What’s with that race and religion stuff in the NESCBWI eval?

First, I want to thank Anindita Sempere ( ) and Greg Fishbone for an amazing conference. The expertise of faculty was fabulous, the keynoters engaging and informative and the company… well I absolutely thrive and am inspired by all the wonderful NESCBWI members.

Over the weekend, I had no responsibilities so I was happy to meet people (whom I could remember since I wasn’t in Director-land) and listen to some concerns in my brandie new position as Northern New England RA. One that I heard more than once was about the demographics questions on the evaluation sheets. I inserted those into the eval last year so I thought I could explain the thinking behind that.

The theme of last year’s conference, if you remember, was "Many Voices." I chose that theme because it is important to me that every child recognize themselves (or someone like themselves) in books that we write, illustrate and publish. To that end, many of the workshops had to do with sensitive portrayals of various cultures, issues and concerns in "mulitcultural" publishing, etc. I made a sincere effort to recruit and hire well-qualified authors and illustrators of color onto the faculty in the hopes that this would ultimately draw new minority voices to the membership of NE SCBWI.

But how would we measure that?

I designed the demographic questions to be short and to the point so that we could collect data and establish a baseline from which we could see how the membership trended. We hope to collect this data for the next 5 or so years.

But what about that religion question? Why do you need to know that?

Well, I am Jewish. And I always feel that when I fill out those questionnaires that just saying that I’m "Caucasian" leaves my cultural identity uncounted. I’m sure there are others from various cultures who feel that way too.

Of course it is your choice to respond to the demographic questions at all, but now you know why they are there.

Summing Up

It’s been quite a long time since my last post. Much has been going on and since it is too long to explain I’ll just sum up. (Did you get the Princess Bride allusion there?)

Jobs: I’ve applied to a writing specialist job at Bates and a teaching position at the Friends School of Portland. I’ve been interviewed at the Friends School so it seems that is more likely to come through. Contacting the Bates folks today to follow up. I also applied to LL Bean’s for retail sales position at the Bike, Boat and Ski shop. I was psyched when they called to offer me the job. I went in to fill out all my paper work, watch their harassment video (not how to, but how not to), and get cleared by their health department. Turns out that the job I was offered was a "level 5" position which requires lifting a 50 lb. box to the height of 76 inches. I did 40 safely, but needed spotting on 45 and help on 50. So bad news…no Bike, Boat and Ski job. Good news…they called yesterday and offered me a position in camping. Discount, here I come. Summer weekends, good-bye.

Triathlon: I’ve been training like crazy and after watching the Polar Tri last Saturday, I’m really excited about the celebration that my first race will be. The race is coming up soon, next Saturday, May 22nd, there is still time to donate to the cause. All money goes to help with YMCA scholarships for camp and membership. The "Mighty Mama’s" (our team) is so close to our $200 goal. Please help.
And because I’m a crazy girl, I’ve already signed up for my next Tri with the Bath Y. (Not a fundraiser) so I’ll get a chance to do all three sections and be timed for both transitions.

VCFA/Writing: I’ve been chugging away churning out picture book manuscripts this semester and have at least 2 or 3 that I feel are submission quality. One is with an editor now and I’m hoping to hear something soon. I need to revise my novel and start subbing to agents but things have been so busy that I’ve had to put that on hold.

Book Review Wednesday: Um… I’m really sorry. I just haven’t kept up and there’s really no excuse except, well, all the other stuff I’ve been doing.

Illustration: The Great Goose Auction is over and I’m trying to find out what happened with my two painted eggs. More on that later. My Fufu And Fresh Strawberries illustrations are awaiting an input of funding to The Telling Room in Portland. They are hoping for grant money to make the design and publication possible. Right now, I’m working on illustrations for my picture book Roar which I will show at the Illustrator’s Academy this Sunday. I’m also working on my poster for the showcase and trying to get my portfolio together too. I’ve been happy doing the whole portfolio thing on line so it’s kind of a pain to get all the images together, printed out and assembled in the book. So on that note, here are some images to take a look at. Enjoy.