Early morning at the

10/13/11 — Early morning at the Hartford, CT airport. The steady hum of the concourse is punctuated with snippets of nearby conversation floating in and out of my consciousness: "They didn’t have sesame bagels, so I got you cinnamon." "I don’t know, should I unfriend her?" "Coffee. I need coffee."

I stay quiet. Yesterday I visited North Brookfield Elementary School in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. (Great school, outstanding kids.) Today I shift gears from guest author to faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. At 35,000 feet, with America passing under my feet, I’ll  read and respond to a 50-page packet of writing, both critical and creative. A brilliant mind deserves an insightful and well-measured response. Does altitude elevate perception? I can only hope . . .