Dinosaur Runway

 

Dinosaur Runway

 

Last weekend I attended SCBWI’s annual conference in New York. Ten years ago I stopped going for good and bad reasons. The over-all message back then (okay, my hearing’s not so great) was discouraging. I heard: write only if you want to sell BIG. Let’s assume I heard it right. What I forgot was that smart organizations - like SCBWI - want to support their members and might make the next year better. But I wrote them off, thinking only a few sell BIG and it’s a crap shoot. So why did I attend last week? Because I’ve been out-of-the-loop for several years dealing with health, work and family issues. And somehow... I missed leaping onto the social network wagon. I convinced myself to focus limited writing time on a story not the internet. But last year’s AGM of the Writers’ Union said I was wrong. I needed more information. New York’s SCBWI was synchronicity (I registered after making a foolish mistake in November - see below). Every session I attended last weekend validated yet challenged my assumptions. I was given a balanced glimpse at what some very good authors (like Chris Chrutcher, Lin Oliver, Henry Winkler, Kathryn Erskine, Cassandra Clare, Jane Yolen) and successful illustrators, editors and agents believe, do, and recommend. Yes, big sellers are necessary to keep publishers in business. But we all love literary (possibly quieter) work and don’t ever want it to disappear. There’s room for both. One smart grey-haired agent at the conference pointed out that forty years ago, writers went out on the road and talked to people, one by one, about their stories. Now writers can do that very same thing using technology with Facebook (or is it Timeline?), twitter, blogs, podcasts, trailers, dear Pluto, what new thing am I missing? Doesn’t matter. It’s the current way to stay connected with a lot of people and ideas. It’s a tool. In November I was so embarrassed by my dinosaur tool kit that I backed out of attending the networking session at CANSCAIP’s PYI conference. My children in their twenties roll their eyes and laugh at my ignorance. What if I was the only dinosaur left? A week later, while others raved about what they’d learned in the networking session, I could only kick my tail and scaly hide. Ignorance is the fool’s way to extinction. So I’m hauling this dinosaur out on the runway. Last week I went to a One-to-One session at the Apple Store (the best $99/year I spend). I checked out some blogs and really liked them. In particular - Lena Coakley’s and Beth Pollock’s Of Meringues and Muses. ARGOHE#AH! That’s dinosaur for ThankYou.

Sunday, Feb 5th, 2012