Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Kaleidoscopic Aftermath

TLA is only a memory - actually a shifting kaleidoscope of memories that are hard to sift through. Here's the sorts of memories that stand out for an author who is attending as a personal act, with no current book to promote and no particular agenda to pursue:

Kathleen Duey acting all overwhelmed that she was put on an all-star panel (the Tayshas author round-up) and me telling her emphatically (I was not yelling, don't believe what she tells you) that she's a National Book Award finalist and is finally among her peers; that in a line-up consisting of Kevin Brooks, Chris Crutcher, Matt de la Pena, Cory Doctorow, Kathleen Duey, and Shannon Hale, her name was far from the smallest one there.

I saw that Toni Buzzeo was signing so I crept up on the Upstart Booth, wondering whether she'd recognize my name or if I'd have to prompt her. She hasn't been on the mailing list where we met in years and I think I've only seen her face-to-face a couple of times. But she jumped up to hug me as soon as she saw me. I may have half-talked her into coming back. I hope so.

Standing in front of the regional SCBWI booth luring people to sign up for the raffle, holding my stack of speakers' booklets so they could use them as a table, and telling them about the booklets as they signed. They all took one - but will they use them? Time will tell...

Admiring the graphic album adaptation of Darwin's Origin of Species at the booth. The rep said they were free for librarians. I admitted sadly that I wasn't a librarian. She told me to take one anyway. It's gorgeous.

Standing in line an hour and a half for Gary Paulsen, reading Mudshark and listening to West Texas librarians discuss budget cuts in their systems, none of which seem to affect the admin side, only the teaching and library staffs. Then going to the next line, for Jacqueline Wilson, and getting through in five minutes. That must have been a novel experience for her! I hope the quality of fan she met made up for the quantity.

Going by the signing area during the Bluebonnet luncheon on the theory that the lines would be short. I was right! Joelle Jolivet had time to make elaborate drawings along with her signature as she signed Oops! and 365 Penguins.

The librarian from Laredo assuring the rep for Arte Publico Press that the sorts of books they produce are passionately wanted along the Rio Grande.

The D&D-playing kid who sold me a book at the Otter Creek Press table, which I would not have bought on my own because there's no point studying the list of self-publishing houses and I justify the books I buy here as market research. I ran into him again on Friday and he told me he'd found some D&D books. I hope he can get into a good group.

Realizing there were books behind the hand puppets at the Overlooked Books booth and having to break out the credit card.

Me, Christine Kohler, Kathleen Duey, and Dori Hillestad Butler sitting in the registration area after the exhibit hall closed gabbing. I gradually got time limits from everybody and herded them down the Riverwalk to eat at Acenar, where the dishes are just as pricey as at other restaurants, but you can get a perfectly good lunch off the appetizer menu. Christine and Dori knew each other online and Christine, Kathleen, and I all knew each other from before; I'm afraid we spent a lot of time gossiping about people she didn't know, which wasn't because she wasn't interesting.

Running into local SCBWI stalwarts Cyn and Greg, Maritha Burmeister, and Lupe Ruiz-Flores periodically. The line of librarians around the Simon and Schuster booth waiting for free display copies. Being first in line for Brian Yansky to sign arcs of Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences. Hearing the scoop on how nice Rick Riordan's mother is - she was at one of the cocktail parties. Seeing the line for Suzanne Collins an hour before she showed up and throwing in my hand. I heard they gave away wristbands and people ran to get them, but I didn't see that. I told a teen-age boy Kathleen was signing Skin Hunger and Sacred Scars right now and he immediately headed over to get them. Publishers pushing free chocolate. A bronze hippo bench. Library system reps wearing Fiesta paper flower wreaths.

Sore feet, full backpack, books by friends, books by strangers, everybody everywhere I turned completely into the books.

It's always the same. That's why I go, even in off-years when I have no books to promote, even when cash flow is poor, even when it pours down rain, even when I know I'll need three or four days to recover.

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