Here are five highlights each from last weekend's SCBWI national conference. But afterwards, we're done with this topic. It's time to start counting down to next year's conference.
I learned that Walter Dean Myers is an inspiration, that John Green is humble and brilliant, that Ellen Hopkins is prolific and just plain cool, and that Lisa Yee is adorable and hilarious (scratch that last one…I already knew that!).
Our first annual Kiddie Lit Drunkard Meeting (isn’t that what it was called?) was a smashing success. It was so great to put faces with names. And the event was well-documented by fellow blogger and all-around awesome chick, Rita Crayon, so hopefully she’ll have pics up soon. (Hint, hint, Rita!)
I completely enjoyed the “Authorpreneur” workshop put on by Bruce Hale (love him!) and Roxyanne Young (adore her!). They talked about the DMs as an example of how to use blogs as a marketing tool. On the huge screen they put up the entry I had written about me buying pajamas…so that was…embarrassing.
Jay and I took a break one afternoon to go swimming and sit in the hot tub. We looked up to find ourselves soaking next to one of the Baldwin brothers. I soooo wanted to ask him if he was the religious one or the recovering alcoholic one or the cute one. Considering that I stayed in that hot tub until my fingers turned to prunes, I’d say he was the cute one!
Evie and I discovered that when you go up to a person you don’t hardly even know and ask, “What are ya…a libra?” that nine times out of ten…they really are! Isn’t that fascinating!? Not sure of the science behind this phenomenon, but it probably has something to do with the fact that we are complete geeks for asking such annoying questions.
When we first got to the hotel, I ran straight to the restroom nearest the lobby and ended up being next-urinal neighbors with John Green. Later, I related that excitement to Mr. Green himself, and he told me he once peed next to Paul Newman. That separates me by one-degree from being next-urinal neighbors with Mr. Newman. Beat that!
Every year, getting dressed in our costumes for the poolside gala is a huge rush. We always get a room overlooking the pool so we can watch the surrounding area fill up with people. Then we lock arms, ride the elevator down to the lobby, walk outside, and straight onto the dance floor. I love my Mermaids!
After we all fell asleep, exhausted by hours of dancing and schmoozing, Eve had a fascinating dream. When we all woke up, she told us about it...and I will never forget what she said. Unfortunately, I promised that I would never repeat it.
Far away from any urinals, I handed John Green a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why. That night, he started reading it. The next morning, he told me what he thought about my book. Paul Newman? Who cares! I peed next to John “Printz Winner” Green!!!
Because I spoke in a workshop with the Class of 2k7, we were invited to the faculty wrap party at Lin Oliver’s house. I’ve been wanting to crash that party for years! And while I still felt like a poser being around all those Printz, Newbery, and Caldecott winners, I think I played it pretty cool. But whenever the “even cooler” person I was talking to would look down or to the side, I looked to the nearest Mermaid and gave a thumbs-up and a smile! They, in turn, rolled their eyes.
Silvery, sparkly, poolside party. Glitz and glamour. Great food and drink. Lots of dancing. Paparazzi stalking us. Scantily clad Playboy bunnies running around the dance floor (no joke!). Y’know…the usual stuff.
Conversations with Caldecott-winning uber-artist, David Diaz. Although hanging with DD is always a highlight, this year I learned a lot too. Like, the saying “Deadline-Schmeadline” and when to use it as a brand new, stressed out writer.
Binging on cheese sticks and sugar cookies late into the night with Jay and Robin, while rehashing every detail from the day. You know it was a good time when you laugh so hard you use up all of Jay’s puffer medicine. Sorry, dude!
Words of wisdom from the always funny/inspiring/creative John Green. He’s laugh out loud funny one minute. He’s insightful the next. I want to be him in my next life. And he’s nice, humble, and tirelessly dedicated to ending “World Suck” too. Ha! Love that guy.
Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration. That’s the main thing I took away from this year’s conference. From watching Jay revel in his new Published-Author status, to getting advice from the generous Mark McVeigh, to discussing the importance of writing about the struggles of inner city kids with the talented Greg Neri, every minute of this conference was an affirmation for me. I love this career!
Rock and Roll SCBWI!!!
NOTE: Jay (as well as Penguin) are all out of Thirteen Reasons Why advance reading copies. So stop asking! But as a teaser, the next time it’s Jay’s turn to blog, he’ll post the introduction to his debut novel. Stay tuned…