Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Back.

Whew.
That's just about all I can say.
Whew.

I just got back from the American Library Association Mid-Summer meeting in Orlando. We stayed an extra day so we could enjoy a baseball game with our son, who's interning with the Tampa Bay Rays. We also went there a day early so I could spend my birthday at Harry Potter World. In the three days in between, I had--I just counted--coffee with an editor, lunch with a writer friend, a drink with more editors (I'm blessed with editors), an official Newbery-type dinner, brunch with editors, a book signing, an awards ceremony, a fancy drinks reception, a full-on big-deal awards banquet with a receiving line after it that last three hours, another book signing, another awards lunch, another awards ceremony at which I gave a speech, a short reception, and another official dinner.

I am whacked.

I am wildly happy; I love everyone, especially my fellow writers; I met in person many people I've been friends with online for a good long time, and liked them all better than I hoped to; I feel personally called to be an even better writer after all this. My family was with me and my Newbery Dress was the bomb. It was wonderful. It exceeded my already high expectations.

Whacked, I tell you.

Yesterday's schedule: (after arriving at a St. Petersburg hotel near my son's apartment at 11:30 pm following that last official dinner)
9:45 wake up
10:15 breakfast
11:00 go to post office, mail home 48 pounds of books garnered at the convention. These include ARCs, books my fellow awardees personalized for me, and a lovely presentation copy of The War That Saved My Life.  (No, scratch that--I put the presentation copy in my handbag. It's specially bound in black and orange cloth (Penguin's colors) and has Newbery Honor 2016 embossed on the front. I didn't know this was a Thing. I will treasure it all my life.) Anyway, mail home 48 pounds of books.
11:30 visit Haslam's bookstore and buy another book. Yup. Not kidding.
12:00 lunch with my son!
1:00 personal tour of the Tampa Bay Rays' offices and ball field.
1:30 nap
4:30 wake up
5:15 go to son's apartment, and thence to ball game.

I imagine I might feel quite rested if I hadn't had to wake up at 4:45 to make my plane home. Still, I'm home, and I'm itching for words. The first thing I did was sit down at my computer. I don't have a novel to work on--I swore on several holy things that I wouldn't so much as glance at my sequel until my editor gets her notes to me next week--and while perusing the internet caught sight of my new copy of Lily and Dunkin, and dove in. I tore myself away to go say hi to my horse, and now I'm slightly scratching this writing itch, and then it's back to reading.

All ALA my husband remarked that in quiet moments I tended way more than I usually do to get completely absorbed in my phone. I was conscious that I was doing this, too: I told him I thought it was an introvert's reaction to all the noise and fanfare. I could go away into my phone for five minutes and recharge. It wasn't until I'd gotten on the plane for home that I realized what else made my phone so temporarily attractive: it was where the words were. It's very, very rare that I go five days without even starting a book. At ALA I was surrounded by books, but didn't have time to read, except on my phone, for tiny snippets of time.

I've already made up for that. As I was packing the box at the post office I threw one book into my purse instead: Richard Peck's latest, The Best Man. I finished it just as we got to Atlanta. Let me tell you, this may be the best Peck yet. Now I'm off to enjoy Lily and Dunkin. Lots more convention thoughts in the days to come.