I shouldn't complain because ultimately the venue was easy to maneuver, if you can get over the idea of wanting to walk from where I'm staying (the Yacht Club) to where much of the action is taking place (the Coronado). I mean, the shuttle service was pretty good and always on time. Kudos to those drivers and organizers. But man, the weather was, for the most part, awesome and would that there would've been more forethought on keeping the show as green as could be. At times, I was one of two people on the buses traveling back and forth. TV stunk, for the most part, and it was kind of funny to walk into my room and see a Mickey head on one of the beds fashioned out of hand and face towels.
I'll tell you what: it was great seeing Chris Crowe again, Matt de la Pena, Dana Reinhardt, Janet Wong, Wendy Lamb, Adrienne Waintraub (as always, too cool for school!), Bill Broz (a very awesome co-presenter), Lyn Miller-Lachman, Steve Schneider, Lee Byrd, Benjamin Alire, and the list goes on and on and on. Cool meeting Amy (A.S.) King. Teri Lesesne. Kenan Metzger. James Blasingame. Walter, the Giant Heart. The folks at National Geographic School Publishing: Andy, Tamara, Ellen, and the crew. Marina Tristan at Arte Publico. More later as my memory refreshes.
Got lots of reading done, started on a new story (long or short? don't know--it hasn't defined itself yet in that regard). Had a novel pretty much rejected, but it serves as the impetus to get back to work on it, or on something else.
ALAN was great. I got to sit in on several of the sessions and a couple of the break-outs. Would love to be invited back. I think one of the highlights for me was being on a panel titled "It's a Guy Thing," moderated by Kenan Metzger. The other panelists included Martin Chatterton (a very hip British dude), Brent Crawford, Tom Angleberger, and Derrick Barnes. Tom was hilarious! Especially when he introduced the Shipless Pirates in his latest book. But Derrick was, to me, the highlight. He spook about a man's responsibility for his family and his community. And then on the plane back I got to read his latest novel, We Could Be Brothers, in which he writes about two boys, each from opposite ends of the social economic stratus, but they got each other's back, even through the toughest of situations. It's a must read.