosotis this morning with Betsy Andrews, current editor-at-large of Rodale’s Organic Life and former executive editor of Saveur. She’s really into birdwatching, and we spotted woodpeckers, a yellow-throated warbler and a great blue heron in flight as we climbed and descended the wooded hills surrounding the lake.

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Lake Myosotis.

After breakfast, Betsy shared a presentation on character, narrative, and dialogue in crafting our writing. She also met with each of us one-on-one to discuss the drafts of our features. She was incredibly specific about what needs to be cut from my too-long piece.  You can write for awhile and still not see things until someone else points them out to you, so Betsy’s feedback was incredibly helpful in making me realize how much I repeated in my piece. I’ve already made some initial cuts, and I’m eager to trim more until it’s totally focused around the symbolic status of the walleye in Minnesota.

Today was also podcast-editing day! Collin, Sarah, and I worked together to finalize the first draft of our angle, record track and ambient noise, and edit together selections of the different elements we had on our hands. We work well together, and we were really pleased with our podcast. We already have ideas for improving it and for future podcast episodes while we’re here. After all, we’re attending a pig roast on Saturday!

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Who are we to question the pros? Jeanne Baron told us she often records track like this. Barely pictured: Collin.

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My attempt at a moody photo of Molly’s uneaten chocolate chip cookie. (I’m trying to be funny.)

Working in Molly O’Neill’s home and sharing meals with her is, I’ll admit, intimidating. It’s not anything that she does, it’s simply my reaction to being in the presence of people who have accomplished so much and who are so intelligent and well-spoken (Molly speaks in eloquent paragraphs). I could barely talk with Betsy, and it’s the same with Molly and with some of the other guests we’ve had. Why am I so tongue-tied? Nevertheless, it’s wonderful learning from them and to hear their take on craft.




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