So, Cornelius and I spent Saturday hobnobbing at the Kidlit Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Here he is greeting the one and only Ellsworth of Ellsworth’s Journal. This was a rare pleasure, because we’ve been fans of Ellsworth, her co-blogger, Winchester the Cat, and The Writer (Candice Ransom) for quite some time.
Candice (prolific author of more than 100 books!) and I had met before, but hadn’t seen each other for many years. What fun it was to compare notes about the many ups and downs of blogging and trying to keep abreast of the whole social networking thing. And, there are some uncanny similaries between us: we’re about the same age (28) ☺, bear collectors/antique lovers, long-time residents of Virginia, we both had gotten up at 4 a.m. that morning, ate the very same thing for lunch, and left the conference at the same time. Oh, and, you know the woods around our house I always talk about? They just happen to be the very same ones Candice grew up in, where she collected chestnut acorns, sat on big logs and made up her first stories! How cool is that?
Other Decidedly Awesome People I Met:
Tricia Stohr-Hunt: *swoon* Yes, I already knew how brilliant and talented and amazing she is (case in point: Poetry Makers interview series for National Poetry Month this past April), but I didn’t expect her to be so dang adorable (and she’s a good hugger). When she greeted me at breakfast, all my pre-conference jitters vanished. I’m big on first impressions and trust my intuition when it comes to new people — from her I got very warm, positive vibes. I guess you could say I experienced firsthand The Miss Rumphius Effect!
Mary Lee Hahn: What a pleasure to see Mary Lee there. I know her from Poetry Fridays and her blog with Franki Sibberson, A Year of Reading. Can you say, "cool purple glasses"? Can you say, "I wish I could be in her class?" Mostly, I wish there had been more time to just sit down and chat with her some more.
Jennifer Hubbard: I was especially glad to meet her, as she was the only other Live Journal blogger on my friends list there. I first spotted her from across the room. It was one of those surreal moments when a photograph comes to life — and she was just as warm and friendly as I had imagined. We both missed Kelly Fineman, who had to cancel because of illness. (Hugs to Kelly — feel better soon!) Don’t miss Jenn’s excellent post about what Mary Engle (FTC Associate Director for Advertising Practices), said regarding the new Guidelines and how it affects independent book reviewers/bloggers. And don’t forget: Jenn’s debut novel, The Secret Year, will be out in January 2010!
Justine Rowden: During the Meet the Author session I had a lovely chat with Justine, author of Paint Me a Poem (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press). Who could resist a picture book featuring poems about famous paintings? We shared our love for words, art, England and Brussels! I hope to feature her book on a future Poetry Friday.
Brief Encounters Where Cornelius Got Hugged, Kissed, Whispered to and Cooed Over by Old Friends and Perfect Strangers:
Here he is with tween author Caroline Hickey (Cassie Was Here, Isabelle’s Boyfriend). Can I just say how wonderfully photogenic kidlit peeps are?
and three totally delightful authors with personality plus (Varian Johnson, Diana Peterfreund, and Paula Chase Hyman). BTW, hearing Varian Johnson’s laugh was worth the price of admission (besides authoring, he’s a civil engineer who works for the same company as Len)!
Varian bonded with Cornelius instantly.
There were many others whom I didn’t have a chance to meet (since we were kept quite busy with panel discussions throughout the day and I didn’t stay for dinner). Glad I was able to say hello to Jen Robinson, though, and was tickled to run into Minh Lê of Bottom Shelf Books, who came at the last minute. The master of picture book satire was much younger than I imagined (I think he said he was 29) — a breath of fresh air who is actually quite sweet (I know this probably isn’t good for his reputation so don’t tell anyone). ☺
Is that a great smile or what?
In Part Two, I’ll share a few of my thoughts related to Pam’s "Interview with Your Inner Blogger," the Blogging authors panel, and Greg Pincus’s talk about social networking. More pictures, too!
Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.