Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Learning, Connecting, and Caffeinating at SCBWI LA 2010

I have probably said this after every single SCBWI summer conference I've attended, but I'll say it again: what a blast! This was my first year on faculty - a huge honor and thrill, I must say - but that didn't change my experience very much at all, other than meaning I had to prepare and miss a few sessions when I was talking. I'll have a post up at The Happy Accident recapping what Alice Pope and I talked about in our sessions, by the way. Soon. Soooooon.

Highlights, as usual, are too numerous to list in detail... though here are a few of mine.

I was excited by what Jon Scieszka is doing with his new series Spaceheadz. The story and the multi-faceted online components work together even as either stands on its own. But they combine to enrich the universe of the story AND offer more fun for the reader. Check out http://www.sphdz.com to get a taste.

M. T. Anderson's breakout session on experimental fiction included a great reading and analysis of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, including comparing it to Burrough's Naked Lunch! Earlier, he sang us a Delaware state anthem that had 1,000 people roaring. But I digress.

Ruben Pfeffer delivered a clear-eyed view of the fact that, well, the future is now so to speak - ebooks are here, technology does have an impact, the business is changing and will continue to... and really, it's not a bad thing. This was the clearest, most direct, non-blinders-on view of the industry I've heard, and I applaud Ruben for delivering it and the SCBWI for asking him to do so. Denial is our biggest enemy, seems to me.

Ack! Already long enough and still no mention of Rachel Vail or Julia Durango or Gail Carson Levine or Marian Dane Bauer or or or or. Ack! Well, they and dozens of others were great. But I can't leave ya without one more...

Seeing 87 year-old Ashley Bryan on stage, getting 1,000 of us chanting poetry with him, filling us with inspiration, and reminding us of the importance of words on a page and getting young readers to connect with them was an experience that will inspire me for years to come.

There are a ton of great roundups already appearing on blogs today, and I'm sure more will come during the week. The SCBWI Conference blog has write-ups on all of this and more and is really worth a trip whether you were there or not.

Finally... it was great to see so many familiar faces there... some only familiar from Twitter and blogs, but many from knowing you now for years. It was a great time, and I'm already looking forward to next year!

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