May 16, 2011

NESCBWI 2011 Conference and, um, Lobster Poop

What a wonderful, whirlwind weekend!

I just returned from the 25th anniversary celebration of the New England SCBWI Conference. About 590 people attended.

Here are the backs of some of their heads . . .



Oh, nevermind. That's Lin Oliver giving her fabulous keynote. Full of heart and hope. And the words that echoed? DO THE WORK. (Hmm. What a concept.)

After that, several workshops were presented. I gave my "Quirky Character" talk to a wonderfully enthusiastic group.

Oh, look. Here are some of them now . . .



On the other side of the room, a lovely woman offered a sweet smile every time I looked at her. (This is an important detail for what comes later in this post.)

During the autograph session, I had the honor of sitting between two seriously funny writers.

The amazing Linda Urban . . .



I'm a huge fan of her perfect middle grade book . . .


Linda has a new book coming out in September, which has already received a starred review from Kirkus . . .



Don't even try to butt in line at the indie bookstore the day it comes out because I will be first!

On the other side of me was the lovely Erin Dionne . . .




Erin's book, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, is on the Texas Lone Star Reading List along with my book, How to Survive Middle School. Hamlet is seriously funny. Don't you just love the cover?



After the signing, at the faculty dinner, I noticed a woman sitting by herself at a big table. It was the woman from my workshop who offered encouraging smiles. I sat beside her and said, "Thank you so much for your wonderful smile. It really helped during my talk." We chatted while the rest of the table filled. Finally, I asked, "So, what books have you written?" Very demurely, she said, "Oh, Annie on my Mind."

ANNIE ON MY MIND?!

I was sitting next to Nancy Garden. The Nancy Garden.




Here's one of her books that started a firestorm of controversy, but probably saved a lot of lives and let a lot of people know they were fine just the way they were.


She just finished a new novella that will be part of a collection of four novellas that will benefit the Trevor Project. Keep your eyeballs out for it.

What a lovely, gracious woman! Turns out she was in the film we were watching later that evening -- LIBRARY OF THE EARLY MIND -- wit and wisdom from many luminaries in the field of children's literature.

Sunday began with breakfast with my roommate, Anita Nolan.

Then a great keynote by Steve Mooser. He shared his thoughts about all the things that could happen in the field of children's literature with new media and technology.

Then I had the pleasure of giving a two-hour workshop about writing humor. I couldn't have asked for a more engaged, creative, funny audience.

Here are some of them now . . .



If you look carefully, you'll see Steve Mooser and Lin Oliver (It's like Where's Waldo, only with Lin and Steve), the two astounding people who created SCBW (the "I" came later thanks to Tomie dePaola) forty years ago. I count myself among the thousands and thousands who are grateful to them for planting the seeds that blossomed into a generous, talented, nurturing community of children's book writers, illustrators, editors, etc. that have changed and enriched my life in so many ways.

*Sniff.*

After my workshop, I dashed out the hotel doors to begin my ten-hour trek home.

At the airport in Providence, RI, I saw this . . .



Not to be outdone, Florida offered these delicacies in its gift shop . . .




And . . .




Thank so much for an inspiring, wonderful weekend, New England SCBWI folks!

14 comments:

Theresa Milstein said...

Why do people think we want to eat food with the word "poop"?

Your workshop was great. I think I was your handler, but I didn't have to do anything.

The whole conference was inspiring. Tomie DePaola's Strega Nona was one of the first books I read on my own. Over and over. And over.

mona said...

I was one of the lucky ones to have attended your Sunday 2 hour intensive...my brain is still whirling from all the funny stuff you presented and the story lines I've got going already. Thank you so so much!

Stephanie Blake said...

So jealous. What a wonderful post!

Linda Urban said...

It was so great to finally meet you! Great workshop on Saturday. I was inspired!

Kathryn Hulick said...

Hi Donna - It was wonderful to meet you this weekend! What great energy you had in your presentations (alas, I only got to go to one...) I hope you can come back again for a future conference.

Anonymous said...

Great talk, and lots of fun being your roommate at the conference. Glad to have met you!

anita nolan said...

So now I'm anonymous, not on purpose. Blogger totally confuses me!

anita

Kathy Troidle Jackson said...

Donna - thanks so much for the hilarious workshop on Tickling the Young Reader's funny bone. I got so many fabulous ideas from it and was surprised that they were all already in my head (I am mining those embarrassments!) I put soome of this creativity boost to work as I wrote a humorous haikku in my blog post about the weekend. Thanks for a fabulous session that will live on in all of our work!

Verbenabeth said...

Great post! I was at the NE conf. and in fact am the gal in the blue scarf in your first picture. :) I'm famous afterall! haha Thanks for the roundup of the conf. as I could only attend Saturday. Honestly, just that day was so inspiring and energizing. So lovely to be around so many talented artists & writers!

Karen Centofanti said...

Hi Donna,

I enjoyed meeting you and taking your Saturday workshop as well as your Intensive on Sunday. I love humor in books, and I laughed out loud at your two books, Erin Dionne's and Linda Urban's books. (I blogged about their books prior to the conference, too. www.capecodchildrenswriters.com).

Your workshops rocked! They were packed with valuable information and strategies to use in my writing, starting today.

Karen Centofanti

Nancy Garden said...

Wow! What a great wrap-up of the conference--and what fun to see those photos. I love the one of your workshop audience, but I wish someone had taken a photo of your announcement of that guy with the gun--and your rapid retreat! I don't think I'll ever forget your workshop opening--or the meat of that workshop, presented with such energy and intelligence--so may great suggestions--thank you for it all!
And thank you so much for your flattering words about me and the film and Annie On My Mind!
Nancy Garden

Stephen Mooser said...

Loved your post. Can so hear your voice(and humor) in every printed word

Dan R. said...

To all you folks who attended Donna's workshop, and loved it:

I wasn't there, but imagine my good fortune to be a member of her writing group here in Florida. Our group gets to hear her funny words right from the "git-go," when she is reading her first and second drafts to us. And I do declare -- the lady IS funny. So, whatever she told you in the workshop? Pay attention. She knows of which she speaks.

Wanna know what funny stuff she's working on for her next book? I'll bet you do. You'll love it.

Wild About Words said...

Thank you all so very much. I am humbled.