Last evening, I had the pleasure of attending a gathering of local children's writers and illustrators at Waterloo Ice House, hosted by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Approximately 60 to 70(?) people showed up to hang out, talk trade, and to share their newest literary news.
It was a blast. I chatted it up with folks I've known for awhile — Frances Hill-Yansky, Brian Yansky, Chris Barton, Varian Johnson, Brian Anderson, Mark Mitchell, Jo Whittemore, Greg Leitich Smith. I also made acquaintance with a few new names — P.J. Hoover (with photos!, scroll down), Jennifer Ziegler, Carmen Oliver, and others.
I'm not a socialite at all, so I feel awful that I didn't get around to chatting with so many other familiar faces.
In addition to collecting a few business cards, I received three signed copies of Brian Anderson's The Adventures of Commander Zack Proton. This is an excellent series of books, especially for boys, and I can't wait to share these with my son (after I read them).
Cynthia, as usual, was a warm host, welcoming everyone, never leaving anyone out. She has a certain . . . star power, which always seems to blind-side me whenever I'm within a few feet of her. She'll walk up, greet me with a warm hug and say something nice. But then when I speak to her, my words just kind of fall out my mouth clumsily and in no particular order. She'll play along, give me her full attention and continue to chat with me, while I attempt to sweep my words up off the floor and put them back together into legible sentences. It's usually quite messy.
Frances was as sweet as ever, several times checking in on my wife, who I unintentionally left alone to put a killing on a plate of buffalo wings.
As far as consumption goes, I did good. Although it was sort of a happy hour event, I made due with plain ol' lemonade and a stick of Doublemint gum. And I passed on the trans fats, instead opting for sushi from Central Market on the way home.
I'm not one to attend the monthly meetings on a regular basis, so it was nice to go and catch up with everyone.