What I enjoyed about my first national conference:
1. Meeting Lois Lowry. Meeting Lois Lowry. And meeting Lois Lowry. Now if I can just meet Megan Whalen Turner and Katherine Paterson, that pretty much takes care of all the authors on my top nine list! (I’m not holding my breath for Alison Croggon, since she lives in Australia, and JK Rowling? Yeah, right.)
2. Networking with other SCBWI Members in my region: The luncheon was fun. I wish I had taken a picture because they crammed so many tables into that room and jammed so many chairs around each table that I half expected the NYFD to storm the building at any second for fire code violations. Of course, who knows how they’d have gotten in the room, it being so stuffed with tables and chairs and excellent food and socializing children’s writers and illustrators. I had fun talking with other writers, and I started a business card collection in the back of my plastic name tag holder.
3. Keynotes. I enjoyed the keynotes much more than the breakout sessions. To be clear, it’s not that the sessions were bad; I’m just very good at picking the wrong sessions (for me) to attend. If I ever lose my mind and strike out on the pageant circuit, I have my talent prepackaged and ready to go.
4. Ginger Clark’s talk. She was wry and funny and at the same time, very down to business. There were two things I didn’t enjoy about her session, both completely out of her control. One was being crammed between two women, neither of whom were very large, but both of whom seemed compelled to take up part of my chair (and they didn’t have people encroaching on their other sides.) That was rather bizarre. In retrospect, I’m kicking myself for not glancing around the room for the Candid Camera people. The other frustrating thing was people asking the same questions over and over again. Poor Ginger Clark answered the same one about four times in one session. She was much more gracious about it than I was feeling. Apparently, I need to keep working on patience. (But other people need to work on listening.)
Anyway, back to the keynotes. Most of the speakers were awesome. The closing keynote was my favorite, delivered by Linda Sue Park. I had met her once before, briefly, when my roommate at Chautauqua (Hi, Natisha!) introduced us. I’d never before heard her speak, though. She’s so inspiring. Her basic message was…
DON’T believe in yourself.