It’s amazing to me how a person can be involved in something so intensely, then go outside and find that life is carrying on in an ordinary fashion for everyone else.
I had this experience emerging from the hospital after sitting at my brother’s bedside for days. I blinked in the bright sunlight, and was shocked to find that no one else seemed affected by the tenuous nature of life. I remember thinking, Do they realise how fragile this is, how quickly it can change?
I had a similar experience coming out of the Redmond Marriott for some fresh air and sunshine on the weekend – although from a far more pleasant perspective. I wondered to myself, Do the people walking by know how many heroes of children’s literature are behind these walls, how great this work is?
- the various pronunciations for SCBWI – I heard “scooby” several times, and Jon Scieszka called it “skibwee” as if it were a new game for the wii: you too can write virtual children’s books – the controller will process your keystrokes and count words in real time, extra points for head slaps and pacing
- Allyson Schrier waving me over for the LAST available chair for Michael Stearns’ talk (I’d arrived late because I’d misread the program and went to the 3rd session room instead of the 2nd – doh!)
- discovering that Allyson and I share Irish heritage in County Cork with the family name Harrington
- gluten-free lunches prepared at the last minute by the Marriott chef when the catering company didn’t deliver the special order, devoured sitting at sidewalk tables in the sunshine
And as promised, one of my favourite moments from Sunday:
After the last breakout session of the day, I passed Martha Brockenbrough talking to folks in the hall. I walked by that hallway four more times, talking myself into and out of it, before summoning the courage to walk up and introduce myself.
I wanted to tell her that I appreciate the SCBWI newsletter that comes into my mailbox every week or two. I thought her behind-the-scenes task might be under-acknowledged, and I wanted to thank her. I let her know that her email makes me feel part of this community: supported, encouraged, informed. It means A TON to this introvert to have that regular connection.
She was lovely and gracious (and wearing gorgeous shoes). And in Martha I discovered yet another introvert, another who might go home and weep a little – with relief or release – at the end of the day.
I think there were rather a lot of us there.
listening to: Bruce Springsteen, Workin’ on a Dream