Greetings from LA! I'm on my lunch break right now, so thought I'd give a quick update. The conference officialy kicked off this morning, but I had fun at the Faculty dinner last night hanging out with Justina Chen Headley (author of NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH [AND A FEW WHITE LIES]), and then drinks later with an assortment of agents, authors, and illustrators including Mo Willems, who I had never met. We had fun trying to think of what one word we would say at the Faculty introductions the next morning--apparently it's tradition for each faculty member to say their name and then one word--either an inspirational word or a funny word, or really whatever you want. We thought of some greatly innapropriate words (vagina, anus, Eskimo, corn nuts...), but in the end none of them were used, of course. I loved the variety of words actually spoken. Some inspirational, "joy," "shine," "passion," some funny: "Kegger!" and the 4'11'' (and a half) Jodi Reamer standing next to 6'5'' David LaRochelle: David's word: "short story", Jodi's word,"tall tale", some random: "treadmill" and "chocolate," and some fitting: "the end" from Lisa Yee, finishing us off.
The two keynote speakers were both magnificent in their own way, although both started off by somewhat insulting LA, which I thought an odd way to start off a speech in front of a room full of mostly locals, but it seemed to work. Jacqueline Woodson was lyrical, engaging, and awe-inspiring, and Mo Willems sardonic and self-deprecating, funny, and eye-opening. A great start to what I hope will be a wildly successful conference! And now I must go prepare for my first workshop: How I work and what I publish at Little, Brown. I just found out I'm speaking in the huge main conference room--I wasn't expecting that, but all will go well, I hope--since I'm just talking about me me me, I think I'll pull it off.
Oh, and my word, of course, was "bloomabilities." At first I was not going to translate it, but after a test run beforehand with people asking, "what's that?" I went ahead and translated it as "possiblities." I think that's why people attend these conferences, for all the possibilities they hold.