Post-kidlit conference: weary yet invigorated

I’ve been at the Letters & Lines Conference which is the annual conference of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). I didn’t attend the conference for the past four years and so it was very nice to catch up with old friends while also making new connections. Highlights of the weekend were inspirational keynote speeches by Laurie Halse Anderson who opened the conference and critique partner Claudia Mills who gave the closing speech. Those two women inspired me, challenged me, made me laugh*, and brought me to tears. I’m invigorated and ready to get back to my creative life. Well, probably not today. This introvert is worn out after playing extrovert for so many hours.

But tomorrow? I’m back to my stories.

* I received so many rejections and I earned them the old-fashioned way: by turning in books that sucked. ~ Laurie Halse Anderson

Still Here: A Story of Daffodils and Me

In the fall of 2006, I was a mentee at the Rutgers One-On-One Conference where Laurie Halse Anderson was the keynote speaker. In addition to offering smart and funny insights into her writing journey, she offered us daffodil bulbs. True story.

Last Friday, I took this photo of my LHA flowers that keep on blooming, year after year:
Daffodils

The next day, it started snowing. And over the next twenty-four hours, more than two feet of snow fell on those daffodils.

Me several feet away from buried daffodils.

Me several feet away from the buried daffodils.

If I’d been thinking, I would’ve covered the flowers with a bucket to protect them from the elements. Alas, I didn’t think that far ahead. So now they’re beneath the rapidly melting snow where they may or may not recover from the shock of an April blizzard in Colorado.

I share a kinship with those flowers that goes beyond them symbolizing my connection to the children’s writing community. The daffodils and I have been on a nine-year journey together. Every year they push through the soil to face whatever comes their way, not knowing whether they’ll be greeted with sunshine or flurries. And every year I continue writing my stories, not knowing whether they’ll be greeted with warmth or snowy rejection.

It’s a risky business for those flowers and me, but we keep on doing what we need to do. And year after year, we prevail.
Prevail bracelet 010