So that was fun (speaking at FAME, I mean). It was the first time I’d spoken at a big conference for media specialists. I’m very comfortable going into schools to speak, but talking to media specialists just seemed scarier somehow. I don’t know why…I LIKE media specialists…maybe because a conference like this is more formal? I don’t know…media specialists really aren’t any scarier than kids are. I even had an audience for my presentation! (Not everyone went to hear Jack Gantos…or maybe they’d heard him earlier — he spoke twice…I only spoke once…)
BTW, I SAW Jack Gantos…we sat at right angles to one another (with our backs to each other) for our book signing, but we never actually met. I wanted to meet him badly enough that I think I could have gone up to him and introduced myself…except he had a line of people in front of him when I walked in for my book signing. And then lo and behold when I sat down, people lined up in front of me, too. So we never spoke. It’s POSSIBLE we were on the same bus to the airport, too…I wasn’t positive because the guy I thought was him was wearing different clothes than the guy in the book signing booth, so it was possible he was a completely different guy.
This was a BIG conference. There were 1400 people there. I never even saw Dave Barry or Ridley Pearson or Dan Gutman or Peg Kehret or Vivian Vande Velde (I met her in Warrensburg, so I’d definitely recognize her if I saw her) or Alex Flinn (bummer). I did see Jacqueline Woodson (she was signing books…for a small, possibly educational, publisher, so I didn’t get to meet her, either). And I met a lot of really nice media specialists.
The resort was beautiful…though it was a little scary the night I arrived. I am not normally a person who is nervous to walk around alone at night (in fact, my husband doesn’t like it that I sometimes go for a walk by myself at night during the Christmas season…I like to see all the lights in the neighborhood). But I was a little nervous about walking around alone there. It was dark…I hadn’t seen the place in daylight hours yet. The complex was HUGE…(there was a nice jogging path around a small lake in the middle, and that was .75 of a mile…if you walked around the outer edge of the complex, it was much further around). I didn’t get to the resort until after registration for the conference had closed for the day (so I didn’t know I had a voucher in my registration packet for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning). My room was about half a mile from the nearest place to get dinner. Did I mention this was a very DARK place??? There was a sign in my room warning me not to walk alone at night, stay to well-lit paths etc. And there was absolutely nobody out walking. So I was a little nervous walking over to the restaurant by myself. But I managed.
The resort looked beautiful in the morning, though. Lots of palm trees and flowers. And, coming from Iowa, the weather was amazing. I was glad I’d packed shorts…since I didn’t have to be anywhere until 1:00, I walked the jogging path several times and just enjoyed being outside in the bright warm sunshine. I missed my family more than I usually do when I’m away, though. I don’t mind being by myself (sometimes I rather enjoy being by myself)…but you don’t see many people who are alone at a Disney resort. It’s the kind of place that attracts FAMILIES. So I was painfully aware that my family wasn’t there with me.
My only real complaint is that of all the books they could have put on my name tag, they chose to put The Great Tooth Fairy Rip-Off, which was my first book. It’s been out of print for about 5 years now. It’s the only book I have that’s out of print. So why would they put THAT book on my name tag??? Why not put Trading Places with Tank Talbott? That’s the book that was on their children’s choice award list…I’m assuming that book was the whole reason I got invited to speak there in the first place? Oh well…overall, it was a lot of fun. Media specialists are my kind of people!