It is what heaven must be like, I think. A room full of people who adore one thing--in this case, children's literature. I've just returned from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference in New York, and it was terrific. If you could see me, you would know that I'm bowing down to all those people who worked to make it possible. At one point, I thought, okay, this is just incredible. At this one conference, the following amazing legends held court: Lois Lowry, R.L.Stine, Patti Gauch, Jane Yolen, Mark Teague, Jules Fieffer, Sara Zarr, Mo Willems, and Linda Sue Park--just to name a few. Incredible speakers, stories, panels, and an amazing sense of community.
But it's nice to return home. I missed the children, and I am ready to get back to work. It's such a perfect time of year to attend such an inspirational meeting because the grays of winter and the post-Christmas blahs had set in. But now I'm ready to go.
For those of you who haven't flown in a while, I have to tell you--the only thing you are missing is that Sky Mall catalog. The flights are so crowded (the planes are shrinking...), uncomfortable (like ten degrees too warm), running late, and so forth. But truly, that Sky Mall magazine is worth it all. Did you know they make pet doorbells? No kidding. Your pooch can now press a paw-imprinted button which will ring a bell for you to scamper to the door and let him in.
Here's another winning invention. The caption read, "The cat box you don't have to hide". Imagine a large urn (really, about 4-5 feet tall) with a hole in the front middle (presumably for the cat to do its business) and a plant growing out of the top of the urn. Now do you REALLY think a little plant growing out of the top of this urn is going to distract your house guests from the poop fest below?
I also loved the freaky helmet-looking hat that supposedly soothes, calms and heals all your ills by applying pressure to the pressure points of your skull. Hmmm. Where exactly are you going to wear that thing? It's so big and awkward that even if it calms you, you couldn't possibly lie down with it on. It might give you super healing powers, but what happens when you take it off? The pain returns. You can't wear that thing out of the house or people will put you in a special jacket, too.
And then there's all the ridiculous airplane accessories. I love how so many of them are inflatable. When exactly are you allowed to inflate and deflate a giant cheese-shaped wedge that you can stick your head through so rest comfortably on a flight. And what exactly is your neighbor supposed to do while you're sprawled out over this giant puffy pillow? Lean out into the aisle? I can just picture the pillow somehow popping and flying all over the plane like a deflating balloon. People scream, the pilot panics, all over your $50 inflatable pillow. And I hate to tell you, but the first kid who sees it will immediately adopt it as a pool toy.
And is it really so difficult to squeeze the shampoo out of the shampoo bottle? I mean, MUST you have a special shampoo dispenser in your shower? Isn't it enough that we have to use the mysterious dispensers in public bathrooms where the soap looks more like pepto-bismol than soap? And truly, the squirting of the shampoo into the dispenser is basically the same thing as squirting it into your hair, right? So what's the big deal? For the price of a shower shampoo dispenser, a family in the Sudan could have fresh water for a month, maybe more.
Oh, and there are so many more hilarious Sky Mall products, I might have to revisit this topic tomorrow. Until then, sleep well, and dream of a world where I give the keynote at the SCBWI conference. Wait, did I say that out loud?
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.