Sunday, May 02, 2010

Michigan is Nice Nice, Baby

This past weekend, I spoke at the SCBWI conference in Lansing, Michigan. I sat down with eleven writers to discuss their manuscripts, gave two writing workshops, and delivered one keynote speech. If my high school self knew I'd be doing this for a living, I probably would've spontaneously combusted (at the very least, spontaneously sweated).

For the final event, the faculty sat onstage and took questions from the attendees. Here I am with author Donna Gephart, illustrator/cartoonist Dave Coverly, author Jim Tobin, agent Beth Fleisher, editor Lisa Yoskowitz, and editor Ruta Rimas.


Ms. Gephart had her face turned in the group photo, so here we are as we get ready to sign books.


Some of you know that one of my childhood dreams was to be a cartoonist. For some odd and embarrassing reason, the comic Speed Bump never made it onto my radar (mostly, I suppose, because it doesn't appear in my local paper). Why is it so embarrassing to not know this one particular comic? Because last year, its creator won the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year! That's huge!!! That's equivalent to winning the Newbery Award if you write children's books. Thankfully, this weekend allowed me to meet Mr. Coverly. I bought one of his books so I could get his autograph...


...and read it on the flight home. It's frickin' hilarious! Consider me a humongous fan. Go check out Speed Bump right now!

What else did I bring home from the conference? Some anonymous and awesome (anonymawesomous?) person bought me a t-shirt from Michigan's very own Rosie's Diner and had Ryan Hipp, the person who introduced me, present it as a gift. If you've read Thirteen Reasons Why, you'll know how cool this gift is. It made me feel so cool wearing, I felt like I'd suddenly sprouted a mane of gorgeous hair which required a quick blow dry.


If you've ever seen me speak, you probably heard the story about the positive review I gave Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme while on my high school newspaper staff. In fact, whenever I give someone my camera to take a photo of me speaking, that's the story I'm most often telling when they take my picture. For example...


...and...


...and...


...and...


During the final panel at the Michigan conference, one attendee let me know that Vanilla Ice was performing that night, about an hour away. Although several of us considered going (it would've been so much fun!), I couldn't make it.

But the next day at the airport, who did I see?

Mr. Vanilla I-C-E.


Word to your mother.


BTW, Mr. Ice was extremely nice and accommodating to everyone who came up to him in the airport, which was very cool to see.

11 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

Hi Jay,

My name is L.T. Elliot and I'm participating in an event inspired by Elana Johnson (an up and coming new author) called Hug an Author Day. I chose to spotlight you and your book, Thirteen Reasons Why. If you'd like, you can see what I've said about you HERE. Thank you for your wonderful book. Thank you isn't enough.

All my best,

L.T.

Distractions said...

Jay,
It was great spending time with you at the conference this weekend. Forget Vanilla I-C-E, I-C-E, baby. To these folks, YOU were a rock star!
Rock on!
Donna

Suzanne Young said...

OMG It's you and Ice!!!! haha That is so awesome! You FINALLY have a new slide!

Maricar said...

Wow, how fun for things to come together like that! Like it was meant to be. I hope this makes up for the turbulence that welcomed you on your flight to Michigan. Does this mean you'll come back? :)

Thank you for a great conference, and for the very helpful notes on my ms. I hope you had a great time in our great state!

Sarah P. said...

What a great end to a fantastic conference! Hope you enjoyed at least as much as we did. You critique was fantastic. I wish I had someone as astute as you to critique the rest of it! Thank you so much for your insight. Who knows which celebs you meet next time you come to Michigan? :)

Sarah

Beth S. said...

If I were on Facebook right now I'd "like" this post. (Especially since I'm from Michigan, but even moreso because Vanilla Ice is AWESOME! :p)

Claire Dawn said...

While I'm not into Chocolate Malted's, I so love that shirt!

K. M. Walton said...

I can't believe you met Vanilla Ice - that is crazy. Sounds like you had a fantastic experience.

My WIP is set in Novi, Michigan, so when I saw "Michigan" in your post title I had to stop on by.

p.s. I know a writer who got to hear your speech at the Washington SCBWI conference (the one you gave at last year's NYC Winter Conference that I got to hear) and they absolutely loved it and were so inspired by your tenacity. Had to share.

Cuppa Jolie said...

Too funny. I'd say that meeting was meant to be! And I'm with Suz...you've got a new slide and a new add to your story. Love it!

Valerie Kemp said...

OMG! I can't believe you ran into Vanilla Ice! I was at that conference (we talked briefly about Story of a Girl) you gave really great presentations. I learned so much. Thanks for coming out to Michigan!

Rita said...

That's awesome.