It's good to be back. It's also bad to be back, because I had such a good time in L.A. meeting with friends and like-minded people (read "other crazy writers") and being inspired by such literary greats as Judy Blume, Richard Peck and Libba Bray.
Also, just a warning, I took all of two pictures at the conference, and those two pictures were of the toilet in our hotel room.
There's a reason for that. The toilet had two flusher buttons on top of it:
We figured out that the left flusher was sort of a "half-flush" option, I guess to be more environmentally friendly and less water-wasting.
For the first couple of days, I pondered each and every trip to the bathroom, asking questions like, "Does what I accomplished in here warrant a larger carbon footprint?" and "Will the half-flush option be adequate?"
Then I would warn my roommates: "Just so you know, I half-flushed." Then I would warn strangers in the hallway: "Just so you know, I half-flushed."
Sometimes I would use the half-flush option, and then I feared that it wasn't enough, so I would half-flush two more times.
By day three, I was tired of passing judgment on my trips to the bathroom. So I flipped the bird to the environment and full-flushed every time.
And it felt good.
And yes, I did just spend the first half of the post talking about a toilet.
Some other highlights:
*I was this-close to Judy Blume!
|That lady looks like she's about to karate-shop Judy's arm.|
*I heard Laurie Halse Anderson (SPEAK) speak.
She encouraged us to ask ourselves, in the words of T.S. Elliot, "Do I dare disturb the universe?"
She also said, "Your muse is you." This makes it even more annoying when my muse doesn't show up for work.
*Bruce Colville reminded writers: If you don't jump, the wings will never come.
*The amazing and eloquent Richard Peck spoke.
He said: Unless you find yourself on the page very early in life, you will spend your life looking for yourself in all the wrong places.
I love Richard Peck. At my first SCBWI conference two years ago, I told him my first book was currently on submission. And he asked, in his regal voice, "And what are you doing in the meantime?"
I thought about the answer he was looking for. I said, "Writing my next book."
He said, "That is the right answer."
So, directly after that conversation, I started actually writing my next book, because I didn't want to lie to someone like Richard Peck. That book was EVERNEATH.
*I went to lunch with some awesome writers.
I stole this picture from Leigh Fallon's blog. She mentioned how the pic looks eerily like the Last Supper. It really does. But I prefer to think of it as the First Lunch.
Okay, this post is getting really long. I'll have more stories about my toilet on Friday.
But for now, I ask you, do you dare disturb the universe? Well? Do you?