A Poetry Class Plug, The Conference, and Friends

A Plug:
On May 3rd I will be teaching an all day workshop on Writing Poetry for Children through the University of Southern Maine’s Continuing education program. Check out more information about the class here. If you have any questions for me about the class I’m happy to answer them through comments. I hope to see some of you Mainers who I met at the conference!

The Conference:

Conferences are a celebration of the essence that community. This weekend, our New England SCBWI community celebrated in a big way. Five hundred fifty people on Saturday and almost 300 on Sunday, came together to learn and “Stretch their wings.” As a conference coordinator I am flying high.

When Saturday came I was braced to put out fires all day long. What would go wrong and would I be able to handle it? I worried. It turns out that I shouldn’t have worried. As Sally Reilly reminded me, all the work that you did in the 10 months leading up to the conference pays off. She was right. So many wonderful attendees stopped to tell me how much they enjoyed the conference. From workshops, to friendships, to speakers people have been so positive. It is great to read everyone’s blog this morning and hear how much fun and learning went on.

The conference is a group effort and I give huge kudos to Francine Puckly, and Janet Arden, my co-directors. The speakers, Kevin Hawkes and Laurie Halse Anderson were lovely. Down to earth and well prepared. The workshop presenters gave it their all and the volunteers kept the whole thing running behind the scene. The staff at the hotel, were fabulous as always.

I’m especially proud of the Illustrator Academy and the poster showcase. These events brought the talents and craft of illustrators, and the illustrators themselves, out of the studio and into the light.

Thanks goes to Dick Blick Art Supplies and Picture Book portfolio directory for the amazing prizes. Also, thank you to

 Laura Jacques for organizing the showcase. You will be seeing her art on the 2009 conference materials!

Brian Lies, Susan Sherman, Lita Judge and Victoria Jameison were the amazing faculty for the Illustrator Academy. I learned so much from their critiques and presentations. Mostly, I learned that as Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Drawing after drawing, after sketch, after color study, after research for reference all combine to make great illustration. Revision is not an option it is a necessity just as in writing. No one gets it right the first time. Those who I most admire, authors and illustrators, dig in deep and accept the challenge of hard work. Everyday.

In personal conference news. My critique editor requested the full manuscript of my novel.  I feel that I should whisper that instead of shouting it from the cyber-rooftop. Do not mistake this announcement as a solicitation of congratulations. Instead it is the of the acknowledgment of the challenge ahead. A happy challenge and an important step on my journey but I’ll need your support. This is the novel I started during JoNoWriMo.
Thanks Jo! 

Friends:
Speaking of support, thank you for your kind words on the passing of my dog Sam. I notice today the lack of noise in the house. No click, click of doggy nails on the wood floor, or jingling of collar as he scratches beneath his chin. I miss him and these flashes of memory will certainly stop me in my tracks from time to time. I gave myself permission not to write yesterday and to feel the grief fully. Don’t think me callus, but I’m also noticing the lack of black fur in my house and the extra time I have to enjoy the morning. Today, I am writing and working and moving forward.

Write On!

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