I spent the first day home from the NE-SCBWI conference thinking about what had gone wrong, and what I had done or said that wasn’t “right.”
Sometimes I make the mistake of talking to strangers as if they already know who I am, are privy to the inside joke, or have heard the beginning of a conversation I had weeks ago. I worry, later (always later), that the joke or point I was making didn’t come across at all, because, well, you’d have to know me to understand where I was coming from.
Dude. At NE-SCBWI, I said some weird things to agents. And made a comment about drinking in front of someone I had just met, a comment which totally could have been misconstrued.
Evidently I like to torture myself (afterwards, always afterwards). But this same skill and attention to detail might just make the difference between a good manuscript and a great one, as I turn in to do another revision.
The second day after the conference, I remembered my favorite moments. Sure, Grace Lin dissecting the Chinese characters for the word "love" to mean "swallowing your heart" was amazing.
But my favorite moments were the human ones. People reacting to me in the same ways for which I was berating myself. Those funny things that make us connect, through our mistakes or quirks. Through our need for chocolate (I’m looking at you, Stephen Fraser!) and those silly times we put our foot in our mouths, or miss the mark on a joke.
I love those human moments.
I think of how refreshing it is to land at a blog like Matt’s, that talks about how he stumbled around while querying. Made all the mistakes. Because, boy, I have too! (On a side note, who wants Matt to come to NE-SCBWI next year??!!)
How that means so much more to me than someone spouting out the correct way to do things. How trying to be perfect (and the flip side of this—judging others) just turns everyone off.
How the best parts of life are the messy ones.
And, the following has NOTHING to do with mistakes, but cuteness and utter kindness:
Cowgirl (in first grade now) did a report on Anna for school. And she became Anna for a day, and parents had to guess who her Mystery History person was.
|My favorite part? "It was done in the style known as writing which involves a computer." PRECIOUS.|
My other favorite part? That Anna CAME. I am still marveling that Anna has that amount of grace and kindness to make my daughter's day. (Heck, YEAR!)
|Just THIS. Too cute for words!|
And thanks to everyone who made the NE-SCBWI conference such a roaring success!