Why yes, that is Judy Blume!
I'm still feeling the "spin and whorl" of SCBWI's 40th Annual Summer Conference, but I thought I'd share a few of the cognizant thoughts I had on my experience.
I knew that I'd be connecting with friends from online and that was one of the things I was looking forward to most. I was lucky enough to room with Angela Matteson and Casey Girard (both who had the guts to ask EB Lewis his opinion on their portfolios!) and hang out with Kelly Light, Kathy Blackmore, and Jim Hill. I was able to watch as Twitter pals Juana Martinez-Neal and Christina Barragan Forshay won SCBWI Showcase Mentorships and met tons of very talented people. It was almost too much!
(In fact, I'm pretty sure it was too much. The combination of LA's smog, the hotel's air-circulation system (rife with mold, I'm sure) and talking more than I had in months all combined to make me a very scratchy speaker. I lost most of my voice by the second day.)
Regardless, I was able to come away with some real jewels:
*Bruce Coville: "Good art, good writing, is dangerous when done well." (and he was one of the few authors I saw at the Portfolio Showcase!)
*Jerry Pinkney: "THIS is my work."
*Pat Cummings: "Have chutzpah."
*Libba Bray: "Embrace The Suck."
*Denise Fleming: "Children are much more observant than adults, that's why you gotta put a little extra in to the pictures. For them."
*Donna Jo Napoli: "Every person needs to learn empathy."
*Gary Paulsen: "Everything I am, I owe to that woman" (the librarian who signed him up for his first library card.) "Read like the wolf eats."
*Richard Peck: "If you do not find yourself on the page early on, you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places."
*Laurie Halse Anderson: "We are the world-shakers."
And the Illustrator's Intensive. Wow. I mean SCBWI really outdid themselves with the group they gathered here. If they ever bring back the Master Class for the conference, and it's anything like this experience was, I am so there. I was inspired, had several light-bulb moments and basically enjoyed the hell outta the day!
The biggest takeaway I had from the conference was that I need to work, work and work some more. I need to work more than others want to work. I need to work harder than others need to work. I need to work with what I'm passionate about, and what I truly love. There's no other way. And that's what I'm going to do.