South Carolina weekend

When the sun came up this morning I staggered out of bed. Time has flown since Thursday. What, it’s March? No way!

I took the long way to South Carolina, impeded by the snowstorms that affected Philly and Laguardia. Got in four hours late, but I made it and that was all that counted. I knew I was going to like the community when we passed a Mrs. Smith’s pie factory on the way to the school. If I lived there, I would erect a house of worship next to it.

Mabry Jr. High was wonderful. The kids were very forgiving when I asked them to repeat things fifty times because my dumb Yankee ears struggled with their accents. I took a couple of photos and have stuck them behind the jump. Thank you to librarian Michelle Pope, asst. principal Crystal McSwain, Kelly Wright, and all of the teachers and kids who were so much fun. Friday night I went to a reception for Jamboread where I got to meet luminaries like Spartanburg’s mayor, the library board, etc. I always feel awkward at events like that, but a number of librarians were there as Emergency Conversational Partners and that helped.

Saturday was Jamboread. “What is Jamboread?” you ask. It’s an amazing book festival sponsored by the world-class Spartanburg, SC library system. Four authors, 6,000 book lovers, puppet shows, face painting, and a guy in a mouse costume. Along with Christopher Paul Curtis and me, readers got to listen to illustrator Janet Stevens and Andrew Clements.

I knew the day would rock when I walked into the teen section of the library and found the opening line of SPEAK painted on the wall, along with other notable quotes. Yeah, I puddled up. I wanted to throw myself on Susan, the YA librarian, and sob, but I didn’t want to scare her. I ate breakfast with the winners of a poetry contest. Note to world: Spartanburg is the home to the poets of the next generation. These writers blew me away with their talent. The bagels were good, too. Many thanks to everyone who made the day fly, especially Leslie and Margo.

Random Spartanburg notes:
– The Miss South Carolina pagent was going on and all the participants were staying in my hotel. I saw Miss South Carolina, wearing her crown and surrounded by an adoring throng, getting out of an elevator. I do not understand pagents. Must explore this.
– Grits. Which I am strangely fond of.
– Did I mention who I had breakfast with yesterday?
– This country would be much better off if all mayors supported libraries as much as the Spartanburg mayor does.
– Back to the pagent thing. I lied, I do understand it. I want a crown.

Image hosting by TinyPic Mabry 8th graders

Image hosting by TinyPic Visiting authors provide a handy excuse for hanging around in the lobby.

Image hosting by TinyPic I love reference librarians.

Image hosting by TinyPic The wandering mouse.

Image hosting by TinyPic The top line? I wrote that.

16 Replies to “South Carolina weekend”

  1. Crowns

    You should have a crown for your mad writing skills.

    I think I should have one for my awesome rolls (on the xylophone).

    But none of those tacky crowns…more like a tiara. Yes, most definately, we should all get crowns.

  2. Hello

    Seemed like you had a very nice visit. I really liked your book Speak, I’ve just got done reading it a few days ago with a few of my classmates. Very nice oictures you have. Well have fun, and have a very nice day.

    -Sinaana Lee from Shungnak, Alaska 14 yrs old.

      1. Re: Hello

        YEAH IT IS COOL HERE, BUT IT GETS A LITTLE TO COLD. IT IS REALLY NICE IN THE SUMMER, GREEN TREES, AND WARM AIR. IT IS REALLY COOL THAT YOU LIKE TO TALK TO PEOPLE FROM ALASKA. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME TALKING TO A WRITER THROUGH THE INTERNET. I GUESS I WILL TALK TO YOU SOMEOTHER TIME, I HAVE TO HEAD TO SCHOOL NOW.

        -SINAANA LEE … SHG,AK

  3. pictures

    that’s cool that you had breakfast with christopher paul curtis. i loved the pictures from SC too. it looked like you had a lot of fun. -ash 🙂
    p.s. the quote from speak is my favorite quote.

  4. Mabry Visit

    Thank you so much for coming to our school. Everyone really enjoyed you being here and speaking to the students. The students are still reading your books and loving them. The students love the fact that you put their pictures on your website. I am mailing you a disc with copies of the pictures that I took while you were here. I hope you enjoy them. Again thank you for coming we enjoyed every minute of it.
    Thank you,
    Kelly Wright
    TE Mabry Junior High School
    Inman, SC 29349

  5. glad you liked us.

    Thanks for the comments on our town! I really appreciate that a great author like you would like our crazy little town. I was at the conference you gave at Jamboread. (you may have recognized me as the girl sitting by the windows with the obnoxious boyfriend who was talking on his cell phone while you were trying to talk, and saying [rather loudly], “this sucks!” when Susan told him to hang it up.) Anyways, you are my most favorite author and I really enjoyed being able to see you in person at Jamboread and I hope you come back to visit the town again sometime.

  6. i’m the last anonymous

    thanks again for coming out and the positive comments on Sparkle City. (btw, that’s the nickname for Spartanburg-Sparkle City and we also call it Hub City. i have no clue why) l8r.

  7. Glad you enjoyed Spartanburg!

    I must say having breakfast with you was a blast!!! I really really enjoyed talking with you about writing and the career that is authordom!! Interestingly enough, when I went to Barnes and Noble to spend that nifty little $25 gift card Susan gave each of us, they just happened to have autographed copies of all your other books (gee, I wonder why). So yeah, now I have the complete set in my room!! I’m really glad you loved our library! You should come again some time (hint hint)!

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