Monday, September 29, 2008
Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part I
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One More Book, Gregory Pincus of Gottabook, Nancy Arruda and Kim Baise of Bees Knees Read, young adult author (as yet unpublished) Bridget Zinn, Sarah Stevenson a.k.a. "Aquafortis" of Finding Wonderland, Maureen Kearney of Confessions of a Bibliovore, Lee Wind of I’m Here, I’m Queer, What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.
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 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.