Friday, July 25, 2008

Q and A about ALA

Question: There were so many excellent blog accounts with compelling text and terrific pictures of the 2008 American Library Association conference that people posted immediately after returning from Anaheim. Does anyone have mediocre pictures with scanty text posted a month after the event?
Answer: Absolutely! Wizards Wireless is happy to fill that need.

Question: Hey, Susan, where have you been? Why haven't you posted here for a while? Do you have a dramatic and compelling reason for not blogging?
Answer: No, it's a pretty boring reason, really. I've been busy with term papers, the ALA conference, a family vacation, work, etc. etc. But I keep meaning to post. Does that count?

Question: Did you know that you're in a YouTube video that's been making the rounds of the Internet?
Answer: You mean this one?

Question: Did you feel slighted by the Project Runway people?
Answer: Why did they have a problem with the color black? Seriously, though, I'm honored to have been in it, and extremely impressed with all the editing and effort that Jim Averbeck and Maria van Lieshout put into it. And I think the whole video is hysterical, even though I've never seen the real Project Runway.

Question: How on earth did you get in the video?
Answer: I was at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet. Jen Robinson (of Jen Robinson's Book Page) and I were walking by Betsy Bird (of Fuse #8), and Betsy asked if we'd do an interview. I was hoping they'd lose the footage or at least film it without sound, like what accidentally happened with Mo Willems' interview, but, nope. You can see all the interviews at On the Red Carpet at ALA.

Question: If you had a time machine, what would you do?
Answer: Stop myself from yanking the straps of my dress back up during the interview. I think you could play a drinking game by counting the number of times I did this. Ironically, the dress was originally strapless and I added the straps to make it more comfortable. Also, as long as I had a time machine, I'd change the answers I gave to the questions Betsy asked me. As soon as she asked me about books that I thought should have won, my mind went completely blank. Plus, maybe I'd use my time machine to prevent a few world wars.

Question: What, in fact, did you wear to the Newbery/Caldecott banquet?
Answer: I said in the Red Carpet interview that it was a bridesmaid's dress. That's true, but not the whole story. It was actually the bridesmaid dress from my own wedding... I liked it so much that I bought one for myself after the wedding and it's my favorite formal gown to wear. (Don't worry, I wore a white dress at my wedding).

Question: Do you have a good picture of Brian Selznick's sparkly shirt from the Newbery/ Caldecott banquet?
Answer: Here's a close-up of the shirt he made himself (or at least, he put the sparkles on it himself).

Question: Brian Selznick doesn't look happy enough in that picture and he was absolutely euphoric that evening. Do you have a picture of him with his eyes closed, standing next to Caldecott chair Karen Breen?
Answer: Sure.

Question: What about a picture of you standing with Mo Willems where you both look like deer in the headlights? Ideally, the picture would have Jacqueline Woodson standing behind you half obscured, and an unidentified person walking in front of you.
Answer: Here you go.

Question: How about a picture where Mo looks really cool and goofy and you look like an idiot because you had an impossible time keeping a straight face?
Answer: Try this one.

Question: Did the lovely Jen Robinson take both pictures, after you elbowed people out of the way so that you could stand next to Mo?
Answer: Yes, she did. And talking to Jen at the banquet was definitely one of the highlights of the whole conference for me.

Question: Did you use the thirty seconds you had in the receiving line talking to Mo to mention that you're in a book club with MotherReader? Did Mo know exactly who Pam was and ask if she was at the banquet? Did this make Pam's day when you mentioned it to her at a book club meeting?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Did Jacqueline Woodson speak to you in sign language after you complimented her on the excellent ASL descriptions in Feathers?
Answer: Yes. She seemed very touched that someone noticed her descriptions, and she signs quite well.

Question: Did you give any accurate advice in this post about the Newbery/Caldecott banquet?
Answer: No, not really. It wasn't as formal as I said, and I ended up caving in and wearing my nametag over my evening gown (which Wendie Old astutely pointed out).

Question: Were you surprised at the lack of quality totebags on the exhibit floor this year?
Answer: Definitely. I had to actually buy a totebag, because I couldn't fit everything into the bright orange one included with the conference registration.

Question: How could you possibly buy a totebag when you own a million free totebags that you've picked up at various conferences?
Answer: (I think this question may have been submitted by my husband). Because it was an incredibly cool one from Unshelved, and I'm always happy to support Unshelved.

Question: What did the table in your hotel room like like before you packed?
Answer: Like this, but this doesn't include all the stuff I had in my totebag.

Question: Do you have a good picture of Laura Vaccaro Seeger signing books?
Answer: Yes, and for once, it's actually a decent photo.

Question: Did you have an amazing time at the blogger get-together at the Feiwel and Friends suite?
Answer: It was terrific. I felt like I was one of the cool kids for probably the first time in my life.

Question: Do you have a photo of Laurie Halse Anderson and Betsy Bird about a second before they met for the first time where neither of them are looking at the camera? Is Betsy wearing a Minnie Mouse dress? Are Monica Edinger and Jen Robinson in the background?
Answer: Yes, yes, and yes.Question: Do you have a better picture of Jen and Betsy?
Answer: Yes. Here's one from the Newbery/Caldecott banquet.

Question: Will you ever learn to use Photoshop?
Answer: Probably not any time soon. But if I did use Photoshop, you wouldn't be able to see this slightly demonic picture of Horn Book Editor in chief, Roger Sutton with red eyes. (If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see what I mean).

Question: Could you drop Mo Willems' name any more in this post?
Answer: No, I don't think that would be possible.

Question: Are you blatantly ripping off Dave Barry's "Ask Mr. Language Person" columns by interviewing yourself?
Answer: I prefer the word "homage."


  1. Fun stuff! Talking to you at the banquet was a high point for me, too, Susan! Having to watch myself on video... not so much (an honor to be included and all that, but I don't even like very many photos of myself - video is tough).

    Looking forward to more talks in the future!

  2. OMG I want that bag! How can I justify another tote bag... HMM.

  3. Thanks, Susan, for being part of our crazy video! You and Jen were charming, even though Heidi Klum didn't like black (who doesn't like black? Heidi apparently!)
    See you next year?

  4. Susan, the nametag looked GREAT! against your black dress. Against the white top of my dress -- not so great, which is why I "forgot" to wear mine.

    And I agree -- hanging out with you 'cool kids' was fun.

    After the banquet, I wished I had my nametag, because Roland Smith and his lovely wife offered me a ride back to my hotel and I had no nametag to identify myself. (He and I go waaaay back from the writer's area of AOL in the '90s, but we had never met in person.)

    Thirdly -- you FILLED that orange bag and then some? I didn't think it was possible, it was so huge. Me- I scarfed up the bag from that had several UnShelved cartoons on it. I only take cloth totes at ALA these days -- they're more comfortable to carry around.

    (Abby, I try to limit myself to one or two bags each ALA these days. I can justify that by thinking that i can always hand them out as prizes at the library later.)


  5. This post was well worth waiting for, Susan! You and Jen are the stars of that video in my opinion.

    Oh, and I keep meaning to post, too--it should definitely count.

  6. Jen- I had a tough time watching myself on the video too. I'm so glad we ended up going to the banquet together... it was great.

    Abby- I know how you feel. And the bag is even cooler in person than in the picture.

    Jim and Maria- Thank you so much for including me! There's no telling what Heidi Klum will like. Yup, I'm definitely planning on attending ALA and the banquet next year in Chicago.

    Wendy- Thanks! I had a great time talking with you. Actually, I was sort of regretting the nametag, because I got moved along much faster in the banquet receiving line. The ALSC board members standing between the authors kept looking at my nametag and saying "Susan, here's the next person I want you to meet."

    The orange bag was a bit unwieldy and cut into my shoulders... so I was happy to have the Unshelved one. I tried several times to get the one from, but apparently I didn't have the right coupon. Overall, I'd say Book Expo has much better totebags.

    Anamaria- Thanks so much! And meaning to post should definitely count.

  7. Susan, I've nominated you for an award! Thanks for making such a great blog! :)

  8. Susan, as always, a witty and fun-to-read post. Re the dress strap issue: Why not shorten the strap? (You could probably do it without even removing the strap from the dress by just tacking it at the bottom, if this makes any sense).

  9. Abby- thanks for the nomination! I appreciate it.

    Jody- that makes sense about how to fix the straps. I should think about doing that before wearing the dress again.