Tuesday, July 02, 2013

ALA and BABY

So I've been away from the blog (nothing new, I realize), but this time my reason is legit! I had a baby! His name is Dean! He was a few weeks early, and he's doing great. Romy is a fantastic big sister, and I am trying to be everything to everyone, as a mom does, and feeling like I'm failing miserably half of the time.

We made a day out for ALA on Saturday, since it was in Chicago. Matt had a signing and a million meetings, and I, well, I walked around and ate stuff and got books. It's weird to step back and think about how ALA used to be for me: When I was a librarian I went to Annual for the first time as a recipient of the Baker and Taylor Award (one school and one public librarian win the award that takes them to the conference). After that I won another ALA award (Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults, I think it was called. Man, I'm foggy.), and after that I went on to be a member of the Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults committee for two years. That was back when I knew Librarian was my calling. Toward the end of my committee work my first novel was published, so ALA turned into a combination librarian/author thing. That's when the confusion began: which hat do I wear, and what does that hat look like (a jaunty one for the author, I'm thinking, and a very comfortable and practical one for the librarian, naturally)? The confidence and comfort I felt as a librarian melded into the awkwardness of being an "author" (and believe you me, there is awkwardness in a job that mostly involves me being in a room by myself). And then I had a kid. ALA turned into Finding Authors to Autograph Books for My Child time (while still being a librarian AND an author). Soon after, I left my middle school librarian job to be home with my daughter, so ALA turned into Mommy/Author time. Equally awkward and more and more complicated to maneuver. I felt like a fraud of a librarian (not having a job and all), mostly a mom with just a sprinkle of author tossed in when I had a dinner or signing to attend.

That brings us to this year. With a two week old baby on my chest and a four and a half year-old in a stroller, I roamed the floor, gathering books and trying to keep my energy up. The ARCs for my next novel, The F-It List (out November of this year) were available at the Macmillan Kids booth, and the book's cover appeared on the booth banner. Yet, that was pretty much the extent of my authorly-ness. No signings, no meetings, no meals. Not knowing when the baby would be born, I couldn't schedule in any author things to do. And having him born early, my brain couldn't have handled much anyway.

So what does this mean for ALAs in the future? Will I ever be an actual librarian again? Will I ever feel like a real author? Will I ever attend without my kids again? Only time will tell. I noticed next year's annual is in Las Vegas. That could be interesting. As I recall, there's a massive M&M store. And, you know, some shows and gambling and stuff. I wonder if the kids will be down with that.

And now for some pictures! I handed Romy the camera at the Mac Kids booth, and here's what she came up with:

Me! Can't you tell?
Gordy! Romy's teddy bear.

I have to say, Romy is a great photographer. I asked her to get me (and my chins) and the book cover on the banner, and there we are!

Romy wanted me to include this picture of books.

11 comments:

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Congrats on the new baby!

Ronni Selzer said...

I didn't find out until after the fact that you were there! And I didn't know about your ARC until I was at the booth and I saw Get Well Soon and mentioned how much I loved that book, and a rep went under the special table covering and got one for me. I'm SO excited to read it. It's a great title! :)

I didn't realize how exhausting ALA could be and I only did the exhibits! But man it wore me out. Worth it, though. :)

Also, congratulations! Hope you're doing well!

Julie H said...

Thanks, Amy! Stoked you got the ARC, Ronni! Hope you enjoy it!

craftysunday said...

I missed you, too! Lillian told me Matt was going to be there, and I was going to go say hi (all stalker-weirdy, because I've never met him) but I was so overwhelmed I basically just rode the sea of people in a fog. That place is too much for me. I didn't even know I could get free books, really. Then I was really disappointed that there wasn't a book cart drill team this year (WHAT GIVES?!)...oh well! It looks, from Romy's pictures, like you guys had oodles of fun. :)

--mindi

Betsy said...

Congratulations on baby Dean! I hope one day to make it to ALA Annual, but with summer being our busiest time at my library, I don't know if it will ever happen.

Julie H said...

Mindi, it is crazy. Something about the lighting, I think. I didn't realize they didn't have a book cart drill team competition this year. Mwah. And thanks, Betsy! As a school librarian, summer seems like a great time, but it makes sense that it's a public library's busiest time. Hope our paths cross one of these years!

Nina said...

Don't forget your time standing in the Wizards booth pimping D&D! Good times!!!

Congrats on the baby! --Nina

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Well, it looks like you did have some fun, at least. I just keep telling myself that my kiddo will never be a kiddo again. This is it, and I'm only having one, so I have to live it up. Someone recently said, "This is the only time in her life that you will be the center of it. Cherish that." So I do, and all that authorly stuff just has to tone down for awhile.

Congrats on your baby! I'm really looking forward to your next book. :)

Julie H said...

Nina, how could I forget? And Michelle, so true. I know I am going to freak out when Romy is in school full time. Then who will I be? Oy.

Kristina Springer said...

Congratulations on the baby!! <3

And go you for making it out to ALA with both kids! I didn't even attempt it this year. :-) Mine are getting a little bigger now (between 5 and 10yrs old) but dang, those days were hard when all four kids were 5 and under and I was trying to do signings and go to ALA and other conferences. It's hard wearing a lot of hats! The mom one is the most fun. :-)

Julie Halpern said...

Kristina,
I don't know how you have any brain left to write books with five young kids. I'm barely cruising with two! I do agree that the mom hat is the most fun, though :)