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Monday, November 20, 2006

Get On The Bus!

Here are some pix of my trip to Nashville to speak at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference last weekend. Left to right: Susan Lubner, author of RUTHIE BON BAIR: Do Not Go To Bed With Wringing Wet Hair (wearing her incomparable "Ruthie Bon Bair Hair"), me (wearing my squirrel hat), Joanna Cole, author of the eight-gazillion Magic School Bus books, and Bruce Degan, illustrator of the Magic School House books and many, many more, including the classic JAMBERRY.

The conference was lots of fun, as it gave me an opportunity to meet LOTS of enthusiastic teachers (many of whom snapped up the hot-off-the-presses NINETY-THREE IN MY FAMILY CLASSROOM ACTIVITY GUIDE), to see several author pals (big shout-out to Lauren Myracle, who I wish lived nearer to me!) and meet a couple more, and to hang out with my wonderful editor, Susan Van Metre and my outstanding pubility guru Jason Wells.

I also got to hang out with Susan Lubner (pictured above), who is a hat-ful of fun, I tell ya! We got lost about fifty times in the first five minutes with our "navigation-system-equipped" rental car, but after we got the hang of it, we piloted it out of the Opryland galaxie and all the way to an amazing Road-Food-endorsed lunch spot called SWETTS, where I had this feast:

MMMMMM! I could live on that squash casserole (located at 12 o'clock, above the fried chicken), I tell ya!

It was a good thing we ate hearty, though, because the Opryland Convention Center was designed by some bizarre sadists who seemed bent on keeping attendees decaffeinated, hungry and dry. The only vending machine I ever saw ran out of water early on in the conference and was never refilled, getting ANY coffee required a 45 minute wait in line at a cookie store and having lunch on the premises was basically impossible (after an hour of trying to find a place to sit and be fed and only succeeding in obtaining a beeper - which looked less than edible - Susan Lubner and I gave up and retreated to the airport).

Opryland is a strange, wacky universe, I noted to Tobin Anderson as we stared up at the bubble dome covering the faux version of antebellum New Orleans. "Sort of like being in the eighteenth century, only sent into space," he replied. Which we then realized would be like a bizarre combination of at least two of his recent books (Octavian Nothing and Feed... with a bit of Whales on Stilts tossed in for ambiance, in my opinion).

But I'll stop complaining because, these inconveniences aside, I actually love every minute of attending book conferences. There's something very thrilling about walking onto a book conference floor and striding up to a table where people will line up for you to sign your books. When we finished making wrong turns and actually got the car to move in the right direction, the navigation system told us "You Have Arrived."

Which is exactly what it felt like. Posted by Picasa

Erica--This is the first time I've checked out your blog. It's delightful. I was pretty thrilled by the yummy fried chicken and even more excited when I scrolled down to see my very own child so prominently displayed. She actually chose to be Hillary Clinton all on her own, however, in fairness and for full disclosure, she was initially motivated by the First Lady ballgowns at the Smithsonian. Thus, her costume reflects Hillary circa 1993 at the inaugural ball. As an aside, a number of parents suggested certain additions to the costume--running shoes to indicate the move from first lady to presidential candidate or a pin saying 2008 indicating that this was Hillary's inaugural gown for her own inauguration. Funny thing is, I'm more of John Edwards fan. . .
anyway, great blog, delightful books, you rock! Mary G.
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