Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Different Kind of ALA

I learned a lot this year at ALA.  Not about books, really, but about myself.  (Cue the dramatic music.)  I learned that I pack way too much, and that's okay, but I should mellow out about what I may or may not need.  No one noticed my shoes when I spoke at the pre-conference, so it wasn't that important whether they went with the dress perfectly.  I learned that even though I will continue bringing my daughter on all trips, it it probably time to start bringing my mom along, as well, so that Matt and I can do everything we want as author/illustrators and not worry about how happy and nearby Romy is.  And, once again, I learned that I am, indeed, an author.  [Side note: I just wrote a long, blathering post that I deleted filled with affirmations and junk, but it was ridiculous.]  What I mean by that is instead of walking around as a librarian and collecting ARCs for my library and looking at circ systems and whatnot, I walked around solely as an author.  And it was cool.  I met lots of other authors, and I felt on an equal playing field with them [hilarious sports reference from a book person].  Sure, some of them sold a million billion trillion more books than me, but it was never like, "Julie Who?"  Instead, I got a lot of, "Oh, I know that name."  I liked that.  Plus, the authors I met were awesome people with books I now can't wait to read.  Ready for the name-dropping portion of the blog? (Since, as I asininely figured out yesterday, I didn't take any pictures.)  I hope this isn't obnoxious.  Really, it's all coming from the heart of a book fan who also happens to be an author who is very much wowed by how her place in the book universe is shifting.

My author meetings are divided into two categories: those who I met and talked to as Romy's mom and those who I met and talked to as me.  Romy now has a whole huge stack to add to her bursting bookshelves of autographed books.  She met a few of her favorites, such as Grace Lin, April Pulley Sayre, Erin and Phil Stead, and Bryan Collier (who, to this day, she refers to as "Dave the Potter.).  There are probably many more favorites in the stack, but our giant boxes have yet to arrive (oy, remind me not to tell you about the shipping debacle).  The other group of authors were those I met at events and booths, both through my publisher and the bazillion publishers where my husband Matt has past or upcoming books (seriously, that guy is everywhere).  Sadly, I didn't make it to the Macmillan dessert party (sad for not being able to hang with more authors, but also sad that I didn't get to hang with the desserts).  But during the Coffee Klatch, I was introduced to Lish McBride and Marcus Sedgwick by our Macmillan mommy (that's what Marcus called her when he had to go to the bathroom).  It was crazy fun to share stories about food and weather before the Klatch with them, as well as an entertaining cab ride and an hour of booth autographing time.  I felt a sweet bond with them, as though we were all part of the Macmillan family and that somehow made us connected.  Not best buddies connected, but hopefully they'll remember who I am the next time we see each other at an event.  Because, I don't know if everyone knows this, but the YA book world, probably just like all little worlds out there, is cliquey.  Like, high school cliquey.  But since I never worried about fitting in with those kinds of cliques in high school, I also don't feel the need to fit in with those cliques in the YA author world.  All I want is some nice people to talk to about writing who I can count on being nice again the next time I see them.  I am already comforted by the hilarious Twitter conversation Marcus, Lish and I had the day after we met.  If you don't follow any of us on Twitter, the chat had something to do with octopi, clowns, and mustaches (now don't you wish you followed us?).  I also had a lovely time talking with Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame at an Abrams party.  He was impressed that Romy knew who Darth Vader was after he gave her an origami version (so cool!). And I can't forget my good friend, James Klise, who was at ALA as a librarian and as the recipient of a Stonewall Honor Award for his book, Love Drugged.  We had a couple (gross) lunches together, and he was Romy's sitter during Matt and my double signing.  Not to mention the fact that he picked up a jester's hat at the airport that Romy really wanted.  Yay Jim!  There were many other authors, librarians and bloggers alike who made ALA a spectacular time.

Hope this post wasn't too rambly.  I had many interruptions and now just want to put it up.  Don't forget the Don't Stop Now Blog Tour!  Here are a couple Julie links:
My favorite Movie Soundtracks at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
A short interview (ug, my first answer is obnoxious) at A Good Addiction
A really thoughtful review at The Rusty Key


storyqueen said...

Sounds like you had a great time at ALA.

And I really loved the bit about not caring if you fit into the clique or not...I felt it, dude.


Julie H said...

I hope it didn't sound like I really DID care about being in a clique and I was only trying not to care. Because I'm sure it could be read either way. But that was sort of the whole point of writing Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, so hopefully you really did know it was sincere.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I'm glad you had fun! I wish I had seen you more than just in passing though!:) But it was still great to see you!! Maybe next year, right?