I am home from the SCBWI 40th Anniversary Annual Conference. It was very different than last year but still an incredible experience. To try and tell the story this year, I'm going to focus on my most memorable moments from this trip. Pictures will be forthcoming. Try to keep your pants on...please.
So, moment #1 came pretty early in the game. Henry Winkler, aka. the Fonz from Happy Days, was a special guest. You may not know that he and Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI, write a middle grade series together, Hank Zipzer. Henry gave a very emotional and exciting talk about how he and Lin write together and how we should write with passion to please ourselves first. Let editors reign in the material if they see fit. That evening, Henry and Lin were signing their books. Folks, let me tell you, you don't have the opportunity to meet Henry Winkler and walk away from it. So, my friend Jody and I planned our moment making strategies and got in line to see Henry. Jody tells it more amusing than I do so I'm stealing her beginning. Jody was in front of me. She read Henry's latest book, "I've Never Met an Idiot on the River" and learned that Henry LOVES to fish and he LOVES Montana. That was going to be her approach and she expected Henry to be delighted that she'd read the book. Here's what happened:
Jody: When are you going to Montana?
Henry: Next week.
End of conversation. Henry slid the book over for Lin to sign. Lin, being one of the sweetest women alive asked Jody if she was from Montana...which, she is not. Things got awkward from there and Jody left the table feeling disappointed and
Now, it was my turn.
I handed my book to Henry, who didn't really look at me and I started with the brilliant little speech I'd come up with while waiting in line. My moment went a little something like this:
Me: First, I wanted to tell you that when I was a little girl I was convinced I would marry Fonzie when I grew up.
Henry: (a teeny tiny chuckle)
Me: Also, I wanted you to know I absolutely loved your work as Barry Zuckercorn on Arrested Development.
Henry: (glancing up) Thank you.
Lin jumped in at this point as we discussed a little about the brilliance of Arrested Development, I was so sad when it went off the air, yadda yadda yadda. I wasn't done with my speech so I pressed on.
Me: AND I'm a librarian....
Henry: (looking up, I've caught his attention now)
Me: And I love to recommend these books to kids, especially when people have reluctant reader boys, I like to give them these books because they're so great.
Henry: (reaches out and clasps my hand warmly) Thank you, Sarah.
Me: (internally) HENRY WINKLER IS HOLDING MY HAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: (externally) Can I take a picture with you?
Henry: Of course.
So I throw my bags on the floor and run around that table like nobody's business. I put my arm around Henry's shoulders and, yes, YES, he reaches up and clasps my hand again. There is photographic evidence. (I'll add the rest of the photo later, but this part bears close examination anyway, don't you think.)
I could have gone home happy right then and there. But you need more moments from me than that. And there are several. But we'll take some time to absorb the awesomeness of my Henry Winkler moment. There will be more posts coming, all in good time.