No post last week. I was traveling to Chicago to attend the annual NCTE Convention and the ALAN Workshop. I just got back last night, and here’s what’s on my mind:
1. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner.
2. The leaves that have buried my backyard.
3. The ALAN Workshop:
a. We heard from scores of BIG SHOT YA authors, including Utahns Jennifer Nielson, Kristen Chandler, James Dashner, Sara Zarr, Matt Kirby. The headliners were MT Anderson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Walter Dean Myers, Jacqueline Woodson, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Jay Asher, Chris Crutcher, Kenneth Oppel, Neal Schusterman, Jennifer Donnelly, and David Levithan.
b. Great quotation: “You can’t revise a blank page.” Nora Roberts
c. Great moment: During her speech, Laurie Anderson said she wasn’t feeling well. She sat down for a few moments–still speaking—to clear her head. Then she had to stop and put her head between her knees. Then she said she felt really dizzy and nauseous. Then she laid down on the podium behind the lectern and people rushed up to help her. She had a glass of water, propped her feet up on a chair, had a cool cloth for her head, and then RESUMED HER SPEECH while lying flat on the floor. It was a classic Anderson speech filled with humor, pathos,and insight, and she delivered it FLAT ON HER BACK! After the speech, EMTs came in, Laurie puked into a book box, and then they hauled her off to the hospital. Yesterday morning they told us she’d had a bout of food poisoning.
d. Great moment 2: At the Candlewick dinner, I sat opposite Katherine Paterson! There’s not a classier, smarter, kinder writer in the business. After dinner, she asked ME to sign a copy of my new picture book for HER! Then she sat there and read the book!
e. Great moment 3: HarperCollins hosted a dinner at Lou Malnati’s pizza joint uptown, and I scarfed down 4 gargantuan slices of deep-dish Chicago pizza, the best pizza I’ve ever had.
f. Great moment 4: Candlewick hosted a signing for me and my new book, and I signed and sold all the copies they had.
g. Great moment 5: MT Anderson’s erudite and funny speech on the future of publishing.
h. Great moment 6: Hearing that John Green has 1.1 million followers on Twitter.
i. Great moment 7: Watching the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award ceremony and seeing Utah author Kristen Chandler honored as a finalist for the award.
j. Great moment 8: Matt de la Pena’s story of how his gift of a novel to his father led his father to go back for a GED and then on to a college degree.
k. Great moment 9: Hearing Kenneth Oppel talk about how difficult it is to write action scenes.
l. Great moment 10: Receiving 40 or 50 brand-new YA books.
Western Throwing-Uppers, next year’s ALAN Workshop will be in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on November 19-20. If you want to hobnob with and hear from an army of great YA authors, plan to attend. http://www.alan-ya.org/