Feed Your Anxiety – SCBWI 2010

A couple of weeks ago I heard a report on NPR about willpower and the brain. Basically, someone conducted a study that determined: when your brain is over-taxed, your willpower goes DOWN.

Which has NOTHING to do with this blog post. ;)

So last weekend I was a BRAVE writer and flew all the way out to New York City to attend SCBWI 2010! This was only my second writers conference ever, and my very FIRST trip to the Big Apple. Luckily, I had a sparkly group of friends to hold my hand the entire way!

(From Left: Me, Tiffany Schmidt, Susan Adrian, Victoria Schwab)

You may have noticed where this picture was taken: Dylan’s Candy Bar. The closest place to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory I have encountered in my life…to this point. :) Also, they sell CRUMB’S CUPCAKES!!! (apparently I am the ONLY person who can eat one of these whole and go back for more?)

And what more could you ask for after a long day of sight-seeing and pre-conference jitters than a BUBBLE bath like this??

Note: NONE of my photos taken at the Empire State Building are blog-worthy, but I have to say I HIGHLY recommend going up there at midnight – the view was spectacular!!!

So the conference itself was great — punctuated by Libba Bray’s charming keynote speech, which was worth the entire trip alone. Okay fine, I laughed so hard I almost cried. The lady is a one-woman show!

Candy ready? Friday night I predicted that Tiffany, Suze, and Victoria would ALL be in the same sessions on Saturday and I would end up all alone — SO I AM PSYCHIC because guess what happened?? I thought Tiffany was going to have social-anxiety-by-proxy on my behalf, but it was unnecessary because WHO should sit down next to me for the first two breakout sessions, but the talented and charming Nova Ren Suma, whose book, DANI NOIR I happened to bring to read on the plane! <3  I tried really hard not to go all *fangirl* on Nova, and she must have decided Team Sparkle wasn’t TOO weird because she went with us to CRUMBS for cupcakes, and even returned to our hotel room to sign books for Victoria and I in our deluxe closet/phone booth complete with seating!

The breakout sessions with Alvina Ling, Ben Schrank, and Arianne Lewin were an interesting peek inside the ~minds of publishing~. Jacqueline Woodson gave a beautiful speech Saturday, reading excerpts from her work aloud – I could listen to the cadence of her voice all day. :) We had to leave before illustrator Peter Sis was done speaking, but to me, his constant creation and varying style is the truest form of expression.

Saturday night Team Sparkle met up with the fabulous Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Laura Whitaker, Suzie Townsend, Kody Keplinger, Kirsten Hubbard, Kaitlin Ward, and…I know I’m missing some people! From there we went to a dinner for the amazing Blueboarders community, but I think our sugar supply was waning by the end of the night. We didn’t make it to dessert! Even ~*sparklers*~ get sleepy!

Sunday was a whirlwind of fascinating and inspiring speeches by Susan Raab, Sheldon Fogelman, and Jim Benton – who is famous for Happy Bunny, but my favorite image that he shared involved cupcakes and a unicorn – combined in a completely WRONG way. ;D

The agent panel (George Nicholson, Rosemary Stimola, & Tina Wexler) was fascinating and intimidating (when are they not?), followed by a humorous, inspiring speech by Jane Yolen.

Sunday afternoon, things were already coming to an end!

Tiffany had to catch a train home :(

And Victoria was having tea with a friend, so Suze and I took off for…a cheesetastic Central Park Carriage Ride!

(our horse’s name was Dancer, and he did NOT want to take us all the way around the park – sorry Dancer! I still don’t blame you, it was COLD! But we had a charming Irish tour guide who told us EVERY famous movie scene that had ever been filmed in the park as we passed the sites…and apparently I haven’t seen as many movies as I would have guessed!)

After Central Park, Suze and I hustled to Times Square, and I proceeded to be overwhelmed by advertisement and felt a complete sense of displacement that I have never felt…basically it comes down to one ~profound~ thought:

This Here’s A Big City:

We didn’t get EVERYWHERE we wanted to go on this trip, but I think we managed a LOT of FUN for four people who have never spent time all together outside of Twitter! Aside from the above adventures, we made it to The Strand Bookstore, rode the NYC subway, successfully hailed a cab, visited Grand Central Station, and…had an AMAZING time together eating WAY too much sugar in a tiny little hotel room. The SCBWI conference was FUN, but four YA writers (+Nova occasionally!) together for four days was the best part of the trip.

Besides you know…cupcakes.