Thursday, August 13, 2009

SCBWI Gems, Lessons, and Stars, and the Sexiest Elevator Voice Ever

Okay, Okay. I know. It's Thursday. I blogged on Tuesday and now I'm blogging on Thursday. There is such a thing as a Tesseract.

To be fair... Sam started it. He blogged on Saturday one day late. And that's when the black hole in the Space-Time Continuum imploded.

I should've just waited until Wednesday, but then... wait. Why am I delving into the particulars of blog schedule? I feel like a Jane Austen character, where the socially awkward aunt doesn't know what to do with a letter she received on a Thursday, because she usually receives letters on a Tuesday, and she bores the bejeebers out of everyone she encounters, etc. etc. etc.

This is really not the best way to impress our new readers, if there are any after the conference. And what's with the use of "etc."? That's just an abbreviation for boring.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I don't know.


1. SCBWI stands for Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators.
Not "Conference for Writers who Want to Write Good Stuff for the Chicklins."

2. Sometimes Water on the Brain can be a Beautiful Thing

Sherman Alexie (Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) opened the conference with an inspiring, amazing, totally kick-butt speech.

He was born with hydrocephaly (water on the brain) and he grew 42 teeth (32 is normal). He spoke with both a stutter and a lisp.

All I have to say is: where is some of that magic rez water, and how can I inject it into my sons' brains? Because it'd be worth it if the result is a Sherman Alexie-like brilliance.

Little Tidbit: He had to get the extra teeth pulled, but the Indian Health Service funded dental work one day a year. So he had to have all ten extra teeth pulled in one day.

Gem: (About Young Adult Literature) "Our books will change lives in a way an adult book can not."

(He liked my name. He signed my book: "Brodi, Superhero Name! Sherman Alexie")

3. Everything sounds better coming out of Richard Peck's mouth.

Richard Peck comes from another time and place (still writes his book on a typewriter, not sure of the place. Somewhere in the Midwest?).

During his keynote address, I wanted to charge the stage just to capture every word that came out of his mouth. Then I wanted to gather all the words, take them down to the local tanner, and have them bronzed. But I wasn't sure if that would put my suitcase over the weight limit.

Mr. Peck expressed a scathing indictment for things like Twitter, Facebook, and other such lame-o wastes of time. So for an entire day, I didn't Twitter.

Gem: "Schools can either teach the students, or fear the parents. They can't do both."

Thank you, Richard.

(Richard Peck and Sherman Alexie signing autographs)

4. Even the word "Lobby" can sound sexy.

At our hotel (the Hyatt Regency in Beverly Hills) everything is sorta posh. Especially the elevator narrator. You know, the female voice that announces which floor you are on.

And the way she said the word "Lobby", it made me feel like we were about to step off the elevator and onto some lounge floor, where the lights are dim, a disco ball may be present, and people may or may not be dressed.

Like: "Laaaahhhhhhbby". Seriously, I blushed. I even felt a little dirty. Like I had been phoning a 1-900 number, and now I had to pay the bill.

I will continue with all the things I learned tomorrow, but here's a teaser:

5. There is really no appropriate time to shout the words "Belly Boobs", but it's especially inappropriate here...

I am dedicating the post to Una, who, along with many others, was most affected by the wormhole created when I blogged on a Tuesday.


  1. Oh, Brodi, you just made my day! Although I still haven't found all my toes from the worm hole...I'm patiently waiting for them to reappear! =) I did find an extra thumb, anyone want it?

    The conference sounds very interesting. What was Mr. Peck reasoning for this dislike of social networking sites. Was it aimed only at the youth using them?

  2. It's more that he's just old school. If you're on Twitter, Facebook, etc. then you're not reading, talking at the dinner table, talking face to face.

    I'm the first one to admit that you can't get anything published these days without Twitter, Facebook, blogs and stuff. So I took away from it that there has to be a middle ground. Otherwise, how else would I meet all of my cool blog readers?

  3. Nice timing for your blog post. My boss is speaking tonight to a writer's group about "Social Networking Basics for Writers". I referred him to your blog, for an "Electronic Social Networking Basics for Writers" experience. Not that you're basic, Brodi. Anything but.

    We'll see if he points his browser to your blog, and if so, if he de-lurks and leaves a comment. (Yes Bob H. of Florida, I'm talking to you.)

  4. Your comment here: SCBWI stands for Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustrators. Not "Conference for Writers who Want to Write Good Stuff for the Chicklins." That reminds of that cool children center:
    "Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too" Sorry for the tangent.

    Brodi gave me a reading from Sherman Alexie's book and it was quite enjoyable.

    I have a twitter account but I am a little twitterfied of ever posting. I will continue to use Facebook with my typewriter.

  5. Kent- Oh Crap. Someone might use my blog as an example? Quick, everyone be on your best behavior. Watch your language. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

    And Bob H., if you're reading this, welcome to the nuthouse.

    Sam- Just remember: Twitter is more scared of you than you are of it.

  6. Brodi - everything in life is about balance. What if all you do is read, you are sill avoiding people and not networking the old fashioned way, growing from the life experiences of others. Whether it is games, books, social networking sites; it is all about balancing those things you enjoy with your responsibilities to family, friends, education, career, community, etc. I agree, sometimes those social networking sites enable you to better serve and/or address those responsibilities.

    (See, we can behave and sound intelligent, too...)

    Plus, it's so fun to come on here when we have the pus discussions and see pictures of Smokey looking less than thrilled! =)

    Mr. Bob H. from Florida, please disregard the above comment. Oh and welcome!

  7. Una- My point exactly. When you still write your books exclusively on a typewriter (as Richard Peck does) then you can afford to skip out on the social networking. Plus he already has a well-established career, born in an era when Microsoft was still a glint in Bill Gates' eye.

    But without Facebook, and blogs, and comments, I may have finished a book, but I wouldn't have known what to do with it.

    As long as it doesn't suck you into a vortex of doom and hold you hostage, social networking as a valuable place in this world.

    Mr. Bill H.- I promise we only very rarely discuss the intricacies of pus extraction. And when we do, it's only on Fridays.

  8. I'm with Sam, the start of the worm hole *gives evil eye*, your comment about what SCBWI stands for reminded me of Zoolander. Classic.

    Writing a book on a typewriter must be so nerve wracking. What happens if you need to switch something around, do you type it all over again? No thank you! Cut, copy, and paste, baby! It's cool that he's from a different era, though. He reminds me of my dad, except that I got my dad to start using the computer a couple of years ago when his typewriter died.

    I cannot imagine how much your mouth would hurt if you had to have 10 teeth extracted on the same day. I hurt just thinking about it and I deal with dentistry on a DAILY basis.

    Anyway, I can't wait to hear about belly boobs! Sounds fun!

    Welcome of the blog of extraterrestrial weirdos, Mr. Bob H. of Florida!

  9. Brodi,
    Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the conference. Why in the world would anyone dislike the whole social networking thing. Think of all the friends you have lost contact with over the years, and are now finding you. How exciting! (I think)

  10. Jenni- I love and curse computers at the same time. The invention of the word processor enabled me to finish my book, but also helped millions of other write a book, making the competition that much fiercer. I couldn't imagine typing an entire manuscript, without the advantage of the cut and paste function.

    Mr. Bob H.- again, there is no actual evidence of extraterrestrials on this blog. But there are rumors. And a few grainy pictures.

    p.s. Sorry for calling you "Bill H." in the last comment. For some reason, Bill and Bob are interchangeable in my head.

  11. Anne- in the same vein, think of all those ex-boyfriends who thought they were rid of me for good, who I'm now able to cyber-stalk through social networking tools.

    It's nothing but good.

  12. Loving Mr.Richard Peck! I also agree there needs to be a middle ground on the Twitter, Facebook, etc. thing. Sometimes old school can be a little refreshing once in awhile.

    I wish I could have enjoyed the elevator voice with you. I loved being on the train in Ireland and listening to the Irish accent of my next stop, it made it sound so exciting. Instead of getting off the train in front of my made it sound as if it was letting me off in the countryside to a beautiful green landscape. Maybe I will start working on my elevator/train voice to impress people. I now will only be speaking in my Irish accent. Love the post!

  13. Keep it up with the gems! It can be my free, long-distance education.

  14. By the way #5......I hope that has nothing to do with the dress.

  15. Thanks Amy- There was a scene in The Last Samurai, where Tom Cruise just sits for days and meditates while looking out over the countryside. When I see it, I think, "That would be so cool..." And then I log on and check my email, or Twitter about how cool meditation is.

    As for the elevator voice, I am going to request an alternating man's voice- gruff, husky, and deep- for next year's conference.

  16. Kim- happy to oblige, but the gems are filtered through the mucky waters of my brain, so I don't know how valuable they are.

    Amy- The Belly Boobs have nothing to do with wardrobe malfunctions or anything. Rest easy.

  17. Hi Brodi. Nice blog. No evidence of extraterrestrials here, but with Kent you never know. The church where we are meeting tonight does not have internet access so we are doing it the old fashioned way in PowerPoint. I printed my slides last night, so wasn't able to use your example.

    I always enjoy an interactive blog with good information. My wife is the real writer. I've been published a few times, but still working on it. See for more information on her. Information on the group where I am speaking tonight is located at I'll be sure to bookmark your blog and follow along.

    As you can imagine, managing Kent is no easy task, so not sure how often I will visit. I will add you to my rss reader.

  18. Wow. Bob H. I didn't picture you as an actual person. Whenever Kent mentions someone, I just assume that someone is a figment of his extensive imagination. Because aliens have great imaginations.

    Good luck on your presentation!

  19. I can't believe you didn't post the picture of us NEXT TO Sherman Alexie. Remember how awesome it was?

  20. Emily- yes, but if you'll recall, I only received that picture just now, in my email, from you. But it will make the blog tomorrow!

  21. Ah, I could not help giggling every time the elevator voice said "lobby." Even if there were complete strangers in the elevator next to me. Way to look like a freak, Bree. Although, the belly boobs story trumps the elevator giggling ten fold. Can't wait until you share that one.

  22. Amy if you are ever wistful and needing that Irish voice, I discovered on my hubby's GPS that you can change the language. I enjoy having my directions given in the female British voice. Reminds me of my one and only trip to England and Scotland. I love it!

    Belly boobs? This is going to get clarified...right?

    As with anything good, it's a double edged sword. Too little and life is meaningless, too much and you have no life.

  23. Brodi, they need to give you a microphone and a red carpet so you can do a LIVE recap. :) Can't wait to hear about belly boobs. Sounds most promising!!

  24. I just finished listening to the podcast of this mornings "Radio from Hell" show. They ended the "Ask A . . ." segment with a question from Brodi. It was very funny and a good way to end the segment. Since you are the only Brodi I know, and you are quite witty, I wondered if the question was from you?

  25. Bree- I did too! Laughed out loud in the elevator. I fear I have teased the belly boobs story too much, though, and it can not live up to the hype...

    Una- everything sounds better in british.

    Sara- a red carpet and a mike, like Joan Rivers? Wow. Something new to aspire to.

    Anon- alas it was not me. Weird that there are two Brodi's who listen to RFH.

  26. Your seductive lobby voice reminds me of my friends GPS. They named her some porn star name because on a long car trip the two of them kept turning the volume up and down because of the sleeping kids. Every time they'd do this the voice would say 'lower, looower, looooowwwweeerrr' all crazy seductive like too.

    Sounds like a fantastically awesome conference. I am green with envy.

  27. it was fun to hear about this in guys should see how her face lights up when she talks about it!
    glad you had a great time!!!

  28. Tell me more about the belly boobs...

  29. Debbie- ha ha!

    Dorien- That was so fun.

    Cam- Your wish is my command.

  30. Ah, I'm so jealous. We'll all have to go together next year. Thanks for the info! ...And just wondering how you would know what a 1-900 voice sounded like...just wondering.

  31. Valynne- I know, because when I tried out to be a "1-900 Girl", I was cut. They were looking for low, sexy, hushed tones. Basically everything my voice is not.