I have been trying to think how I can write this post without it being full of obnoxious name-dropping, but I guess it's impossible. BEA was awesome in that I got major face-time with my agent and editor and ate a gob of incredible food, but ALA was awesome in that it was more mellow and ideal for picking up ARCs and meeting fellow writers and passionate book lovers. I mean, most of the attendees are librarians and librarians are pretty much amazing, so what do you expect?
--Friendly man named Rob talked to me the entire flight, keeping me from paying attention to my fear of flying. I wish every airline had special "chatty" seating for people who fly better when they're talking to strangers. Except I guess you'd end up with weirdos sometimes.
--Took the Metro from the airport to the Smithsonian. The DC Metro seemed a lot more easygoing than the NYC subway. In fact, everything in DC seemed more easygoing than everything in NYC, which, along with Toronto, is the only other major city I've visited. In some ways, I missed the hustle and bustle of NYC, but I have to admit DC seems very livable. It made me yearn even more to move to the outskirts somewhere so I can come into town and see friends. The DC kidlit community is amazing. *sigh*
--Went to the American History museum. Paid what seemed like a million dollars for water. Saw the Star Spangled Banner (I'm fascinated with how fragile it is and all the trouble to restore it) and the First Ladies exhibit. Who knew Mary Lincoln was such a tiny little thing? I always think of her as looking kind of dumpy but the dress they have of hers is teeny, and adorably striped!
--Kidlit drinks night was insanely packed and noisy. Why was there a baseball game on in the background? You had to literally scream in people's ears to carry a conversation and my throat was hoarse halfway through. I had only eaten a Wendy's chicken sandwich all day so I was pretty starving and out of it, trying not to nibble too voraciously at the provided chicken wings. My hands became gross and barbecue sauce-y. Still, I saw loads of cool people, like Erin Murphy, agent to many people I like, Anne Marie Pace from the Blue Boards, adorable Jessica Lee Anderson and P. J. Hoover, and like...a lot of people. I don't even know anymore.
--I stayed at Amy Brecount White's house with Holly Cupala. Amy was a great hostess, and provided me with sustaining organic yogurt and berries so I wouldn't have to go to bed starving. Holly is sweet and adorable. Neither of us slept a wink because she was on west coast time and I was on "professional night owl writer" time. It was a Very Long Night.
--Holly and Amy had an early HarperCollins breakfast and I rode into town with them, so I was there very early. This day was awesome because I ate THREE meals. I had a leisurely breakfast of fruit, cheese and croissant at Starbucks, then went back to ALA. Somehow I managed to get utterly, stupidly lost on my way there and wandered with a full bladder for a good half hour, then got even more stupidly lost inside the building looking for a bathroom. I was there before the exhibit floor even opened, and as soon as I walked in, there were stacks of ARCs waiting to be grabbed. My bag was straining its straps within 10 minutes.
--I began a hunt for a tote bag, which ended happily at the Junior Library Guild booth. Magic Under Glass was a JLG selection so I said hi. "You're just a baby!" the woman there exclaimed.
--Tenners lunch at a tapas bar with Karen Kincy, Margie Gelbwasser, Lindsey Leavitt, Amy Brecount White, Holly Cupala (who was just having a drink), Holly Hoxter, and Christina Diaz Gonzalez, who could say all the tapas with a sexy accent. (I hope I didn't forget anyone.) They had unlimited tapas for $20 and I was in bottomless pit mode. Amazing heirloom tomatoes with honey-vinaigrette and goat cheese. Smoky tasting mushrooms, delicious snow peas, a skewer of grilled shrimp and scallops. Lousy half-melted ice cream. You win some, you lose some.
--At 4 we went to Georgetown for the Vermont College party. It was held at Tami Lewis Brown's house (which was GORGEOUS) and just felt so swank. There were so many people there that if you wanted to get to the drinks station for more water or iced tea you had to plan way in advance even if you were only about six feet away. I basically stood by the desserts and never tried moving because it was more trouble than it was worth. (I sampled all the desserts and none of the other food.) But no complaints because the people taking up the space were lovely people. All the Bloomsbury people were there and at one point my editor introduced me to M. T. Anderson and I had this brief but amazingly intelligent conversation that touched on composter Erik Satie, Montparnasse in the 20s, and historical research. (I don't mean it was amazing that M. T. Anderson was intelligent, I mean it was amazing that I was, and didn't just throw up compliments on his jacket.)
--After this I worked my way to the bathroom to pee and noticed I had a really unattractive zit on my chin. Of course.
--Had dinner with Carrie Jones, Kelly Fineman, and two other very nice women whose names I don't remember because I've pretty much determined I need to meet people at least twice--two different places, with two different outfits, and get their names both times--to remember names. And sometimes faces as well. I'm hopeless. -_- I was so glad to finally meet Carrie and Kelly, whom I've known online for so long.
--Carrie and I took a cab back to the convention area. Carrie got out first, then I talked to him about being in town for a library conference. The cab driver had a Bloomsbury book on the seat one of his kids had left behind!
--Hooked up with Amy and Holly, who were at dinner with some bloggers and such. Met Green Bean Teen Queen! She's so nice. Also met other people whose names I have more trouble with. I really wish I had a better memory. Seriously. It's embarrassing.
Okay, I better stop there. I've been typing this forever! I'll get around to the second part later.