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Kidlit Con 2010 Recap

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been having trouble writing up my experience at KidlitCon 2010, and I finally realized that I was trying to write about the wrong thing — the conference itself.

Please don’t take that the wrong way. The sessions boasted wonderful speakers featuring interesting presentations with useful applications for blogging. You’ll find helpful recaps from a variety of posts on the KidlitCon blog. The twitter feed alone — pulled together most nicely by Greg Pincus — is an incredible resource.

But though I enjoyed the sessions, the KidlitCon experience for me was the people. Not to devalue the program in any way, but personally I would have gone if it had been a spa weekend — or a cattle round-up, even. What I needed was a chance to recharge my batteries in a comfort zone of friends. While we connect online, obviously, the real-life connection energizes me. I think it energizes everyone who comes to a KidlitCon, and is much of what separates this conference from many others.

As my new best friend Amy tweeted, “Ah… there was a whole VELVETEEN RABBIT feel to the whole #kidlitcon day. Everyone is real at last!”

The truth is in that tweet. And in the sentence including the tweet in which I refer to Amy as “my new best friend.” Because I met Amy after admiring her coat — being one of scads of people to do so — and she offered to get one for me, as they are only available through special retailers. And she had just met me. Like, how sweet is that? I haven’t decided about the coat for myself — though she looks fabulous in hers — but I know this is one person I’ll be keeping up with online and through her blog The Poem Farm. What a great gal!

Later, at Saturday’s dinner, I ended up making a real, life-changing connection with author Janet Fox. I had enjoyed her presentation on blog touring as an author, but I was more eager to talk to her about her earlier book Get Organized Without Losing It. I thought it might be a helpful book for my tween with her ADD issues. So in talking to Janet, I find that she wrote the book because her son struggled with ADHD. As he is now in college, she was able to give me some perspective on what I’m going through at home, and convey a great deal of hope as well. I’ve ordered her book from Amazon, and am grateful to have made this personal connection.

Now you see how unreliable I am. I start this post by saying how I needed the comfort of my old blogging friends, and then talk about two new people I met. But though I met some great people over the weekend — and lectured at least one on meeting that special someone — I wasn’t in a general networking mode. I wansn’t trying to meet everyone this go-’round, but wanted to have a few great conversations. And that I had.

I spent a lot of time with my oldest blogging friends Liz, Jen, Melissa, and Maureen. I was surprised by an appearance from a long-lost friend, Kelly Herold, and met Melissa Wiley — a legend as the coiner of the term kidlitosphere — in person. I chatted over wine with Laura, Alice, Sarah and Charlotte — though not over the same glasses of wine. It was a good Friday night. We talked about book controversies and publishing gossip and blogging blues. We also talked about high school dances and mommy sleep deprivation and air travel and Jon Stewart. The only thing I could have wished for was to be cloned so that I could have spent more time with The Poetry Gang — as you’ll see pictured at Toby Speed’s blog — and talked more about sciency fiction with Jacqueline Houtman.

I came home with new blogging ideas, blogger contacts, and some thoughts for KidlitCon 2011 in Seattle. After a day of recovery, I was refreshed by my time with my friends. And I am most thankful to Brian, Andrew, and Ben for putting on this wonderful conference. See you all at the next one. Right?

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Janet Fox said...

P - it was so great to meet you and I'm thrilled that I could help. Please keep me posted! hugs - j

Julie Anne Lindsey said...

Oooo! I know exactly how you feel! I attended my first writers conference on Oct 1-2 and it was a wonderful dream come true to meet my cyber friends in the flesh and really bask in the warm fuzzies that come with being surrounded by writers *sighs* I took plenty of notes and have made many blog posts from the materials, but the biggest impact came from the people, my 200 new besties, not necessarily from the workshops. Thanks for a great post!

Amy LV said...

I am still swooning in my mind over Kidlit Con! A whole new world opened wide that day, and I am so grateful we had the chance to talk. I can't wait to pore through even more pages of your blog and to see you at Kidlit Con 5! Good good thoughts to your kitty here on the eve of National Cat Day. Talk soon. A. ('Serious about the jacket - thinking red or black would be great for you.)

Melissa said...

It was great seeing you again, too. And you're right: the best part of this conference is the connections we make. I love the Velveteen Rabbit tweet. So perfect.

Michelle said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm genuinely bummed I missed out this year. More for the reason of not being able to hang out with everyone than for the clearly very awesome educational experience. Twitter is fantastic for providing the latter through virtual means but man, nothing beets hanging out and chatting over dinner/lunch/break times.

I'm so glad you had the opportunity to decompress a little and enjoy your time away. Hope this weekend gave you a little bit of that as well. Looks like the rally was a pretty good success!