>The B&B in Middlebury (The Swift House Inn) was nice–a great place to relax after the long drive north. After a good night’s sleep, I wandered around the village of Middlebury–checked out the bookstore, picked up a Middlebury t-shirt, browsed the farmers’ market, relaxed over the New York Times in a coffee shop–but was anxious to head up the mountain to Bread Loaf. The trip is short, less than half an hour, through beautiful forests, along a rocky river, up a steep slope. And then suddenly there was the yellow Inn, and I was there. After registering, I started seeing people I knew almost immediately–from Bread Loaf last year, from Sewanee this year–and then got settled into my room. It’s the same house as last year, out in the woods, but this time I have a single, which is nice.
There wasn’t anything official going on until the evening, but there were still lots of opportunities to see old friends: Mary, Laila, Katrina, among others. The most amazing reunion was when my friend Steve from Sewanee started to introduce me to a woman and we both realized we recognized each other. It was Margaret, a friend from my Singapore days, so I hadn’t seen her since probably 1993. What a blast! And it turns out she’s Kat’s roommate.
After dinner we started the conference with Michael Collier’s introductory remarks, followed by a reading by Percival Everett (he read an amazing section from his new novel, the one he had just started last year in the days before Bread Loaf and has just recently finished). It’s a startling story of a father who deals with the murder of his child. After that the poet Linda Gregerson read. I was not familiar with her work, but enjoyed it very much. She has a distinctive delivery, too, which made it easy to listen.
After that we had the first of many Barn socials and again it was fun to reconnect with a number of folks. More tomorrow!