Friday, August 17, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

   Meeting Literary Masters

One of my main objectives in attending the SCBWI Summer Conference was to hear from the accomplished authors whose work I love and respect. However, it became clear to me after hearing the first day's keynote addresses that I wanted to actually meet as many of them as I could. This does not come from a groupie mentality, rather, I knew these brief meetings would be something I would long cherish. I accomplished my goal by purchasing a book by each author, and subsequently having them each sign their book during the conference, or at the autograph party that was held the final day. Here are my thoughts and reflections on each of the wonderful writers:

Linda Sue Park - This lovely lady won the Newbery Medal Award for one of my very favorite children's novels - A Single Shard. (She also organized the flashmob honoring Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser at the Hippie Hop!) When I met Linda Sue on the last day of the conference I mentioned that a Korean friend of mine had read A Single Shard in her attempt to improve her English speaking skills. Ms. Park was so gracious; she explained how I can direct my friend to her books in the Korean translation if she would like them in her native language. Just another example of the kindness I have seen so often in the Kid Lit world. Thanks, Linda Sue Park!

Karen Cushman - The keynote address given by Ms. Cushman is something I will never forget. One of the things she said was: (paraphrased) you must be like a lighthouse - lighthouses don't move around the shoreline, they stay put where they are. I took from that to mean you must be true to who you are, and to what you write. She obviously knows what she's talking about since she won the Newbery Medal Award for her book, The Midwife's Apprentice. It was a thrill to meet her on the final day of the conference. Thanks, Karen Cushman!

Tony DiTerlizzi - This talented author/illustrator could definitely have a second job doing stand-up comic - he had the entire audience in hysterics at his keynote address! When I happened to bump into him midway through the conference I had thankfully already purchased his book, The Search for Wondla. He, too, took extra time to speak with me, even though a line quickly formed behind me. His energy, passion, and commitment to children's books inspired me even beyond what he shared with his words. Thanks, Tony DiTerlizzi!

Patricia MacLachlan - It was so surprising to me when I heard Ms. MacLachlan give her keynote address - she is so funny and quirky, besides being a literary genius. Her unique personality itself reminded me that writers are an extraordinary and creative group. She stressed (paraphrased) the importance of living a rich and textured life, and how that benefits our writing. Meeting this winner of the Newbery Medal Award for her book, Sarah, Plain and Tall at the autograph party, is something I will never forget. Thanks, Patricia MacLachlan!

Clare Vanderpool - For some reason Ms. Vanderpool was the author I most wanted to meet. Besides being the Newbery Medal Award winner in 2011, she is a wife and mother who seems like the girl next door. When I attended her workshop I was not disappointed! She shared her insights on writing with a grace and generosity that made me respect her all the more. When I introduced myself at the end of the workshop (with her book, Moon Over Manifest in hand) she shook my hand and began briefly chatting like I was a peer and a friend. Reflecting on that moment later in my hotel room I realized just how special that meeting had been. Thanks, Clare Vanderpool!

Gary D. Schmidt - When I attended Mr. Schmidt's workshop on layering your characters, I only knew that he had won the Newbery Honor twice for his books: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and The Wednesday Wars. Although those accomplishments themselves are more than enough to garner huge respect, what really floored me was his wisdom and insight to life. This English professor, who lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Michigan, blew everyone away - both at his workshop and even more with his closing keynote address. It was an honor for me to have him sign his most recent book, Okay For Now, at the conclusion of his wonderful workshop.
Thanks, Gary Schmidt!

Below is a photo of the books these awesome authors so graciously signed!


I would love to hear if you are one who likes to meet authors too!

14 comments:

  1. Oh, thank you, Victoria, for this wonderful glimpse into what you experienced at the conference. I've never been to one, but I certainly do hope to go. . .someday =) Sounds like you had so many enriching encounters!

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    1. Thanks, Ruth. I've often thought it would be great fun to meet some of my blogging friends at a conference sometime. I'm not sure how that could be arranged - but I love the idea. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. What a wonderful experience!

    The one time met an author at a book signing I was too scared to do more than babble. I think I said something about giving the book to my mom. Yea, I'm a winner. I hope I would have a little more class now.

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    1. Sara, I'm not saying I left any of the authors with a great impression...but I did meet them! :-) HeHe!

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  3. I'm not a groupie, but I get a little tongue-tied and excited when I meet authors I admire. Oh, you have a few favorites on my list, like Toni DiTerllizzi and Linda Sue Park. So wonderful you got to see and meet some of your favorites.

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    1. Tony DiTerlizzi is an absolute kick in the pants! Linda Sue Park was amazing! Thanks, Theresa!

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  4. Oh my goodness. I feel like I'm going to faint just thinking about meeting this kidlit giants. So glad you had that wonderful experience, Victoria. :)

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    1. I'm so glad I have writer friends that get me! I truly feel like meeting these literary masters was a milepost for me. Not only learning from their wisdom, but also seeing just how human (however quirky ^_^) they are! Thanks, Linda!

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  5. Glad you had a good time at the conference and were able to connect with other writers, Victoria. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Brandi. (And again, your recent post was awesome!)

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  6. Wow, you got to meet a lot of amazing authors! I'm glad you had that great opportunity. Pricless. :)

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    1. Thanks, Carol - it was a pretty surreal experience. Looking forward to seeing you in October at the Toad Hall retreat!

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  7. Awesome opportunity Victoria :) Thank you for sharing your experience.



    New follower....

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    1. Thanks for your comment, and the follow Demitria!

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