National Storytelling Festival + Corn Maze = Autumn Geek Goodness

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Welcome to my favorite time of year -- the season of pumpkins on porches, red leaves with golden tips, and Tim Burton movie marathons.

I hope you are celebrating.

Two weekends ago was the 36th National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Every year, the best storytellers from across the country perform over a three day weekend in what can only be described as the Cutest Main Street Ev-ah. Over ten thousand people descend on this sleepy mountain town to gather under circus tents and eat homemade ice cream and listen to the storytellers spin their magic.

This totally isn't even the cutest part.

Neither is this.

This is! (Sara and I make everything more adorable.)

Jarrod and I are fortunate to live only an hour away. I've attended the last three years, and it's already hard to imagine autumn without it. This was the second time we went with our friends, Sara and Jeff, for the Ghost Stories portion of the event. After night falls, everyone spreads their blankets around a gazebo illuminated in orange light. Torches flicker, the air gets chilly, and the stories get spooky.

This year, Donna Washington was the crowd favorite with a tale about a bride, her dead fiance, and a promise to follow each other to the grave. Creepy-fantastic stuff.

So what's the only way to top such an event?

Last weekend we started with a meal at The Farmer's Daughter. No pictures (sorry), but this restaurant (also in nearby Tennessee) is all about classic Southern grub. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread with sorghum molasses, fried green tomatoes, soup beans, coleslaw, and my favorite -- carrot souffle. Which tastes just like sweet potato casserole.

Which is the best reason to move to the South.

Now I couldn't eat like this everyday, but on a fine Sunday afternoon in autumn? Can you beat that? Plus, the best thing about The Farmer's Daughter is that they use local meats and veggies! Oh -- and they also cook with REAL BUTTER.

Mmm. Butter.

So what's the best way to work off a big Southern brunch? Why don't you ask the fake cow who won this year's blue ribbon?

Or these outhouses with actual half moons cut out of the wood?

Oh yeah.

This weekend we topped the Storytelling Festival with a CORN MAZE!


Jarrod and corn maze tickets. This four-wheeler was sitting on top of a produce stand. Because, you know, that's the best place to keep one.

This sign was also by the ticket stand:

Hmm, you don't say?

But seriously. I love me some corn mazin'.

I missed out on this whole phenomenon growing up in Arizona, so as an adult, I'm making up for lost time. Though I must admit -- I couldn't stop thinking about how fantastic it would be to be a teenager on a date in a corn maze. Not during the day. But at night.

Lots of corners for nefarious activities.

Don't be surprised if someday you read one of my novels, and my characters start going at it in a corn maze. I'm just saying.

SO anyway, we hit the corn maze! Yay! And it was super-fun, until we realized the trick. All left turns. How lame is that? As Sara said, "It's like discovering Santa Claus isn't real."

Actually, it was still fun even after we realized the trick. Because it was still a giant pathway through corn.

Which is a fantastic use of vegetables, if you ask me.

Sara and Jeff -- Totally the coolest people the corn maze saw all day.

Me and Jarrod -- Totally the goofiest.

So what's next weekend? We're thinking a scary film festival in which we each select one movie and stuff ourselves with cider and doughnuts. I'm bringing An American Werewolf in London, because that's one seriously underrated flick.


(1) The song "Blue Moon" which is permanently linked to this movie in my brain.

(2) The legal disclaimer in the closing credits which reads, "Any resemblance to any persons living, dead, or undead is coincidental." Which is the same disclaimer at the end of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" two years later. Speaking of...

(3) Rick Baker did the makeup. Yeah. He's the "Thriller" guy. So it's that level of awesomeness. Plus, it was the first movie to ever win the Oscar for Best Makeup. (They created the category BECAUSE OF THIS MOVIE!)

(4) It's funny funny funny.

(5) The first ten minutes are creepy. In such a good way.

What are you doing to celebrate the season?


  1. Girl, you are the coolest blogger ever - and way too kind! (Though we are the hottest chics in America). I love your blog and aspire to be you someday.

  2. When Rob and I were in Northern California for our honeymoon last week, we kept seeing a million signs for corn maizes. Both having lived in Arizona too long and have never seen one in person, we were like "are they really that fun? 'Cus it doesn't seem like they would be." Apparently they are. We should have stopped and checked them out.

    Are you still watching "Ernest Scared Stupid" every year?

  3. Dude. Of COURSE I still watch Ernest every year! I wish you could join us again. It's as awesome as ever (and Jarrod has it memorized now).

  4. Yay! It looks as if you're getting out and about now that the novel is DONE! Plus you've got Laini gushing making us all jealous and clamoring. I look forward to hearing all the good news about it!

  5. Yay! It looks as if you're getting out and about now that the novel is DONE! Plus you've got Laini gushing making us all jealous and clamoring. I look forward to hearing all the good news about it!

  6. Yay! It looks as if you're getting out and about now that the novel is DONE! Plus you've got Laini gushing making us all jealous and clamoring. I look forward to hearing all the good news about it!

  7. What the heck? It posted me in triplicate! Or maybe I just wanted you to see me and my mug three times! Let's see if it happens again.

  8. I completely agree with you about "American Werewolf." I was at a very impressionable age when it came out, so I always think of it fondly, and with a little shiver.

    Jonesborough looks very Stars Hollow. :)

    I would love to read a book with a corn maze in it! Hurry up and write it.

    Congrats on the terrific Laini review. You can start a folder of reviews for your book, with hers FIRST.


  9. P.S.

    I'm trying to equal Jolie's number of comments. ;-)

    I just listened to Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, and I highly recommend it for creepy reading this Halloween season. He's an amazing audio actor.

  10. Jolie -- THANK YOU! I confess, I'm still in happy shock and awe from Laini's wonderful post...

    Lisa -- YAY! American Werewolf!! Did you ever see the semi-sequel set in Paris? (So disappointing.) And YES! Neil Gaiman is one of my absolute favorite authors! I have The Graveyard Book sitting on my nightstand right now, and I LOVE his audio recordings. I saw them on his blog, but haven't had time to listen to them yet. Can't wait!!

  11. All I know is that we watched the Zodiac this past Saturday afternoon, and I was like "it's not that scary". And then Jeff told me it was a true story and I realized when the black hooded man came out into open day that it was the same movie you were talking about, and still I was like "okay, not that scary. I can handle it". But come nightfall, Jeff had a show in Johnson City and I was home alone. All I know is - !!! I was convinced that someone was outside my house or inside, ready to kill me for absolutely no reason at all. And it doesn't help that we live in poor white trash-ville. So I turned on all the lights in our house, including all of our porch lights (so I could see the prowler if he tried anything). There was no way in hell I was going to go change the laundry in the basement. Scariest movie I've seen in a long time (and I only saw the first 45 minutes).

  12. Sara -- YES!!! SERIOUSLY, YES! Thank you! Gaahhhhh, I'm creeped out just thinking about it again. And I know what you mean about the laundry. For me, it's taking out the trash at night. After a scary movie? No freaking way.

    (Dude. And you so don't live in white trash-ville.)

    So if you only saw the first 45 minutes, you didn't see the squirrels in the trailer (which, I think, started that whole scary-movie conversation). You've gotta at least see the squirrels!!