Slightly infected Sunday

I’m not sure if this is the Great Cold of Schenectady, Part II, or some new-fangled Pittsburgh bug, but the symptoms hit again Sunday. I do not feel like death, but I have that hesitant, lurking feeling, like a viral stalker is hiding behind the potted plants, waiting for me to stop drinking fluids so it can pounce on me and suck out all my energy and refill my sinuses with quick-hardening cement.

If you think I am a slightly hysterical, near-hypochondriac now, you should have known me as a kid.

I didn’t have too many things to do on Sunday, besides blow my nose. Beth and I had long, long conversations about the standard high school curriculum, what I don’t like about it, and how unprepared so many kids are for college and real life. We sat in the lobby of our hotel which she called a giant living room. It is decorated for Christmas, which normally would irritate me, but it doesn’t here because this feels like some other-worldly place in which everyone loves books and cares about teenagers and it is OK to have Christmas trees in giant living rooms.

Last night was the big ALAN reception. ALAN stands for The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. It is a part of the National Council of Teachers of English. If you teach English, Language Arts, Writing, Reading, etc. to teens, you really should belong to this group. They will enrich your classroom and help keep you inspired. If you are a new English teacher and the thought of paying dues to join something makes your wallet whimper, then ask the people who love you to give you a membership as a holiday gift. But really, it’s not that expensive, and you do not have to join NCTE to belong to ALAN (although you probably want to!).

So anyway, we went to the ALAN party, which rocked the house. The room was crammed with authors and teachers. I was glad we got there early because I had been craving cheese all day and I was able to snag a couple pieces of Havarti before the mob hit the door. I lost count of how many people I talked to and only remembered to take a couple of photos. Thank you so much to all of the teachers who shared their stories of how they use my books in their classes.

One of my favorite people in the whole world was there last night, Walter Dean Myers. If you have not read his books yet, you must. Put it on this week’s to-do list. He is one of the finest American authors alive today. Not surprisingly, he also has a talented son, Christopher Myers, who illustrates as well as writes. Chris wasn’t there last night, but Walter was, and it did my heart good to see him again. But I am an idiot, so I forgot to take his picture.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com On the left is Lori Goodson, who helped hold the butter plate I photographed on Saturday night. With her are some teachers from Kansas who gave their students interesting, imaginative assignments (yay!) for SPEAK. I apologize to Roger, far right, for not returning the green pen he loaned me.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com It was wonderful to see Jen Bryant again. Not only is she a great author and a friend, but we are distant Holcomb cousins, which is fun.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com Rock star English teachers from Georgia.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com Walter Mayes, bold and beautiful as always. He’ll be speaking in Syracuse this spring… Central New York teachers take note!!

By the end of the evening, I was floating towards the ceiling with giddiness. Beth had to grab my ankle and tie a ribbon to it so I didn’t get stuck way up at the top of the lobby of the Westin. Thus secure, we trooped out into the night and had a late dinner with a bunch of folks including my editor Sharyn (sdn), and Lansdale homeboy Kevin O’Malley.

There is one word on today’s schedule: quiet. I give the 8am ALAN speech Tuesday morning, then I hit the road; first to Millersville to hang out with Meredith, and then the long drive home to my Beloved Husband and a fire in the fireplace.

42 Replies to “Slightly infected Sunday”

  1. Walter Dean Myers

    Walter Dean Myers is a wonderful author. I read one of his books, Monster, and it was one of the best books I have ever read, Next To Speak, of course. It kept me interested the entire time!

  2. Walter Dean Myers

    Walter Dean Myers is a wonderful author. I read one of his books, Monster, and it was one of the best books I have ever read, Next To Speak, of course. It kept me interested the entire time!

  3. Walter Dean Myers

    Walter Dean Myers is a wonderful author. I read one of his books, Monster, and it was one of the best books I have ever read, Next To Speak, of course. It kept me interested the entire time!

  4. I’m a North Wales homegirl–so thanks for the link to a fellow resident!

    I used to go to these conferences for my employer (big publishing conglomerate) and I always thought NCTE was a much better, more productive, more fun, perfect length show than either of the big ones–IRA or ALA. Glad you had fun!

    Feel better soon!

  5. I’m a North Wales homegirl–so thanks for the link to a fellow resident!

    I used to go to these conferences for my employer (big publishing conglomerate) and I always thought NCTE was a much better, more productive, more fun, perfect length show than either of the big ones–IRA or ALA. Glad you had fun!

    Feel better soon!

  6. I’m a North Wales homegirl–so thanks for the link to a fellow resident!

    I used to go to these conferences for my employer (big publishing conglomerate) and I always thought NCTE was a much better, more productive, more fun, perfect length show than either of the big ones–IRA or ALA. Glad you had fun!

    Feel better soon!

  7. Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

    > Hi Laurie,
    I’m not sure if the last message I wrote got to you so i’m writing again. So yes, It’s my one claim to fame that I know a famous author! 🙂 I am Sarah Blumberg, Judy Blumberg’s oldest daughter. You babysat for my sisters’ and I when we were kids. How are you?! I will make this brief, and let you know where you can contact me. I’m 23 years old and I’m finally a senior at Lesley College in Cambridge. I’m studying human development and elementary education. Teaching is my passion and I can’t wait to hopefully get a job in a Jewish day school. I’m doing really well, as I’m the happiest and most confident in myself that I’ve ever been in my life. Its been a long and difficult road but i made it and i’m soo excited.

    Anyway I should probably go and do some homework before i head off to work tonight, but i wanted to write to you and say how excited I am that my mom was able to get in touch with you after taking that children’s lit class (which by the way, i’m currently taking the same class and your book, Prom was a hit among several of the students).

    Please do contact me if you have a chance, at bostongirl05@yahoo.com . I look forward to hearing from you, though I realize how busy you must be. Congratulations on all of your success. May you only continue to fulfill your dreams.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    best, Sarah

  8. Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

    > Hi Laurie,
    I’m not sure if the last message I wrote got to you so i’m writing again. So yes, It’s my one claim to fame that I know a famous author! 🙂 I am Sarah Blumberg, Judy Blumberg’s oldest daughter. You babysat for my sisters’ and I when we were kids. How are you?! I will make this brief, and let you know where you can contact me. I’m 23 years old and I’m finally a senior at Lesley College in Cambridge. I’m studying human development and elementary education. Teaching is my passion and I can’t wait to hopefully get a job in a Jewish day school. I’m doing really well, as I’m the happiest and most confident in myself that I’ve ever been in my life. Its been a long and difficult road but i made it and i’m soo excited.

    Anyway I should probably go and do some homework before i head off to work tonight, but i wanted to write to you and say how excited I am that my mom was able to get in touch with you after taking that children’s lit class (which by the way, i’m currently taking the same class and your book, Prom was a hit among several of the students).

    Please do contact me if you have a chance, at bostongirl05@yahoo.com . I look forward to hearing from you, though I realize how busy you must be. Congratulations on all of your success. May you only continue to fulfill your dreams.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    best, Sarah

    1. Re: Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

      Check your email a little later, Sarah. I’m still trying to get over the shock of you having grown up so quickly. Are you sure you were given permission to age beyond six years old? Do you have the required paperwork?

      🙂

  9. Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

    > Hi Laurie,
    I’m not sure if the last message I wrote got to you so i’m writing again. So yes, It’s my one claim to fame that I know a famous author! 🙂 I am Sarah Blumberg, Judy Blumberg’s oldest daughter. You babysat for my sisters’ and I when we were kids. How are you?! I will make this brief, and let you know where you can contact me. I’m 23 years old and I’m finally a senior at Lesley College in Cambridge. I’m studying human development and elementary education. Teaching is my passion and I can’t wait to hopefully get a job in a Jewish day school. I’m doing really well, as I’m the happiest and most confident in myself that I’ve ever been in my life. Its been a long and difficult road but i made it and i’m soo excited.

    Anyway I should probably go and do some homework before i head off to work tonight, but i wanted to write to you and say how excited I am that my mom was able to get in touch with you after taking that children’s lit class (which by the way, i’m currently taking the same class and your book, Prom was a hit among several of the students).

    Please do contact me if you have a chance, at bostongirl05@yahoo.com . I look forward to hearing from you, though I realize how busy you must be. Congratulations on all of your success. May you only continue to fulfill your dreams.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    best, Sarah

  10. Re: Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

    Check your email a little later, Sarah. I’m still trying to get over the shock of you having grown up so quickly. Are you sure you were given permission to age beyond six years old? Do you have the required paperwork?

    🙂

  11. Re: Hi Laurie! (its Sarah Blumberg, Judy’s daughter)

    Check your email a little later, Sarah. I’m still trying to get over the shock of you having grown up so quickly. Are you sure you were given permission to age beyond six years old? Do you have the required paperwork?

    🙂

  12. too bad i missed NCTE this year

    i did a very successful lesson with Speak this year– the students made a soundtrack for the book, and then had to make liner notes for their CD, complete with lyrics, an analysis of the lyrics, and the justification for including certain songs for a particular plot point.

    the assignment: http://www.livejournal.com/users/corniecorn/426712.html

    their projects are BEAUTIFUL! and so well done. im so proud.

  13. too bad i missed NCTE this year

    i did a very successful lesson with Speak this year– the students made a soundtrack for the book, and then had to make liner notes for their CD, complete with lyrics, an analysis of the lyrics, and the justification for including certain songs for a particular plot point.

    the assignment: http://www.livejournal.com/users/corniecorn/426712.html

    their projects are BEAUTIFUL! and so well done. im so proud.

  14. too bad i missed NCTE this year

    i did a very successful lesson with Speak this year– the students made a soundtrack for the book, and then had to make liner notes for their CD, complete with lyrics, an analysis of the lyrics, and the justification for including certain songs for a particular plot point.

    the assignment: http://www.livejournal.com/users/corniecorn/426712.html

    their projects are BEAUTIFUL! and so well done. im so proud.

  15. NCTE: Early Tuesday

    Hey, Laurie!! Excited to see that you too are in Pittsburgh. I just arrived late this afternoon (Monday), and if I go to bed at a decent hour & get some sleep, I’m hoping to come hear you early in the morning. If I don’t see you on Tuesday, have a safe drive. I’m presenting for 10 minutes at the last gig of the day on Tuesday, so am staying an extra night & heading home on Wednesday.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Love,
    Linda

  16. NCTE: Early Tuesday

    Hey, Laurie!! Excited to see that you too are in Pittsburgh. I just arrived late this afternoon (Monday), and if I go to bed at a decent hour & get some sleep, I’m hoping to come hear you early in the morning. If I don’t see you on Tuesday, have a safe drive. I’m presenting for 10 minutes at the last gig of the day on Tuesday, so am staying an extra night & heading home on Wednesday.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Love,
    Linda

    1. Re: NCTE: Early Tuesday

      Hey there, buddy! I just got in from a late dinner and am hoping for some sleep before they drag me in front of the microphone.

  17. NCTE: Early Tuesday

    Hey, Laurie!! Excited to see that you too are in Pittsburgh. I just arrived late this afternoon (Monday), and if I go to bed at a decent hour & get some sleep, I’m hoping to come hear you early in the morning. If I don’t see you on Tuesday, have a safe drive. I’m presenting for 10 minutes at the last gig of the day on Tuesday, so am staying an extra night & heading home on Wednesday.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Love,
    Linda

  18. Re: NCTE: Early Tuesday

    Hey there, buddy! I just got in from a late dinner and am hoping for some sleep before they drag me in front of the microphone.

  19. Re: NCTE: Early Tuesday

    Hey there, buddy! I just got in from a late dinner and am hoping for some sleep before they drag me in front of the microphone.

  20. the green pen

    Laurie– the green pen is so yours. My students will be excited to know that I gave a pen to you. Just that gesture–with your posting our picture on your web–will be enough to get more of my students reading. And I was not just a fan, when I said you nailed the male voice in your WIP reading at the Penguin dinner. Thank you for all you do to motivate students toward a life of reading. roger

  21. the green pen

    Laurie– the green pen is so yours. My students will be excited to know that I gave a pen to you. Just that gesture–with your posting our picture on your web–will be enough to get more of my students reading. And I was not just a fan, when I said you nailed the male voice in your WIP reading at the Penguin dinner. Thank you for all you do to motivate students toward a life of reading. roger

  22. the green pen

    Laurie– the green pen is so yours. My students will be excited to know that I gave a pen to you. Just that gesture–with your posting our picture on your web–will be enough to get more of my students reading. And I was not just a fan, when I said you nailed the male voice in your WIP reading at the Penguin dinner. Thank you for all you do to motivate students toward a life of reading. roger

  23. Pittsburgh ALAN reception

    Hi, Laurie. Can’t thank you enough for being so generous and welcoming to my colleagues in Kansas. I had a wonderful time at the dinner on Saturday night and then again Sunday at the reception. You’re an incredibly talented woman–and you come across very genuine, which is kind of difficult to find these days.

    My students will be thrilled to hear about our visits; keep writing–we’re always just a few steps behind reading whatever you write! I plan to have my kids check out your web page (and the beautiful pic of my thumb). Keep me posted on upcoming books so we can get reviews in The ALAN Review!

    Lori Goodson

  24. Pittsburgh ALAN reception

    Hi, Laurie. Can’t thank you enough for being so generous and welcoming to my colleagues in Kansas. I had a wonderful time at the dinner on Saturday night and then again Sunday at the reception. You’re an incredibly talented woman–and you come across very genuine, which is kind of difficult to find these days.

    My students will be thrilled to hear about our visits; keep writing–we’re always just a few steps behind reading whatever you write! I plan to have my kids check out your web page (and the beautiful pic of my thumb). Keep me posted on upcoming books so we can get reviews in The ALAN Review!

    Lori Goodson

  25. Pittsburgh ALAN reception

    Hi, Laurie. Can’t thank you enough for being so generous and welcoming to my colleagues in Kansas. I had a wonderful time at the dinner on Saturday night and then again Sunday at the reception. You’re an incredibly talented woman–and you come across very genuine, which is kind of difficult to find these days.

    My students will be thrilled to hear about our visits; keep writing–we’re always just a few steps behind reading whatever you write! I plan to have my kids check out your web page (and the beautiful pic of my thumb). Keep me posted on upcoming books so we can get reviews in The ALAN Review!

    Lori Goodson

  26. Some words of thanks…

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for two things. First, for your wonderful books. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read Speak, and I read Prom in one night. Yours are truly wonderful books and I look forward to using them in my classroom in the future. Secondly, I thank you for your input on ALAN and NCTE. I am currently in a teacher education program, with the hope of teaching high school English. Your books will definitely be making an appearance in my class. With your recommendation, I will probably be joining the aforementioned organizations, and hopefully attending the conference in future years. Thanks again for everything and keep up the good work!

  27. Some words of thanks…

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for two things. First, for your wonderful books. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read Speak, and I read Prom in one night. Yours are truly wonderful books and I look forward to using them in my classroom in the future. Secondly, I thank you for your input on ALAN and NCTE. I am currently in a teacher education program, with the hope of teaching high school English. Your books will definitely be making an appearance in my class. With your recommendation, I will probably be joining the aforementioned organizations, and hopefully attending the conference in future years. Thanks again for everything and keep up the good work!

  28. Some words of thanks…

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for two things. First, for your wonderful books. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read Speak, and I read Prom in one night. Yours are truly wonderful books and I look forward to using them in my classroom in the future. Secondly, I thank you for your input on ALAN and NCTE. I am currently in a teacher education program, with the hope of teaching high school English. Your books will definitely be making an appearance in my class. With your recommendation, I will probably be joining the aforementioned organizations, and hopefully attending the conference in future years. Thanks again for everything and keep up the good work!

  29. I am a Secondary Education major at Kansas State University. This semester I have been reading a lot of Adolescent Literature to get ready to Student Teach next semester. I have recently read Speak as well as Walter Dean Myers’ Monster. I have to say that in both cases I was thoroughly impressed. They are two of the best books (forget just for adolescents) that I have ever read. I will definately be teaching them in my classroom in the future. Speak is amazing. Keep up the good work!

  30. I am a Secondary Education major at Kansas State University. This semester I have been reading a lot of Adolescent Literature to get ready to Student Teach next semester. I have recently read Speak as well as Walter Dean Myers’ Monster. I have to say that in both cases I was thoroughly impressed. They are two of the best books (forget just for adolescents) that I have ever read. I will definately be teaching them in my classroom in the future. Speak is amazing. Keep up the good work!

  31. I am a Secondary Education major at Kansas State University. This semester I have been reading a lot of Adolescent Literature to get ready to Student Teach next semester. I have recently read Speak as well as Walter Dean Myers’ Monster. I have to say that in both cases I was thoroughly impressed. They are two of the best books (forget just for adolescents) that I have ever read. I will definately be teaching them in my classroom in the future. Speak is amazing. Keep up the good work!

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