Anyway, I am back from the fabulous, the amazing, the all-inspiring Toms River weekend. I cannot say enough about this workshop. But before I go on and on about that... Thank yous are in order.
First, thank you to Kathy Temean and Laurie Wallmark for putting together this stupendous mentoring weekend. What an amazing opportunity!
Thank you to our wonderful, encouraging, and sweet-as-apple-pie (or lemon squares...) editors, Lisa Yoskowitz from Penguin's Dutton and Eve Adler from Henry Holt . (Who, by the way, I would give anything to have the experience of working with at any point in my career.) Every writer I spoke with said they had such a great critique session and found each editor approachable, friendly, easy to talk to, and full of such insightful comments and suggestions regarding both their MS and the industry in general.
Third, thank you to all the novelists who had the daunting task of reading 180 pages total and offering supportive, yet informative critiques.
Although, I did not read any of the PB manuscripts, I spent some time getting to know this special group of gifted writers as well, and it was a pleasure getting to know all of you (PB writers, novelists, and editors alike).
This is the first time I have come back from a conference/workshop without "Conference/Workshop Furrowed Brow Syndrome," CWFBS for short. Come on ladies, you know what I'm talking about. CWFBS is what happens to writers near the end of the conference/workshop weekend when you've heard such an onslaught of feedback and information, and as if it helps in the process somehow of contemplating all that info in your head, your brow begins to pucker.
This simply did not happen.
Well, it almost happened after Kathy suggested that page 30 (out of a 30-page submission) was really my page 1... So, I almost came down with a serious case of CWFBS on Sunday morning after sleeping on this idea. But once I was in the room full of inspiring writers and editors, I was cured.
Sometimes a serious case of CWFBS occurs when you come home from such a weekend. You walk through the door, relived to be home, happy to see your family and pets, when your grab your briefcase weighted with critiques and reality sets in. UGH! Now you have the arduous task of wading through all the critiques to ponder their suggestions.
But, again, it didn't happen.
Why is that? What sets Toms River apart from the knowledge-filled June Conference or any other great workshops offered through NJ's SCBWI where cases of CWFBS have been known to sweep through the room like a flu epidemic? Why didn't it happen here?
You might think it was the gorgeous fall weather with a kiss from the summer sun. Could be. You might think it was the proximity to the ocean. Maybe. You might think it was just simply getting away for a weekend. Possibly.
I think it was the cast of characters. And not just the ones on our pages. It was a coming together of a diverse group of dedicated women who have made children's book writing/editing their life's work, the relaxed ease of friendship that comes from this commonality which creates a bond among essentially strangers.
When I taught kindergarten, I used to end the school year with the same bulletin board: We started the year as strangers but we ended as the closest of friends. This was true about this weekend.
Photos were taken, hugs were shared, warm words of support were spoken, and the awesome task was understood by all about what it takes to make this dream a reality. And to each of us I raise my proverbial glass and say, To us! To our dreams. To our stories. To our perseverance. I know I will be seeing you on the bookshelves one day! L'Chaim!
Hugs and kisses and wishing you all the best,
PS, Please send me your blog/website links. I would love to add an "in attendance" below. This is what I have so far...