Sadly, Gina had become ill earlier in the week and was unable to attend. However, she truly was a part of our panel, as she created the bulk of our PowerPoint slideshow, which she then put online. Thank you so much, Gina, for all of your hard work. I hope that you are feeling better and that we do meet up in the future.
Kelly and I met up in the morning and discussed the wonders of technology and travel until TadMack and TechBoy arrived. Before we knew it, it was time for the conference to begin, and poor a. fortis was still stuck in traffic. Kelly, TadMack and I scurried into the grand ballroom, where nearly one thousand people had already gathered, and listened to the hilarious welcome speech from Lin Oliver, the SCBWI Executive Director.
The faculty members - anyone speaking on a panel - then lined up and introduced themselves one by one (or group by group - go, Class of 2k7!), with each person saying one word that represented his/her/their panel or mood. When John Green introduced himself and added, "Nerdfighters," a young woman screamed loudly to show her support.
Yes, that was me.
I apologized to Kelly and TadMack for bursting their eardrums. Shortly thereafter, we took to the stage, introduced ourselves, and said:
"Controversy . . .
" . . . conflict . . . "
" . . . and connectivity."
Oh, how I adore alliteration!
a. fortis arrived shortly after the introductions. We all headed over to the room where our panel was going to be held. While telling each other our life stories and discussing new and classic stories, we reviewed the slideshow, which ran throughout the panel.
Once our room filled up, we filled an hour with talk and laughter. I know we could have talked all day about the importance of literacy, free speech, and communication. After briefly introducing ourselves, we talked about our love of literature and of blogging while TadMack clicked through screenshots of various lit blogs and online events. We talked about The Cybils, Toon Thursday, Poetry Friday, The Edge of the Forest, readergirlz, the upcoming 1st Annual Kidlitosphere Conference as planned by Robin Brande, MotherReader's The 48 Hour Book Challenge, 7-Imp's 7 Kicks, The Carnival of Children's Literature, Chasing Ray's various events (the Summer Blog Blast Tour and Wicked Cool Overlooked Books plus the upcoming Winter Blog Blast Tour, Radar Recommendations, and One-Shot World Tour), Class of 2k7, The Longstockings, and more.
Many thanks to the bloggers, authors, and readers who attended our panel. Thanks also to those who sent us notes of support and good luck wishes.
I have an idea for next time: broadcast the panel live on the internet - podcast, anyone? - or incorporate a chat element, making it accessible to the everyone who can't attend in person and encouraging them to take part and ask questions.