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- I’m tribal. I belong to a tribe of kidlit lovers – People of the Story – writers, illustrators, agents, editors, readers, bloggers with whom I feel instantly bonded. A sense of belonging that carves through differences and barriers. This is a beautiful experience.
- I’m dangerous. “Art disturbs the universe,” states Laurie Halse Anderson. My weapons are my keyboard and my craft. Your books can change lives.
- I’m individual. And so are you and your story. Libba Bray challenged, “readers are not trends.” Let’s tell our unique story and not compromise to the market on our message. No one else can tell my story.
- I’m vulnerable. Donna Jo Napoli and David Small, from what I can remember through the tears I shed through their keynotes, exhorted me to share from my memories of pain, injustice, lack of protection. These stories produce the empathy we so desire to grow in our world. “If you need to write it, chances are, there are people out there–a lot of people–who need to read it.” Donna Jo. This is scary !
- I’m diverse (or at least trying to be). Cross cultural characters come naturally to me, that’s been my entire life as an adult. I have no problem having one of the siblings in my chapter book having mild CP, but realize I had been resisting having a different character, an eleven year old girl, be questioning her sexuality. No longer. The great LGBTQ lpool-side chat on Friday led by Lee Wind fully allayed my reticence about this. My character simply needs to be true to all she is and is becoming.
- I’m honored – to be part of this fabulous organization. SCBWI rocks. More power to the great pioneers of this group, Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser.
- I’m challenged. I still find the whole question of finding an agent and a publisher to fall in love with my stories daunting (British understatement!). However, having seen and heard a number of agents and editors: sharing their hearts and own vulnerability, reducing me to heaps of laughter, having a few (and a few more) drinks and generally revealing their humanity, I also sooo look forward to developing partnerships with some of them in the future.
- I’m informed. Emma Dryden took us on a bumpy and truly informative ride in some little known (for me) publishing territory, which is weathering some transforming storms right now. So glad for her in-depth research making her a stalwart guide for us on this trip. With all these facts to absorb, I was warmed that Emma topped and tailed her message with the gentle truth that “story matters most.”
- I’m infected by these literary giants; old and new, with whom I have been weaving these past days in LA. How can one not be somewhat drunk on their provocative prose? These writers and illustrators are contagious and eager to reach down a hand to pull newbies like myself up to the next creative cloud.
- I am so gonna get an Iphone!
I could write pages, but if you missed out on this 40th anniversary SCBWI conference, I strongly suggest you read through the official Team Blog from the entire 4 days.