ALA is coming to an end. I can still here the sounds of the crowds stories above me as they eat cake and down as much alcohol as possible following the Michael Printz Awards reception. What should I tell you I have enjoyed the most. Is it running into amazing librarians from all parts of the world, including one from Bangladesh? Is it doing the author version of speed dating? Was it simply making it here after the chaos of travel, which I will walk about later?
For all of you who have never gone, a national conference can be a real PITA. You're there, everything you want to go to takes place simultaneously at spots across town, it's crowded, and there aren't enough hours in the day. That being said, there must be a reason why I've gone 4 years straight, paying out of pocket the last 3 times. (If any of you want to contribute to my Visa bill, please e-mail me. I'll take it all---dollars, pennies, pesos, whatever.)
It's...magical in a way. This week I spoke with Toni Morrison, if only for a second, sat down next to Laurie Halse Anderson, taken pictures of John Grisham, and sat on my knees in the front aisle to sing along with Natalie Merchant. There were old friends to have lunch with, new friends to make at breakfast, lost connections made at parties thrown by vendors in an effort to intoxicate you enough to sign a binding 5-year contract you won't remember until the invoice arrives on the director's desk. It's wonderful, yet it's awful to know I have to go back to work and rejoin Library Land after going to truly innovative programs and no one telling me their child just peed on the multi-colored furniture.
But most of all, it's just plain fun.
To be continued...