It’s Monday after WIFYR and I feel like I’ve been run through a wringer. Or a wronger. (I am wronger than you.)
My class was amazing.
The mini workshops were amazing.
Next year will be amazing. Yes. I am already working on it.
One of the best things I did in my class this year was read Ann Dee Ellis‘ book The End or Something Like That out loud. This is the 2nd time I’ve read the book (we only read for a total of 50 minutes, so we didn’t finish) and I saw so much good in it. Ann Dee is amazing at literally weaving plot lines together. They come from all angles. This way and that. They side step each other, side swipe each other, inform each other and support each other. I’m not sure how she does it.
Another best thing was my song with Cheri Pray Earl. Yes, we had to start over. Cheri always makes us start over. And yes, I looked like a blue bowling pin. But the lyrics to the song were funny.
Finally the very best thing we did was the dance. One person commented it was weird. Another said never do it again. But I danced and laughed and had so much fun. The best best part, however, was we asked for gently used or new books as a ticket into the dance. These were gathered for the Hopi Community Center (and maybe a library some day?) in Arizona. The good people at Writing and illustrating for Young Readers–Attendees and Faculty and Assistants–gave nearly 400 books. 400!
Thank you to Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Brodi Ashton, Jen White, Ken Baker, John Cusick, Michelle Witte, Amy Jameson, Sherry Meidell, Cheri Pray Earl, Ann Edwards Cannon, Kristin Ostby, Ilima Todd, J Scott Savage, Shawn Stout, Lisa Mangum, James Dashner, Emily Wing Smith, Jennifer Nielsen, Ann Dee Ellis, Jan Pinborough, Courtney Alameda, Natalie Whipple, and Wendy Toliver. You gave the conference great depth. You were funny, kind and sincerely supportive to the writers and illustrators who came.
Thank you, too, to the assistants who made this possible: Debbie Nance, Becca Birkin, Alison Randall, Michelle Hubbard, Kevin Smith, Joel Smith, Amy White, Bruce Luck, Becca Ogden Jensen, Cindy Stagg, Melanie Skelton, Robin Johnson and Stephanie Moore. I could never have done this without you. I wouldn’t want to.
And finally, Caitlynne Williams and Kyra Williams ran around like crazy helping me. Thank you, Girls. I love you both.
And now, Everyone, start setting aside funds for next year! Yup, we keep doing this crazy event. Or am I the crazy one?