In Uncategorized on May 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm
The Scholastic family dinner at ALA Annual 2012 was a pretty memorable event for me. Among the many quality people I met that night was Raina Telgemeier, who I had the good fortune to be seated next to. I’m still largely clueless about the current world of comic book creators, but a year ago I was thoroughly, irredeemably clueless, and although I’d seen SMILE on bookstore shelves I had no idea who Raina actually was. There was probably an upside to that – thinking “OMG, NYT bestseller & Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier” might have made me act like more of a numbskull than I did – and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with her during the meal.
A few months later Raina appeared at one of my local indie stores for the Scholastic Graphix Tour, and I dropped by. Despite the fact that I’d spent a couple of hours chatting with Raina at that Scholastic dinner, I was neurotically prepared for the possibility that she wouldn’t remember me, but she did. Shockingly, she even appeared visibly happy to see me. The signing line was catastrophically long, as expected, and when my turn at the front arrived Raina gave me a big smile and a hug. We chatted for a bit, and I went home in a very chipper mood. Meeting someone and discovering that they’re not only spectacularly talented and successful but also genuinely sweet is, well, it’s a good thing. It dishes up a nice thick slab of hope or optimism or something, don’t you think?
In Uncategorized on May 20, 2013 at 8:19 am
Last summer I attended the ALA Annual Conference for the first time. One of the individual events I went to was a dinner for all of the Scholastic people in attendance, where I met a bunch of people for the first time, including Trent Reedy. Now, it’s more or less common knowledge by now that I’m plagued by a gargantuan case of social anxiety, so I was grappling with that in the usual manner when we arrived at the restaurant. Trent (who wasn’t seated in the same part of the vaguely obscene, sparkly red Hummer/limo that Scholastic sent for us) gave me a big hug, expressed great enthusiasm about the fact that we share an agent (the fabulous Ammi-Joan Paquette, of course), and bought me a drink. I was and continue to be deeply appreciative of the fact that at my very first conference as a published author and my very first Scholastic family dinner, Trent made the effort to greet me in a manner that actually made me feel like family. I’ll never forget it.
In Uncategorized on May 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm
Being one of those socially inept introverts who give a bad name to introverts in general is often hard – the psychological ricochet after social events is discombobulating, the fear of social judgment is tiresome to do battle with, and the suspicion that the rest of the world is speaking a language you lack fluency in is discouraging. And yet, I seem to be developing positive relationships with people in the children’s publishing industry anyway. I still feel out of place and out of sorts on a regular basis, and I’m certain I’ll have to contend with those feelings for the rest of my life, but the feeling of belonging that I have in this community is the strongest such feeling I’ve ever had in any community. It’s not entirely substantial – the overwhelming majority of my interactions with people are virtual, and those interactions are limited by nature – but there’s more substance to this multiplicity of new relationships than I originally would have dared hope for. And the number of people who I feel a genuine, real-world, non-internet bond with is shockingly large, at least by my standards. It’s a somewhat theatrical question to ask, but have I found my place in the world? I wonder if I have. It’s a startling thought.