Monday, September 29, 2008

Kidlit '08 in Portland, Oregon, Part II

Here is Part One

The conference started at 8:10 am. Here was the agenda.

I’ll admit that I had reservations about attending such a heavily structured gathering. Back when Robin Brande and friends were daydreaming about what it would be like to meet up, we had visualized a grand potluck and little more. However, I appreciated what different speakers had to say about blogging and book-reviewing. My favorite presentations were the pod-casting session by Mark Blevis of Just One More Book, Promoting Your Book and Yourself On Facebook/My Space and Other Social Networking Tools by Greg Pincus and the “Kick Your Blog Up a Notch” piece by Pam Coughlin, a.k.a. MotherReader.

Afterward, I enjoyed milling about and meeting people afterward during the social hour and dinner followed by the raffle. I won three times, and chose a set of Madeleine L’Engle books for myself, a bag of coffee and a bar of chocolate for my husband, and a copy of Ellen Emerson White’s Long May She Reign in reserve for anyone at the table who didn’t win--I already had a copy, and I didn’t want anyone at the table to go home without a prize.

Attending this conference reminded me again of what I’ve given up to pursue other ways of doing things. I obtained a library degree, and at one point, I thought I was going to retire as a librarian. I’ve been writing all my life, and at many points, thought I was going to earn my living as a writer. This conference was filled with writers and librarians who are going over and beyond expectations to do fantastic things with their careers. Sometimes I felt like the slightly socially-awkward person who blurted things out with enthusiasm, only to wish that she had just kept her mouth shut. There are times in my life when I wish I could have been cool. I’m 36, but high school is still in my head. Still, I was glad to be one of the people who could beckon others to the table who might have also felt a little shy or out-of-place. In the end, everyone had a place to sit and be welcome.

At the Readergirlz party afterward, I continued my Cat’s Cradle education with Adrienne, admired the Edward the Vampire sock-puppet donned by Betsy Bird/Fuse#8, and resisted the temptation to drink another hot toddy. I retired on the early side, as my voice had shrunk to a squeak, and hoped for the best for Sunday.

We slept late, and barely made it to breakfast on time. After a visit to the Saturday Market (yes, it’s open on Sundays), Adrienne and I said our goodbyes and I walked to the train station. I was quite early, but it was good to have some time to sit and read before the train arrived. Since I got my seat-assignment early, I avoided the crush of a train filled to capacity. I read a good portion of The Omnibus of Science-Fiction (edited by Brian Aldiss) on the train ride back to Seattle. Here is one of its offerings that was a favorite from my teen years: Answer, by Fredric Brown. I appreciate the chill of these science-fiction stories far more than their graphic horror counterparts.

At 7 pm, I was glad to be home. I arrived just in time to put my daughter to bed after first giving her the puppet I had picked up for her in Portland. Bede got his coffee, chocolate, and Powell’s Fup Wars tee-shirt.

I’ve got two storytelling gigs for which to prepare this weekend, and possibly some new stories to tell from books I picked up at Powell’s. Life continues. Even if I don’t make it to the next Kidlitosphere gathering (to be headed up by MotherReader in Washington, D.C.) I will remember the people I met and the friends I made. Thank you.

I now return to my regularly scheduled blog themes of songs and stories.

This post has been edited since its publication.


Gregory K. said...

Great meeting you this weekend. And I might never have said it, but you should know that every time I see "Alkelda the Gleeful" pop up in comments or emails, it just plain old makes me smile.

Lone Star Ma said...

Sounds wonderful - I'm glad you had a great trip. I think you're cool!

GraceAnne LadyHawk said...

And there you are, with that beautiful purse!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Does high school ever leave our heads?

So glad you had fun!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Jules: Sometimes I wonder how YA Librarians do it-- did they have a good time in high school, are they dealing with the fallout from cliques, or are they just able to put it all in perspective as they work with teens?

GraceAnne: Hey there! I'm glad you like the purse, too. By the way, I took that photo with Bede's old (recently arrived) tripod and a delayed timer.

LSM: You are so kind, as usual. I debated about whether or not I'd keep that paragraph in before I posted-- I didn't want it to come across as a plea for affirmative remarks. I decided to leave it in because I figured there might be other people at the conference who'd read it and think, "I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way sometime." On Mark Blevis' screen-saver, I noticed a cartoon that had a bunch of figures all thinking, "Why am I the only shy person in the room?"

Gregory K: Thanks so much. Coming from a guy who has people laughing as soon as he opens his mouth, that means a lot.;) It was good to meet you this weekend. Thanks again for finding my wayward camera lens cap.

Bridget said...

It was so nice meeting you this weekend. I'm totally impressed by the thoroughness of your kidlit blogging conference blog!


adrienne said...

I'm going through the papers/notes from the conference, and I'm struck by how very much I heard all in one day. Some really good stuff, though. I've been thinking especially a lot about MotherReader's presentation.

Regarding feeling socially awkward, I feel that way pretty much whenever I leave my house. I am the wittiest person I know when it's just me and my cats at home, though. ;)

Jone said...

I am so sorry that we could not spend more time talking. I appreciated your comments so much, at times I want to hide away from the crowd. Hope your voice is better.

Charlotte said...

Me too on the high school thing...

And I hope you make it to D.C. cause I would like to play cat's cradle too.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bridgit: Hey there! It was good to meet you this weekend. Everyone, Bridget and ABCGirl (of happystuff) knew each other in Madison, Wisconsin, and it was good to be able to ask, "Do you know so-and-so" and have the answer be YES. How often does that happen (outside of the Mennonite world, that is)?

Adrienne: I can relate. I used to think that it was a cliche when people said they did their best singing in the shower, but it really is an ideal space-- good acoustics, and the steam really loosens the vocal chords.;)

Jone: Thanks! It's slowly on the mend. If I had been wise, I would have found a tea-kettle and a bowl to steam my head this weekend. I wish we could have talked more, too. Fortunately, we're on the same coast and three hours apart, so the likelihood just increased.

Charlotte: That sounds like a fine idea.

Cloudscome said...

I so much wish we could sit down together and have a coffee some day. I just know we would be great friends. I really appreciate what you said about welcoming others to the table and grabbing a prize for someone else. You are precious.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Cloudscome: Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to that cup of coffee with you.

FrecklesandDeb said...

I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to see you at your storytelling best someday!

You expressed the way I felt about the conference when you said, "Even if I don’t make it to the next Kidlitosphere gathering (to be headed up by MotherReader in Washington, D.C.) I will remember the people I met and the friends I made."

Yay for the Kidlitosphere, a welcoming place!