Yesterday was a very, very intense day. Wonderful, every single minute of it, but wicked intense. I feel like an apple that was peeled with a dull knife and left on the counter overnight.
It’s weird because I used to be a profoundly shy person, and then I learned how to be brave and extroverted, and now I actually love hanging out at conferences and meeting hundreds of people, but then I have moments like this when I feel shy again. Balance, I guess, is the key.
The highlight of yesterday was booksignings, an hour at Anderson’s Bookstores booth, and then an hour at the PermaBound booth, where the line stretched forfreakingever.
I was thrilled when Ms. J. from Hawaii showed up! I met her on my MySpace page when she wrote asking some questions her students had about the symbolism in SPEAK. Her MySpace photo has her sticking her tongue out, so it seemed appropriate.
Thank you so much to all the teachers who shared their stories about using my books in their classrooms. SPEAK and FEVER 1793 have been class favorites for years. Now I am beginning to hear that more and more teachers are using CATALYST, which thrills me, and that PROM is a number-one summer reading pick. Teachers snarfed up the reading guide that Uncle Penguin made for TWISTED and are getting ready to order classroom sets as soon as the paperback comes out in the spring.
I ran into the tall and mighty Christopher Myers in the lobby and was able to hear about some incredibly exciting projects he’s working on. He was being followed by a film crew, for reasons I did not quite understand. I got to see Christopher Paul Curtis, too, but I forgot to take a picture.
I did remember to take a photo of T.A. Barron.
Then it was off to the Marriott for the Children’s Literature Assembly Luncheon where we ate an incredibly good salad (fresh greens, oranges, pine nuts and cheese) and the kind of chicken you expect when hundreds of people are being served at once.
We got to see the Orbis Pictus awards handed out and heard a wonderful presentation from Brian and Andrea Davis Pinkney, complete with pictures from their books and their lives. If you ever get the chance to hear them speak, run, don’t walk. Brian had the entire room singing scat. The luncheon was also a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Jump at the Sun imprint, which has published so many important books about the African-American experience, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Congratulations Andrea!!!
After the lunch, I had a chance for a quick chat with buddy Phil Bildner (who will be in Austin soon – go see him) and my dear friend and distant cousin, Jen Bryant. Then I walked back to the hotel.
The sun was setting too fast to sneak in my Central Park Run, and the gym in this hotel in three levels into the sub-basement and a little creepy for a woman traveling alone, so I went out and got Chinese food and ate while I worked on the new book in my room. And went to sleep very, very early.
I went for my Central Park run this morning and it was fabulous; exactly what I need to feel like I was covered with skin again. Now I have to figure out how to squeeze in some overdue writing time with seeing a couple of friends and leave time for tonight’s reception and dinner. I leave you with two desserts from the dinner the other night: