- where everyone dips in, and everything comes up cheesy -
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Every year, we have a blast at the SCBWI National Conference in Los Angeles. But every year is a totally different experience. Recently, the three of us got together, placed a laptop on a Lazy-Susan, and discussed our thoughts and hopes for the next conference…which begins one week from today.
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Jay: Okay, who wants to go first?
Robin: Well, you just did.
Jay: Okay, then who wants to go sec--…I mean…third?
Eve: I’ll go…wait, what are we talking about?
Robin: I think this is the last time we’re going to do this.
Jay: Robin’s in a bad mood cuz she had to put off her hair appointment. Nice hat, by the way.
Robin: I like to call it Redneck Chic. Let’s move on.
Eve: I love the hat! And, Jay…you’re wearing a hat too. Speaking of hats, what are you guys most excited about doing at the conference?
Jay: Just for your info, dear readers, Robin’s hat says Pheasants Forever. I think it’s from back home in Georgia.
Robin: Pheasants are forever. Now let’s move on. I’m looking forward to so many of the speakers, including the amazing Jay Asher who had better lose his hat by then…and his attitude.
Jay: It’s a Penguin hat. I’m just trying to represent!
Eve: Pheasants. Penguins. Who cares? I’m excited to meet blog readers like Suzanne Young and Laura Ludwig Hamor, who I’ve only met cyber-ly! And Christy Raedeke, who I only got to hang with a little bit in Big Sur.
Robin: Yes! And Rachel Cohn and David LaRochelle and…and…oh, who am I kidding…I can’t wait to get soy lattes all day long from the Starbucks in the lobby!
Eve: OMG! I was just going to say the same thing! Except my drink of choice is a café mocha. We are the same person, Robin!
Jay: You definitely are. Each year at the conference…each and every morning!…I’m told to get up early, go downstairs, and bring back your coffees while you “put your faces on.”
Robin: Thanks, Jay. Extra hot…don’t forget! Hopefully we’ll make it down in time for the faculty parade, where each faculty member says one inspired word into the microphone. Do you want to give our readers a hint as to what your word will be, Jay?
Eve: Ooh! Do not say something generic like creative or imagine. You should say…
Robin: Wait, you didn’t tell Eve yet?
Jay: No, back when I came up with it, it would’ve just frustrated her. But I think she’d like it now.
Eve: Wait, I know! Your word is…wait, why would it frustrate me? Is it menopause???
Robin: You’re right. It would’ve frustrated her.
Eve: What IS it? Loser? Cellulite? Dumb blond? No, that’s two words.
Jay: Come here, I’ll whisper it to you. [Jay whispers his word.]
Eve: Oh! NEVER would have guessed that one! Funny. Yes, maybe it would have frustrated me a few months back. But not now. Thanks for telling me!
Jay: Okay, Robin, what year did you first attend the conference?
Robin: My first year was 2003. The theme was the Mad Hatter Tea Party or something. I drove down by myself for one day and ended up crashing in Eve’s room that night. I remember thinking…I could make a habit out of this.
Eve: That’s right! We all hardly knew each other then. I remember sitting in my room with Jay chatting about how much I loved his new project, and insisting that he keep working on it. Back then it was a little thing called, Baker’s Dozen. Most of you now know it as Thirteen Reasons Why!
Jay: I remember that conversation so well! When you told me you loved my book, I remember thinking, “I think we could become really good friends.”
Robin: Awww. This is getting so cute. Let’s do more cute! When was your first year, Jay? What was that like?
Jay: 2000 was my first year…and it wasn’t so cute at first. I knew absolutely no one and I was so shy back then. But I ended up befriending Kathleen Duey, and she introduced me to so many cool people. By the end of the conference, I was more determined than ever to stick with this. And then, Eve, I think you came to the conference two years later, but we never even talked.
Eve: Yes, 2002 was my first. I had just moved to Cali, knew no one at the conference, but met a fabulous group of girls the first day--April Fritz, Kelly DiPucchio, Hope Vestergaard, Alice Pope, Lisa Wheeler--and they made me feel right at home. I do remember seeing a strange guy sitting all alone at the Saturday night luau dressed like the Hawaiian Punch logo-guy and playing a ukulele!
Jay: Yep. That was embarrassing…cuz NO ONE ELSE DRESSED UP THAT YEAR!!!
Robin: But this year, things will be much different!
Eve: Yes, because it’s not a luau, so you won’t need that ukulele. Don’t bring it. No, seriously. Don’t.
Robin: Right! This year will be very different. Jay’s book is out and he’s on the faculty and he’s going to be the hit of the conference. For me it’ll be different because…oh, wait…it won’t be different at all. Except we’ll be dressed in red!!!
Jay: Hey, Robin. I’m actually starting to like your Pheasants Forever hat. You look good in it.
Eve: Leave her hat alone!
Jay: No, I’m serious. I like it!
Robin: For real ya’ll, pheasants are forever.
Eve: Oh! Oh! I know! Your one word should be I’maNewYorkTimesBestsellingAuthorLookAtMeLookAtMe.
Robin: Or how about EveAndRobinWillBePublishedSoon.
Eve: Oh, oh, or MillionDollarContractsMovieDealsAndTheWholeShabangForBothOfYou.
Robin: Or ILoveEveAndRobinMoreThanLifeItself.
Jay: [walks away]
Robin: Jay! We’re sorry.
Jay: I’m just getting more coffee.
Eve: Maybe his one word should just be creative.
Robin: Yeah. Creative. That’s good!