April 29, 2016

The Next Step - Off To See the SCBWI

My First SCBWI Conference

"Follow the concrete road" just doesn't have the same whimsy as "follow the yellow brick road." But, hey, the concrete road goes in the right direction - SCBWI's 2016 Wild, Wild, Midwest Conference. 

For the uninitiated, SCBWI is the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators. This year is my first journey to meet the wizards behind many great stories in Children's Literature. I'm here for brains, heart and courage before, eventually, finding my way back home to Metro Detroit. Though no witches were killed in driving here, I wouldn't have minded travelling by house to skip the traffic around Chicago. Maybe, next year. 

Like Dorothy, I am out of my element. There are nearly 600 people here, about 593 people more than I'm used to interacting with on a daily basis. But, as munchkins, they seem rather easy to talk to, a little bit shy, and my kind of silly.  Clearly, we're in for serious business:

Upon arrival, I took a few moments to register and obtain our itinerary - with lovely cover art by Dan Yakkarino - and took my seat for orientation with the day's Glinda the Good Witch, Miranda Paul. I have to give a fist bump to her for throwing me a lifeline during a particularly Charlie Brown newbie moment.

During her presentation, I was seated in the middle of my row, with empty seats on both sides of me, in front and behind me. So, when she asked everyone to turn to their neighbors and share their project in one sentence, I turned left to see my neighbor turn to her left. Then I turned right, to see my other neighbor turn to her right. There I was, a Charlie Brown, blushing red from head to toe desperately searching the ceiling for rescue.

The next thing I knew, Miranda - The Good Witch - descended into the row behind me, inquiring about my project. Soon after she left, I met some of the folks to my left and even a dinner friend.

Save! The ruby slippers are on - well black boots - and I'm ready for whatever the journey ahead  may hold.

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