Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Start Spreadin' the (New York SCBWI Conference) News!

As your luck and mine would have it, I met up with three members of SCBWI’s 11th Annual Winter New York Conference Team Blog - Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik and Lee Wind, at the Friday night Faculty/Industry Cocktail Party.  Over a glass of Chardonnay, I shared my angst concerning the writing of my blog posts.
“I’m the Slowest Writer East of the Mississippi!” I lamented. “I’m a wordsmith, not a blogger. How do you three do it?”
All three smiled their knowing smiles.
“Act like you’re talking to a friend,” CuppaJolie blogger Jolie told me. “It’s not about writing a perfect sentence. It’s about sharing.”
CocoaStomp blogger Jaime seconded Jolie’s advice.
“Quality is awfully good but so is quantity. If the blog is good, I don’t care if it appears once a day or once a month.
Jaime’s Final Words? “Whatever floats your boat!”
Then Lee Wind (I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?) kindly photographed the smiling Jolie, (on the left), me (in the middle) and Jaime (on the right) to share with you, my post-Conference readers.

Jolie, Jaime and Lee joined Alice Pope, Suzanne Young and Paula Yoo to tweet and blog the weekend away.
Speaking of which, it’s not too late for you to vicariously attend the conference through their tweets and posts. I promise you a semester’s worth of Writing and Illustrating for Children.

Our luck continued as Good Ol’ Serendipity introduced me to Quinette Cook, SCBWI Minnesota's Regional Advisor, as well as writer, designer and talented illustrator.
Quinette’s business card image so captured my attention, I invited her to share conference sketches on today’s post.
So, just between you and me?

This was the 11th Annual SCBWI Winter New York Conference I’ve attended.
I’d been lucky enough to have heard each main stage speaker numerous times, with the exception of agent Tina Wexler and author-illustrator Jim Benton.
Yet like a good children’s book which invites revisiting, so did each of the conference speakers.

I needed to hear Prinz medalist Libba Bray compare writing to an extreme sport.
She quoted Leonard Cohen’s lyrics when she spoke of the courage and vulnerability needed to tell a story true.
“Everything that’s beautiful is cracked,” sing Cohen’s words. "That's how the light gets in."
“Find the cracks that let in the light,” Libba ordered.

I needed to hear Newbery medalist Jacqueline Woodson remind us, “Each of us has a story worth telling. Each of us has the right to tell it.”

I needed to hear the award-winning author and poet Jane Yolen share her writer’s story, cracks and all, to illuminate for us the writing truths she’s gleaned.  BIC.  Butt in chair.  HOP.  Heart on the page.  P not F.  Passion, not fashion.

And, to my surprise, Jim Benton’s spirit should be bottled like medicine. "Writing and illustrating children’s books is fun!" he repeated.

Conference folders included My Networking Tips – “Confessions and Secrets of a Veteran SCBWI Conference-Goer (Or, Do As I Say, Not As I Did). My final reminder:
“Pack extra film and save photo album pages for those Kodak Moments you hadn’t even imagined.”

So again, between you and me, picture:

• Rushmore Kid Tina Nichols Coury video-taping me in my Grand Hyatt hotel room as I shared a  Conference Writing Tip to be posted on an upcoming blog.
• Baltimore writer (and client) Claudia Friddell sharing the f and g’s of her gorgeous May Sleeping Bear Press picture book Goliath, Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire
• an end-of-the-day-over-wine catch-up with my moved-to-Vermont fellow Writing Group member Sharon Darrow, at the conference to sing the praises of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing for Children Program.
• Too-many-to-count in-the-elevator, on-the-escalator, across-the-room-or-crowded-lobby-or-Saturday- luncheon-table sightings of shiny Lincoln pennies inside fellow Illinois members' badges.
• Client hugs and student high-fives, welcoming embraces from long-time friends, editor hand-shakes and non-stop introductions, to the person on my right, to the person on my left, to the person behind me, to the person in front.

Throw in a tour of the Century Club, courtesy of Leonard Marcus, (successful) shopping in Nolita and a finally-realized visit to the Tenement Museum.

My Monday morning breakfast with Lee Wind at a chic French Bistro was yet another Kodak Moment. I’d met Lee five years ago, when I critiqued his very first children’s book manuscript at the LA Conference. And there we were, thanks to SCBWI, friends, colleagues and fellow Kidlitosphere neighbors, talking writing and sharing our writer’s journeys.

In welcoming the Conference's 1047 attendees, from 45 states and 14 countries, founder Lin Oliver spoke of SCBWI as family.
Kin and connections.
The two words say it all – for this past weekend’s 11th Annual SCBWI Winter New York Conference, and for SCBWI.

May this blog float your boat.
The Conference sure floated mine.
Esther Hershenhorn


Esme Raji Codell said...

Lovely post! Thanks for taking those of us who could only be there in spirit along on the trip!

Ellen Reagan said...

Wow. That floated my boat. Thanks for lifting up the sea, Esther!

Carmela Martino said...

Great report, Esther. And do thank Quinette for sharing her terrific sketches.

Hilary Wagner said...


I so wished I was there! I groused all last weekend about it! Thanks for your lovely recap! Makes me feel like I didn't miss as much! :)

xoxo -- Hilary

Cuppa Jolie said...

Ah, Esther! I just love you so. I'm so glad that we had that moment to share and chat (the conference flew by so fast). I thank you so much for all your support over the last several years. Kisses!
-Jolie said...

io seguo il tuo blog se ricambi mi fa piacere
ciao Michele

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

This was a lovely post, Esther. Thanks for sharing. Getting to spend time with you was a true highlight of the Conference!
Namaste and a Hug,

Michelle Parker-Rock said...

Esther it is always a treat to see you...hugs.