I was in San Antonio this past Thursday and Friday for TLA, the Texas Library Association’s Annual Conference. Earlier in the week I’d had the idea to bring my mic and record bits of flavor for the podcast, which even at the time seemed weird and little bit crazy. So I had to do it. And I do think it came out pretty well. Have a listen here: Episode 10: The Librarian Conference.
Something I don’t go into too much detail about in the episode is my getting to spend time with other authors. I was on two panels – one about diversity, and the other with a group of fellow debut authors. Getting to spend time with people who are also writing for kids and teens, who are all at different stages in their careers, and who all have different perspectives and life experiences … it was absolutely invaluable. Both energizing, and grounding.
I recently talked on my friend Jarrett’s podcast about how I’ve come to see conferences as retreat experiences. You go away somewhere unfamiliar, you meet new people and see distant friends. You break your patterns of time, space, thought. You come back inspired. The challenge is to integrate the new ideas and intentions into your daily practice. And it’s here, I find, that your more-local communities help maintain that practice. Keep you on the path, until the next getaway. If retreat happens once or twice a year, then maintenance happens something like once a week. I’m writing this in part, to remind myself: Look around you.
This was the last major travel that I had planned for the book. I’m finally starting to feel rooted again. Last Tuesday I took my bike out for the first ride or the year. I guess that means it’s spring.