Monday, August 29, 2011

ALA Recap

Yoouuu guuuuuuuyyyss...

How could you let me forget to give you an ALA recap?! It's been weeks, and I haven't even talked about the books (THE BOOKS!), or the authors (THE AUTHORS!), or all the awesome bloggers (THE BLOGGERS!) I got to meet. Shame on me you for forgetting!

So way back in June I had the great opportunity to attend three days of the ALA annual convention. Believe me though, it was really due to sheer luck this year's conference was in New Orleans. Had it not been literally down the river I would have never convinced Josh to go after dragging him to NYC just a month before. However, he was a good sport and agreed to be my packhorse loving companion for the weekend.

ALA for me started Friday night sans Josh with the opening ceremony. I was really stoked about attending because the keynote speaker was none other than Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project. I am a huge supporter of this foundation, so hearing him speak was an incredible honor. During his speech, I laughed, cried, probably garnered a few side eyes from the guy sitting next to me, and left feeling incredibly proud of the progress being made toward equality.*

After the opening session, the show floor opened. I made a few rounds, picked up more books than I could carry comfortably, and headed home to get some rest for the next day.
Josh and I headed out bright and early Saturday morning as I had a tight schedule for the next two days. Author signings included Ruta Sepetys, Cassandra Clare, Laini Taylor, Ilsa J. Bick, and Mette Ivie Harrison. There were lots of books and swag picked up in between, but we left the convention center around 4:30 to hit Bourbon Street. There Josh and I met the lovely Rachel of Parajunkee who organized a blogger meet and greet! We also met Sasha of Sash & Em, Christy of The Fiction Enthusiast, Patti of Caught in a FAB Romance, Laura of Life after Jane, and Jen of I Read Banned Books. After hanging out there for a while, we headed over to another blogger meet up hosted by the talented ladies of YA Highway. Rachel, Sasha, Christy, Patti, Josh, and I headed over to meet a slew of other bloggers and authors. I didn't take any pictures, but I did shamelessly steal this one from Kirsten Hubbard ;)
LtoR: Kate Hart, Kirsten Hubbard, Rachel, Sasha, Josh, and me
By the time we left our new friends, Josh and I were pretty exhausted. Luckily we had a hotel room in the city, so we were able to catch up before heading back the the convention center the next morning.

If we thought Saturday was tough, Sunday proved to be more of a marathon. Author signings included Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, Maureen Johnson, Janne Teller, Brian Katcher, A.S. King, David Levithan, Sara Zarr, Lucy Christopher, Maggie Stiefvater, Jeff Hirsch, Brian Selznick, Karen Healey, and Lauren Myracle.

I feel like this post is already epic-ly long, but I would like to share two stories with you.

First, my main reason for going to ALA was John Green. He was scheduled to be there with Will Grayson, Will Grayson co-author David Levithan, got sick, and had to cancel. I was devastated mildly upset. I lugged all his books to New Orleans, went over witty things to say to him, and dreamed of how the picture of David, John, and myself would look on my office desk. I was actually looking forward to standing in a ridiculously long line to see David and John together and was pretty bummed about missing it. You see, I had David sign my copy back in New York. But then I had this idea. What if I stood in line anyway? What if I had David write a note to John in my book? What if they thought I was freaking crazy? So I took the chance anyway, being herded into line by none other than Julie Strauss-Gabel. I sheepishly told David my idea, to which he happily abliged, and stood there a very long time while he wrote this:
It is now possibly my most prized possession. Having to wait a little longer to meet John doesn't feel so bad now. It also makes me feel a little better about UPS letting my BEA box get wet...

My second story requires a brief explanation. I had, for some time, been working on a super secret project. It was kept secret not because I didn't want to share it, but because I was pretty sure it would fail. Fail it did, and despite already guessing the outcome, I was upset. So, naturally, I whined about it on twitter. I expressed my disappointment and asked what to do. And then, this crazy thing happened.
And then another crazy thing happened. And I kid you not, someone texted me to confirm that I was ACTUALLY HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ELLEN HOPKINS ON TWITTER. To which I responded: "Yeah, I can't believe it either."
So I apparently emailed her because Ellen Hopkins did indeed email me with resources. (If you're wondering what this is all about, I promise to fill you in later. This post has been long enough.)

So anyway, back to ALA. Ellen was scheduled to be there, so I really wanted to introduce myself and thank her again for her words of encouragement. Josh basically shoved me into the lady, and in my attempt to convey to her how much her tweet and later email meant to me, I completely embarrassed myself by crying. Okay, I didn't sob or anything, but I was definitely teary and had a little trouble forming sentences. And then... Ellen Hopkins freaking hugged me! And then I may or may not have cried and hid at the back of the convention center to regroup.

Despite John Green's absence and my Ellen Hopkins mishap, I had a fabulous time at ALA. I met some wonderful bloggers, talked to authors I love (JENNY HAN GAVE ME AN "I HEART CONRAD" BUTTON!), and probably picked up more books than I can read. If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

*This was of course the same day gay marriage was legalized in New York. You could imagine my elation when I came home to that news!

1 comment:

  1. 1. how did i not see this post earlier?
    2. how did i not know that i was in a photo?! i don't even remember taking that picture! haha
    3. this makes me sad and i wish that i was surrounded by good books and great bloggers again.
    4. also, i will say this again - if we're at more conventions at the same time, i will be following you because i didn't know about HALF the things you did.

    miss you!!!


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