I'm back! Did you miss me? Yeah, whatever. I know.
Anyway, conference report: thumbs up. Sadly, though, I did not take a single photo. I wanted to...I almost did...but then I thought I really shouldn't take a picture of Cynthia Lord without asking permission and I just didn't have the guts to ask her. I asked her to sign my copy of Rules and that about exhausted the wee bit of moxie that I have.
Sometimes a conference is all about catching up with old friends, sometimes it's about networking, sometimes it's about the sessions. This conference was a bit of all three for me.
I got to see Julie Berry, longtime friend, as well as several familiar faces from Vermont College (Anandita, Sarah, Joanie, Ann, Tam, Trinity, Cindy, Erin).
I met some new friends at Friday night's Schmooze at the Muse (Phoebe, Erin, Alisa, Scott, Marjorie). I had a critique with Erica Zappy, associate editor at Houghton Mifflin, on Friday and had such a positive and encouraging conversation with her. I had lunch with Pam Glauber, assistant editor at Holiday House, who looks like a combination of two of my friends--sort of a strawberry-blonde version of Samara.
And then there was the meat of the conference... Cynthia Lord and Floyd Cooper were the keynote speakers and such generous and talented people they are. Cynthia Lord spoke about the plusses and perils of writing what you know. Floyd Cooper showed us his subtractive method of producing his illustrations. Truly impressive.
Jacqueline Davies spoke about creating an unreliable narrator. I learned so much and I was so persuaded by her analysis that I'm putting this on the backburner for project #3, turning one of my straightforward characters into an unreliable narrator.
I also went to a picture book workshop given by Toni Buzzeo and Jennifer Ward, in which they so clearly outlined the structure and organization of picture books. We analyzed a PB manuscript of our own for the various aspects we discussed. So valuable.
Cynthia Lord and Linda Urban gave a workshop on theme. Again, so useful for me, particularly with the piece I'm working on for my creative thesis.
Agents Barry Goldblatt, Tracey Adams, and Jennifer Laughran presented a Q & A panel regarding agents. It was great to hear these agents in person, as "listening" to them online only tells you so much.
All in all, I had a great weekend. And now, back to work!