So, ten years ago today I returned to Maine from my first time in L.A. and my first Society of Children’s Book Writers Summer Conference. My first book had just come out. I was surrounded by authors. I wore fleece because I am from Maine. Fleece! FLEECE!!!
And I found this blog post from then.
Now, this normal part of my brain is like, “Hey, Carrie! Read that! It will be cool to see how much you’ve matured and how the themes of your life have changed.”
And the anxious party of my brain is all, “Um. No. You might not want to do that. We all know what happens when you get introspective.”
So, I looked. Because I am like that.
These cuties are all like, “No! Carrie! Don’t look!”
Here it is, if you want to look, too.
I JUST GOT BACK HOME FROM THE LA CONFERENCE!
And I have to make dinner and do laundry and love up the cat, but I wanted to post this self-involved blog about the conference rather than actually posting something useful.
THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED IN LA….
The reasons why I can’t schmooze:
- I just like meeting people. I don’t like meeting people because I think they can do something for me. I like to watch their faces, see them get excited, bored, happy. I like to hear their voices and listen to their stories.
- I tend not to notice if people are famous. This is mostly because I have a family full of truck drivers and semi-famous people. I tend to like the truck drivers better. It’s the Maine Girl in me.
- I get annoyed when other people suck up to celebrity people they don’t know. It’s the forced laugh thing that gets me.
- Because sometimes I feel bad for the celebrity people who are thrust into the role of popular at a conference. Like, I’m wondering if it’s easy for Meg Cabot or Judy Blume or M.T. Anderson or John Green to suddenly have people wanting to talk to them because they are amazing and successful writers, rather than because of who they are inside.
- If I get on a bus coming back from the SCBWI faculty dinner in LA I do not notice that the guy next to me won the Caldecott. And part of me is like, “That’s nice” but not all “OHHHH…. WOWWIE WOW WOW.”
- If I am riding on the bus coming back from the SCBWI faculty dinner in LA and the guy in front of me is really nice and a fantastic singer and actually knows who John Gorka is and has heard of the song I’m From New Jersey, I will be way more impressed by:
- his voice, which is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
- the fact that he will sing I’m From New Jersey out loud with me
- the fact that he LOVES John Gorka, who I also love
than by the fact that he:
- is the vice president of Scholastic
- edited J.K. Rowling
- is a big-wig
In fact I will not even realize he’s a big-wig editor person until after I’ve sung with him in the bus, the parking lot and the lobby and listened to his cool story about Tracy Chapman in the elevator.
In fact, I will never even introduce myself because I AM THAT BAD AT NETWORKING.
And the truth is that now I’m super bummed. I’m not bummed because I failed to schmooze. I’m actually more bummed by the fact that he is a big-wig editor person so how can I ever tell him how cool I thought he was without making it seem like I want something. I do not want something.
A really nice woman told me at the LA Conference, “It’s okay. You’re still a baby at this.”
Which is sweet, but I’m not really sure I want to grow up.
I mean, I obviously want to publish more books, but I don’t want to do the schmoozy stuff. And I have to write more books worthy of being published. I don’t want to meet people only for my own career gains. I really like Arthur Levine (the above mentioned editor man). I loved the picture he showed me of his son making a goofy face. I loved how he really contemplated whether his son would be okay at a So Cal beach where there were leopard shark sightings.
I feel the same way about so many people I met for the first time in LA and hadn’t met before.
Plus, I dress up as Fern for Halloween. That’s what a dork I am. Of course I can’t schmooze!
So now it’s ten years later and I still fail at the marketing part of being an author, of the trying to get in with the cool kids in the industry, or even noticing who the cool kids are.
“Is it that you don’t notice or you don’t care or you’re afraid that if you do notice your motivations won’t be true?” The Man asks.
This is why I don’t need a therapist. I have The Man.