Tuesday, July 01, 2008

ALA-kazam! -- Jay

During my three days at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim this past weekend, I averaged four hours of sleep per night. So if you find any grammatical errors in this post, here's what you should do...

Get. Over. It.

On Friday night, Penguin Young Readers held a fancy schmancy dinner for librarians, educators, and award committee members. At each table sat an author. One at a time, each author spoke about his or her latest book. I happened to bring up the fact...a few times...that I work at a library, which had the same effect as a neon Applause sign hanging over my head. (So that was nice.) Afterwards, a bunch of Penguins marched to a nightspot to continue the chit-chatting, including Ingrid Law, Jon Scieszka, Jacqueline Woodson, John Green, and myself.

The next morning, I headed out to the exhibition room and stood in the presence of as many famous authors as I could. The biggie for me was Laurie Halse Anderson. And when her hand touched my chest while posing for a photo, I swear I felt some superauthor force pass into me.

That afternoon, Feiwel & Friends hosted a bunch o' bloggers in a suite (sweet!), where I got to hang out with the bloggers behind Fuse #8, Jen Robinson's Book Page, and GottaBook.

That night...Disneyland! Followed by IHOP shenanigans and a brief visit to my bed.

Early the next morning, it was time for speed-dating with children's authors! A whole bunch of us marched into a room where about 30 tables were stocked with around eight librarians each. I began my journey (totally by coincidence) at table 13. I talked about my book, answered questions, then moved to a new table whenever the whistle blew. So fun! Afterwards, all of the authors gathered for a group photo. What you can't see is the wall of camera-packin' librarians in front of us.

From there, I went to my first of two autographing sessions. And let me take this moment to say that the behind-the-scenes Penguins who made my first ALA experience so wonderful are some of the coolest (and cutest!) people in the biz. [I know Robin and Eve are gonna tell me to take down the "cutest!" comment, but it's true...and I'm tired, so No.]

And Terry Trueman stopped by. Terry! Trueman!

I don't have any photos from the Best Books for Young Adults pizza party, but John Green, Nancy Werlin, Steve Kluger, and I joined a bunch of teens for hotdogs and hamburgers. (Just kidding! It was pizza. But I'm really tired, so you have to forgive the lame joke.)

When I first walked in, a group of four girls walked up to me and were kind of shy. Eventually, one of them found the courage to say, "I just wanted you to know that I loved Looking for Alaska." And then her friends started busting up and told her that I wasn't John Green. (But don't feel bad for me...she liked my book, too!) Unfortunately for John Green, I pointed him out to the girls and we played a little prank on him. They told him they were big fans of his...and that they loved Thirteen Reasons Why.

Then I signed books for another hour at the Baker & Taylor booth...with Lisa Loeb!!! No, seriously! Look!!!

Near the end, I had a wonderful discussion with my publisher, Ben Schrank, outside of the exhibition area. Over my fourth- or fifth-cup of coffee of the day, we talked about the future of Thirteen Reasons Why and my future dreams as an author. We talked about taking chances. And we talked about... Forget it, I'm tired, and I still have two pictures to go.

No ALA is complete without a little competition between gangs of librarians. Have you ever seen your neighborhood librarians perform a choreographed dance with bookcarts to the music of Weird Science or Thriller? It's truly one of the weirdest things you'll ever see in your life...

Okay, goodnight.

- Jay


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for that, Jay!

Sleep tight.

Danette V.

Jen Robinson said...

It was great to finally meet you, Jay, and I'm glad that you had such a great conference. I love the bit about the teen who liked Looking for Alaska. So funny!

Debby G. said...

I'm glad I got to hang out with you a little on Saturday! I was exhausted after ALA, and I was there only ONE day.

And I loved your book Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Teehee.

Disco Mermaids said...

Wow, Jay! You've ARRIVED. Okay, I know you really arrived months ago, but dang! What a great weekend for you!

Can't wait until I turn into you when I grow up.

I had an exciting weekend too! I, um...let's see...cleaned up dog poop, watered my plants and read half a book. Whew. I need a rest, too!

Seriously, you'd better rest up, because we only have 4 1/2 weeks until the next big one. So proud of our boy!


Caryn said...

Great recap, Jay! It looks like it was a lot of fun, and your descriptions had me laughing out loud.

Disco Mermaids said...

It's Thursday now and I'm beginning to catch up on my sleep. But everytime I wake up, I have to run to the blog and check...

Yes! Laurie Halse Anderson did have her hand on my chest!!!

- Jay

tammi said...

Wait a minute.

So you're not John Green?

Disco Mermaids said...

Oh! Now I'm really envious (is that how you spell it?)! LHA touched you! I LOVE her. She was my first real YA crush (after S.E. Hinton, but that doesn't count because I was 13 and didn't know real love yet).

I met LHA (that's what the cool kids call her...okay, not really, it's just me who calls her that) at a conference 6 years ago, but she didn't touch my chest.

She did accidentally brush by my arm, though. I'm pretty sure some of her greatness rubbed off on me. I haven't washed the outside of my arm since then, just in case.

Don't wash your chest!


Gregory K. said...

Hot dogs and hamburgers at a pizza party? I don't get it, Jay. I don't understand you anymore now that you're all big and successful and famous and stuff. Sigh. Next thing you know you'll find it funny to answer my cell phone and pretend you're me, and.... Oh. Wait. That is funny!

Good seeing ya... and see all you Mermaids in August+