In 2010 and 2011, in Fitchburg, even though it's close to home, I convinced my husband that since FOUR of us would be sharing a room, it would be worth it. That I'd get more out of the conference by spending the night. And he believed me. After the first year of conference, I volunteered--first at the registration table, then as a handler.
This year, was my sixth conference. The second in Springfield. Two years ago, Joyce Shor Johnson asked me if I'd like to co-chair with her. Having had conference experience (I chaired the NACA New England--aka National Association for Campus Activities--in 2000), I was interested. I came home from Fitchburg that year with a big question. Did I really want to co-chair this conference?
Well, most of you reading this know the answer. Yes. I did. We hosted Grace Lin, Sharon Creech, Kate Messner, Jo Knowles, Hazel Mitchell, and countless other amazing and talented authors and illustrators. We hobnobbed with agents Jennifer Laughran, Brooks Sherman, Linda Epstein and Lauren MacLeod (and more). Editors Melissa Miller, Allison Weiss, Adah Nuchi, and Taryn Albright graced our conference.
How does it really get better than this???
Well it did.
I spent ten minutes chatting with agent Brooks Sherman outside the Ballroom. Sharon Creech said my name (OMG and she followed me on twitter!!). Joyce and I spent an hour gossiping with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, I ate dinner with Jennifer Laughran, Lauren MacLeod, Brooks Sherman, Sarah Albee, Nova Ren Suma, Taryn Albright, and Linda Epstein...and actually managed not to freeze in the headlights. I mean can you imagine??? I got a chance to see twitter friends for the first time in person. Someone called me fashion plate (and if you know me, you know how unlikely that is!).
The process for NESCBWI is that you spend a year shadowing, then you're co-chair, then you're director. So I'm gearing up this coming year to direct in 2014. I've already got some ideas. If you've got some, send them to me at email@example.com.
Six years and a few months ago, I didn't know this organization existed. How did I ever survive without it?
I've been procrastinating writing this post, because I don't think I can begin to do justice to the awesomeness that was SCBWI - New England this year. As the co-director, the conference went by in a frenetic blur, but people tell me the workshops were awesome, the agents and editors were amazing, the volunteers were kick-ass...I'm so grateful to Joyce Johnson for choosing me as her co-director. Save the date for next year--May 2-4, 2014 in Springfield...FYI, call for proposals will be out in early July.
Jonathon Arnston came all the way from Michigan.
And my friend Ansha had her first signing.