Here I am with Ashley Bryan—poet, artist, performer—who has been a dear friend for many, many years. Ashley, as many of you know, lives on a island off the coast of Maine in a house that is filled with objets d'art of his own creation and collection, and it is a magical place to visit.

I was reminded of Ashley because of one of his paintings appearing in the background in a recent photo. Here it is, closer up, part of his "Sunflower" series.


The painter Carl Nelson, whose photograph appepars on the cover of "The Giver," lived on the next-island-over from Ashley, and they were friends.

Here's a woodcut Ashley gave me once, which hangs in my kitchen.


There are those who think that Ashley can do anything, probably even walk on water. But I am here to tell you that it is not true. Just for the record, he is a terrible cook.