I'm never going to be a reporter. It takes me too long to process events and decide what I'd like to say about them.
Thank goodness for more pictures to get my thoughts going.
Cheryl Klein and I, as we begin our conversation
about the editor/author relationship.
Despite having only met Cheryl in person the night before, I felt at home talking with her on a stage in front of 200 people. In fact, conversations are my favorite sort of "presentation." I find it easier than in a prepared speech to confess my weaknesses, to admit to being overwhelmed by editorial letters, and to share how unsure I was at the beginning of our collaboration on Operation Yes of how this particular editor/author relationship would go. But obviously---do you see my smiling face in that picture??---I love working with Cheryl, and that extends to speaking with her as well.
Nathan Bransford, Stacy Cantor, Andrea Cascardi,
Kirby Larson, me, Marla Frazee, and Lisa Graff
How I love getting to meet fellow authors and book creators!
It was great to re-connect with Lisa Graff, who I'd met through Caroline Hickey, and remember how fabulously goofy she is. And because of her talk, I will always picture myself in a Seuss hat while writing, and a construction hat while editing. I also bought her latest book, Umbrella Summer, and was lucky enough to have her sign it. I peeked at the first page on the plane home, and wow! What a masterful first paragraph. I can't wait to savor the whole book. (She said she wrote 14 or 15 complete drafts of it. Now that's crazy/inspiring.)
I was also charmed by Kirby Larson, who I'd met before at the L.A. conference when she warm-heartedly invited me to sit and have coffee with her. Her act of kindness this time was giving me a signed copy of Nubs: The True Story of a Marine and a Miracle, which I've been coveting since it was published and wanting to take on school visits when I talk about Operation Yes. Thank you, Kirby!
Marla Frazee and I had also briefly met in L.A., mostly because I was gushing to her about how wonderful her co-creator of All the World was---my friend, Liz Scanlon. But on this visit, I really got to hang out with her, compare boots, lust after her (and Liz's) curly hair, share thoughts on running (she's against my ever doing it again) and see an early copy of The Boss Baby. I LOVE Boss Baby. I want to bust out laughing every time I see his suit-like pajamas and his angry eyebrows--- and then pick him up and squeeze him tight. Seriously, this is a picture book that I predict will sell like Boss Baby himself was in charge.
More about how inspiring it is to read another writer's work later. But in short, looking closely at the words of other writers always teaches me something about my own writing---and often, it's exactly what I need to break through a block.
With the ever-smiling Varian Johnson
and illustrator portfolio coordinator, Mark Mitchell
Book signings are sooooo much nicer when done in the company of other writers and with chocolate on the tables, don't you think so?
I remembered to bring my silver pen,
the one that enables me to write
on the black "chalkboard" of Operation Yes
Thank you, Austin conference organizers! I want to come back for the Texas Book Festival. (Just saying!)