Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speak Easy

Last week I had the honor of receiving the South Carolina Association of School Librarians Young Adult Book Award. I had never been to Columbia, SC, so I made it a point for the family to visit every museum and interesting place I could find (if you've read my book, Don't Stop Now, you know of my love of road trips. Not that this was a road trip, but it was a new city to explore. And we explored it!). It's complicated juggling my family, who always travel with me, and the conference. The first morning of my stay, I joined the awesome Heather Burch and Sophie Jordan for a YA panel. Here we are, bright and early:

I think Heather posted this pic. Thanks, Heather!
The thing that struck me about these two women, besides their fabulous hair (seriously, why didn't I get a haircut before this conference?) was how ambitious they were. So many ideas! So many books! It was very interesting to hear how paranormal writers (oooh- that makes it sound like they have powers!) organize their thoughts. Entire worlds of which to keep track.

After that, I joined my family (including mother-in-law and brother-in-law) at two museums: Edventure, a children's museum, and the South Carolina State Museum, which I thought would just be some crusty collection of pressed flowers but ended up being a wonderful amalgam of science, history, nature. Then it was back to the convention center for autographs and out to dinner with Mackin, who helped sponsor me at the conference, and a great group of SC librarians.

The next day I spoke at the buttcrack of dawn to a group who kindly made the effort to wake up. For some reason, I brought up Jeffrey Dahmer not once, but twice. Then it was back to family time, where I dragged the family into the office at this place:

We could see the factory from our hotel, and I was semi-obsessed. I imagined that the actual name of the owner of the company was "Adler," but with thick Southern accents the name somehow became "Adluh." We bought some grits and cornbread mix.

At noon I went to the ballroom for the awards luncheon, and I was blown away by how fancy the room was set up! I wish I took a picture. The only picture I have of me giving my acceptance speech is this one posted by librarian Julie Putnam:
How lovely and hunched I look! What was hilarious was that the award winners and some committee member librarians had to sit at a table on the stage. It was hilarious because we also had to eat lunch up there. I was glad that they didn't expect us to eat lunch while everyone was giving speeches; lunch came first, speeches second. My family was able to watch my speech, which made it extra special. And check out the actual award:

I may have to turn it into a necklace, a la Flava Flav and his clocks.

After the lunch, it was on to the Columbia Museum of Art. By then we were all tired (I'm going to go out on a limb and say especially me), so we didn't stay long. But we did manage to enjoy this sign posted on the door to the museum:
No knives or guns. Yup.

We finished off our day with a stop at Mast General Store, a place I love mainly because they have buckets of candy that I must buy. That night we ate in the hotel room and watched so many episodes of Spongebob that Romy needed to detox when we got home.

Our last day in Columbia was spent at their great zoo, where we actually managed to walk around without jackets for part of the day. Aaaahhhhh.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, and I have to thank the SCASL again for the award and the invite. It's nice to be back home, even with more snow, for some well-deserved rest and Moon Pies


Betsy said...

That is a fine looking award! Congratulations. I have never seen a no knife or gun sign before. I kind of like it. I wonder if a pocket knife counts as a real knife, though. I always have one in my purse and always forget it's there.

hellskitchen said...

I'm so glad you bought grits and Moon Pies. Two things South Carolina's good at. And you spoke alongside the lovely Sophie Jordan (I c/e'd all three of her Firelight books). I was checking your blog to see your reaction to this--
Congrats, Julie. Well deserved.

Julie H said...

Betsy, We didn't get a chance to find out about pocket knives. Matt had his taken away at the airport (again). And Anne, that's so cool that you c/e'd Sophie's books! She was great! And thank you about the list!