At this time of year, I am usually out in the bitter, biting morning with a friend on a bleak, frozen Strawberry Reservoir ice fishing. The worm salesman tells us, “You keep them meal worms warm by sticken’ ’em in the corner of ‘ur mouth and then thread them on the end of ‘ur hook. Then when you catch that whopper you pull it out of a itty bitty hole and if you’re lucky you can save that meal worm and use it for the next fish.”
This year I was at the 2012 Annual SCBWI Winter Conference at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station in New York City eating a scoop of mashed potato with a bit of caviar on it from the mashed potato bar. It tasted a whole lot better than “them meal worms kept warm” in the corner of my mouth.
Usually at this time of year, I am jogging past snowy pastures and my audience is a horse or two that can’t believe that anyone else is outside on such a winter morning.
This year I was introducing Martha Rago’s breakout session, the Associate Creative Director for Harper Collins Children’s Books in the Empire State Ballroom. I introduced her, sat down and started taking notes and noticed that my hand was quaking so bad that I would never be able to deciper my notes. This is my first page of notes after I sat down.
On the opposite page of my sketch book is a quote from Henry Winkler who happened to stop by the conference and talk to us with Lin Oliver. He said, “If you write what you know it will jump off the page.” It looks like my notes almost did.
Most days in January I am in my studio painting away with water color on an illustration that is so humorous to me, that I can’t help smiling at my self. It is very quiet except for the radio in the morning and the Ellen show in the afternoon. There is no one to talk to. I am in complete solitude.
This year I was practicing my networking skills at the Portfolio Showcase and VIP Cocktail Party. I felt more comfortable putting a meal worm on a fish hook. I did venture into the group and found an art director I knew and I found a new artist friend. We even had one of Carol Williams‘ Editors, Alexandra Penfold from Simon and Schuster, come up and say “Hi!” to us.
All in all, it was a great place to be on a January weekend and I left with some of my favorite things: some great tips on marketing for the illustrator, new friends, and several new, beautifully illustrated picture books.
When I got home, I was sketching and my grandson came up to me and said, “Are you working, Grandma?”
I said, “Yes I’m sketching.”
“Will you get me a piece of paper and a pencil Grandma?”
“Yes. climb on up here.”
It’s good to be home.