Monday, September 29, 2008

Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part I


Preamble...

You can find all sorts of in-depth coverage of the 2nd Annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland, Oregon here. You’ll see a lot of the micro-famous bloggers mentioned like MotherReader, Fuse#8, Jen Robinson, and others who write an abundance of in-depth posts, know a lot of people, and yet manage to find moments to talk with the newbies as well as the lesser-known participants. They’re micro-famous for a reason, and I salute them. However, I was particularly glad to meet people I hadn’t yet heard of, or knew existed but didn’t read their blogs (due to the overwhelming number of posts on my RSS reader, not because I was avoiding them). I know I’m not going to get everybody, but in no particular order, I was happy to meet and speak with: Mark Blevis of Just One More Book, Gregory Pincus of Gottabook, Nancy Arruda and Kim Baise of Bees Knees Read, young adult author (as yet unpublished) Bridget Zinn, Sarah Stevenson a.k.a. "Aquafortis" of Finding Wonderland, Maureen Kearney of Confessions of a Bibliovore, Lee Wind of I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read Next?, and authors Dia Calhoun, Holly Cupala (both Readergirlz), Deb Lund, Kirby Larson and Christine Fletcher.

Amidst all the bustle, there was a little time to touch base with the co-organizers of the event, Jone MacCulloch and Laini Taylor (hooray for them!). There were more people I met, but I’m having a hard time placing the faces with the cheat-sheet, so if you come to this blog and say, “Hey, where am I in the list?” please remind me of what we spoke about, and it’ll all become clear, I’m sure.

THURSDAY

The highlight of the Portland trip was rooming with Adrienne Furness of What Adrienne Thinks About That. A month ago, I wrote to her and said, “I don’t want this to be weird, and ’No’ is a perfectly reasonable answer, but if you’d like to split the costs of a hotel room, let me know.” Almost immediately, I got the response that she had been thinking the same thing. We got to meet a few weeks ago, so when I showed up Thursday evening in order to have a full-day in downtown Portland, we were already at ease around each other. We showed each other string games from Camille Gryski's books, and I played a few songs on my little travel guitar. I had a mild cold, and I noticed my voice begin to crack.

FRIDAY

Friday morning, I definitely had the onset of laryngitis. I was in denial, which ended up being unwise. I practiced a little guitar in the morning, and then Adrienne and I took MAX, the light-rail train, from the Portland Airport to downtown Portland. Adrienne had on her list two specific missions: eat a maple bacon doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut, and visit the studio of Queen Bee Creations, the maker of her favorite bag. Adrienne’s bacon-fiend friends wanted proof that she actually ate one of these artery-hardening doughnuts, so I obliged:



Then, we walked to the Queen Bee studio, where Adrienne deliberated among a number of choices, finally settling on a computer bag with a bicycle design. I hadn’t actively planned on following suit, but when I saw a limited run of a previously popular ginkgo leaf design, I caved. Aside from an embroidered hand-bag used for special occasions, this ginkgo leaf bag might very well be my first grown-up (i.e. functional and beautiful) purse:



After a stop at Powell's Books, we headed over to The Tea Zone. My favorite tea shop in Portland shut down 7 years ago, so I’d wanted to find a new afternoon tea place. I did the research, and The Tea Zone seemed to fit what I wanted: a variety of teas, a relaxed atmosphere, and cozy chairs. At this point, we glad to hang out for a few hours, drinking Assam and doing the cross-word puzzle, until it was time to meet up with the first batch of bloggers at Powell's. We gathered people together and headed toward the bar across the street. After dinner and drinks, Adrienne, Mark Blevis and I took the light rail train back to the hotel, and Mark told us about Andrea (whom he says is the driving force behind the Just One More Book podcasts) and the beauty of Ottawa. We arrived at the hotel to see that others were staying up for “just one more drink.” However, Adrienne and I were too tired, and went upstairs to sleep. Moments later, the alarm rang. Crivens! It was Saturday, and the conference was going to start in an hour.

I opened up my mouth to speak, but all I could do was squeak.

To be continued in Part II.

12 comments:

Susan T. said...

Thanks for the report, Alkelda! I wish I could have been there.

Susan
Chicken Spaghetti

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Susan T: No kidding! I would have liked to have met you.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Farida! Great to meet you -- glad you guys got to see some Portland landmarks like Voodoo Donuts where I (after almost 8 years in this city) have still never been!!!

Hope your voice is back to full strength!

adrienne said...

Thanks for the video, Alkelda! I've posted it on my blog now, too!

Thanks for the good reports, too. :) You were a great roommate, and I had such fun. I hope to visit the Pacific Northwest again before too much time passes.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Laini: It's the same with me and Seattle landmarks. I usually wait until friends come in from out of town (which is how I finally went on the Underground Tour-- twice). My voice is on the mend, though my daughter is trying to get me to to read to her....

Adrienne: I do hope you come this way again. I'm a bit of a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to traveling, but sometimes I get it together to do so.

hollycupala said...

Farida, it was quite wonderful to meet you. Your kind words touched my soul. I love the purple glass in the underground tour! My favorite part.

Christine Fletcher said...

Farida, it was great to chat with you at the Meet the Author event. I've had such a curiosity about storytellers, thanks for answering all my silly questions. I hope to see you around the Northwest sometime!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

That is a lovely, lovely bag.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Holly: It was good to talk with you at the conference. I'm a fan of the purple glass, too.

Christine: There you are! Your questions were not silly, FYI, and I was glad to answer them. I hope we cross paths again.

Jules: Thank you. If not for Adrienne, I would still be sporting my small, somewhat disheveled green purse.

FrecklesandDeb said...

Aren't those donuts the best? We are fond of the chocolate ones with the Cocoa Puffs on top! Glad you had a good time!

adrienne said...

I would like to visit Portland again before too long, and part of the reason is the sadness I feel over not having been able to try the chocolate doughnut with the Cocoa Puffs. I never buy Cocoa Puffs anymore, but it's not because I don't love them with all my heart. That almost certainly has to be a good doughnut.

a. fortis said...

It was great to see you again and get to talk books and string games! I'm definitely going to have to put one of those purses on my Christmas wish list...