Livin' the Dream

I've mentioned it's the Great Depression here at the McCrery household. Opportunities don't seem to pay attention to my empty pockets, though. They still come right up to me and flaunt themselves right under my nose. The really spendy opportunities even do a provocative little dance. I really want to go to cosmetology school. I really want to certify to be a Zumba instructor. And I REALLY wanted to go to this years Forum on Children's Literature at UVU.

Keynote speakers: Shannon Hale (fanning face) and Robert Neubecker.

I wanted to go. OH how I wanted to go. I adore Shannon Hale's work. She's the sort of writer I want to be. Compelling and honest, but still clean. I waved the brochure in front of Bill's face a month ago, and we decided that if he could use his student discount, we would go (making a $400 event cost only $60).

Two days before the event, we find out that he's not allowed to use his student status to register anyone besides himself.

My hopes and dreams were SHATTERED! I was going to learn all the secrets of how to be a "writer mama" from Shannon Hale herself. Now I was going to stay home, and probably do laundry. I tried to put on a brave face, but I couldn't hide my moping disappointment from the one person who knows me better than anyone.

"You're still going," Bill said.

"What? No. That's too much money. Think of what we could do with that."

"It is a lot of money. Consider it an investment."

So my husband (I know, this blog really does brag up the Bill, doesn't it?) invested in my monster sized desire to be an author, took the MonkeyFish for the morning, and sent me on my way to meet Shannon, Robert, and the rest of the gang.

It did not disappoint.

This is Robert Neubecker:

Doesn't he look like a fun guy? He's an illustrator who's done work for the Times, Business Magazine, and loads of other notey publications. Here's one he did for the Times.

Isn't his style fun? He uses INDIA INK with PAINT BRUSHES for his bold strokes, and then colors it in Photoshop. Versatile, neh? So he's this big to-do illustrator, but he still loves to write and illustrate children's books (like I want to do!).

I bought Wyatt a copy of his first book "Wow, City!". It's delightful. Wyatt loves it. Robert signed it for Wyatt and everything. After signing the name, Robert smiled and asked, "Is this Wyatt?" Wyatt was with me at the time because Bill had to come and do some PAPER stuff for the UVU Review. Wyatt looked at Robert, pointed at Wow, City!, and said, "Book! Car!" He was a bit frustrated with me because I took the book from him so Robert could sign it.

"Oh, you like cars?" Robert asked pleasantly. Which sent Wyatt into a tirade of "Car!Car!Carcarcarcarcar!" Robert leaned in and said in low tones, "I'm working on a book right now that he'll just love. Tractors, big trucks. BOY stuff." and he looked at Wyatt and gave him a knowing look.

Which sealed the deal for me, and now I'm a hardboiled fan.

Robert was pitching for a chance to do the poster for the movie Sideways. He told us Forum goers that all his illustrator friends were rooting for him to get it, because movie posters ALWAYS go to photographers.

So he did up a bunch of thumbnail sketches and sent them over. He waited a few days. A few days more. Finally, a friend on the inside calls and tells him, "By the way, you got the poster!"

"Great!" says Robert. "When can I send some stuff in?"

There was an awkward silence on the other end, then, "huh? What do you mean? The poster is DONE."

Apparently, they liked his thumbnail so much that they made the poster using that! Robert said, "Oh. Yes. Right. I meant to do that."

This is an illustration that he did for the BYU magazine about how "the economy is going to squish us all". His words.

I loved meeting Robert. But I LOVED meeting Shannon!

Here she is reading to her kids:

She's a young mother of two demanding chillins who has GREAT story ideas and still manages to look adorable.

What Shannon and the Forum basically taught me: It can be done!

She told us at the Forum, "I'm such a story whore!". It was among the first of many things that she admitted to us, and I loved her for it. I, too, am in love with the story in ALL forms told!

Here are some of my favorites of hers:

IN an interview with the Deseret Morning News, Shannon said,

"Too many adults believe they shouldn't read for pleasure anymore. Stuff and nonsense! We need to fall into stimulating stories as much as kids do. The people I know who only let themselves read nonfiction and self-help (books) get downright depressed. Go dive into a ripping good tale!"

Too right!

The forum fed my spark. I'm ready to tackle this thing. 500 words at a time. Sometimes that's what it takes to write a novel.

Is it a problem, do you think, that I want to write YA novels and write and illustrate picture books?


b. said...

THIS is very cool!

What a fun day! Glad you got to go!

Swanky Mommy said...

It's not a problem at all. It's actually awesome. Did you know it's actually harder to write a picture book? Probably not for you though . . . sigh

That Girl in Brazil said...

I'll be the first in line to by your book, girlie. I love your writing - I'm just sorry I didn't find you sooner!

And Shannon Hale is my new favorite. I've been hooked since Princess Academy!

That Girl in Brazil said...

Ummm ... BUY. I do know how to spell, ya know.