My camera wasn't working.
Sure, that's the reason I failed to take many photos during Day 1 of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators National Conference. (Truth is, I had so much fun talking to so many fascinating people that I kept forgetting to take out the camera until everyone had moved on to another conversation. D'oh!)
Some highlights of the day:
1. At the beginning of every conference, each faculty member walks on stage, steps up to the microphone, states their name, then says one word. Any word! Ellen Hopkins and I walked up together. She introduced me. I introduced her. Her word was Banned. My word was Books.
2. I met Holly Black! She's very cool. She's great to chat with. And she's Holly Black.
3. The embarrassing highlight of today took place in Richard Peck's workshop on Setting. Near the end of the workshop, he gave us a writing exercise. He gave us two opening sentences and we had to supply six more sentences. As people were writing, I noticed Mr. Peck glance at me. Did he recognize me? No, I doubted Mr. Peck knew who I was. But maybe... And then I had the unsettling feeling that he might call on me to read. But I'm a slow writer! I couldn't just write six lines and read them out loud without spending an hour editing each line! Or was I just being paranoid? "Okay," Mr. Peck said. "Who would like to hear what Jay Asher wrote?" It felt like the entire room began clapping. Mr. Peck looked directly at me and I had to admit the truth. "My brain froze. You intimidate me!"
4. I had lunch with several of The Tenners and a few teen bloggers. Can you read what Catt wrote near her right shoulder? (I shook her hand twice!)
The teen bloggers gave each author a book-specific goodie bag. Mine looked like a cassette tape!
Inside each bag were several things they knew we'd like (based on perusing our blogs). I got some Silly Putty, Jolly Ranchers, smoothie-flavored gum, and...
...a King Tut headpiece.
5. I went to dinner with Lisa Yee. Talking with Lisa while eating lasagna is a great way to end the day!