Still reeling from my SUPER FABULOUS weekend in Washington. Holy monkeys, the SCBWI conference was so much more than I could have ever dreamed! The workshops, the keynote speakers, the panels - all amazing. And the best part? Everyone I met was SO NICE. Seriously. The last time I was in a large group of writers, they were all adult novelists, and there was so much underlying tension in the room. Jealousy. Moodiness. Superiority.
But children's writers and illustrators? Supportive, sincere, and FUNNY. I loved them! I loved the attendees and I loved the featured guests and I loved everyone, everyone, everyone I met. Even the Big New York Publishers and Agents and Editors (whom I was prepared to be terrified of) were all smiles and kindness and helpfulness.
It just made me love what I do that much more. It feels so RIGHT.
A few highlights of my trip:
- Feeling brave for traveling alone for the first time.
- The guys in my shuttle on the way to the hotel who had just come back from testing video games in China. How cool is that?
- Laini Taylor's workshop. My mind is still buzz buzz buzzing. Wow. It was the best workshop of the weekend, and one of the best I've ever been to. My novel will never be the same. And she and Jim Di Bartolo (her husband/illustrator) were so cheerful and kind. It would be impossible to stand next to them and NOT feel happy!
- Mo Willems. As hilarious in person as he is in his books. It was a dangerous, sharp humor that I wouldn't dare cross! His keynote address held a genuine Moment of Revelation of me.
- Crying (in the best possible way) during the Newbery and local success panels. Kirby Larson and Royce Buckingham KILLED.
- Lots and lots of coffee. I had given up caffeine for several months for health reasons, and it was almost embarrassingly wonderful to be drinking it again. And again. And again. (Even though it meant I spent about a third of the conference in the bathrooms. Whoops.)
- And, of course, the twelve strangers who invited me out for dinner because they knew I was far from home. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will never, ever forget that.
Bellevue's library! It was only two blocks from my hotel (also fantastic), and I almost cried when I walked inside. Honestly. Tears formed in my ducts.
The building is beautiful and light and airy and three stories, and filled with round windows, comfy reading nooks, every magazine you've ever heard of (and many you've NEVER heard of), storytimes in four languages, and of course, shelves and shelves and shelves of books on every subject imaginable. With multiple copies. The young adult section alone was larger than the adult fiction section at my own library!
It was also totally clean. Bonus points are always given for cleanliness.
I wish I could live in that library.
I also wish I had brought my camera. I'm sorry there are no pictures. Just trust me - the next time you are in the Seattle area, visit the library!