I'm leaving for LA early tomorrow morning. I'm talking earlier-than-I've-been-up-since-my-stint-teaching-high-school-debate early. But since the conference itself starts tomorrow morning, leaving early is a must. In preparing for this trip, I couldn't help but remember the last time I went to a national SCBWI conference which was, by and large, a fiasco. The year was 2006. I was going to the SCBWI New York conference with Carries Jones. This was prior to Carrie becoming the world-renowned author she is today. In fact, it Was during this conference that she received the call that started everything. Although she wasn't at the conference at the time. But I'm getting ahead of myself. In February 2006, Carrie and I were Vermont College students who planned to be NYC SCBWI roomies (technically, she was rooming with her husband, while I'd be rooming next door, with her daughter).
I made the rookie mistake of flying into JFK, and then of prepaying for a super-shuttle, where I sat next to some old guy from "So-Cal" who obviously thought he was a Big Deal. As the shuttle waded through traffic thick as water, I kept daring myself to ask this guy why, if he was Mr. swank, he was riding in a super-shuttle.
I never did.
Once I arrived at the hotel and was checking in, I found out that because of a family emergency, Carrie et. al would not be coming to the conference (fear not; Carrie's family was fine after some TLC). This left me on my own, which was cool, except I hadn't planned to be on my own. I took the elevator up to my room, catching sight of my stringy-haired, red-eyed, all-together-rumpled appearance in the highly-polished doors. I stood next to women wearing SCBWI nametags, smiled at them, and pressed the button for my floor. They just stared.
"Hi," I said.
"Hi," one said, still staring.
"I'm exhausted," I offered by way of pleasantries. "You?"
The other one nodded. "You'd better rest up," she said. "Aren't you presenting tomorrow?"
"Um, no, "I said. "I'm just, you know, attending."
The next day, as I wandered through the hotel ballroom searching for someone I knew, a woman I did not know ran up and hugged me. "Emily!" she said. "So nice to finally meet you!" She spoke rapidly and without pause, while I struggled to figure out who she was. Finally she said: "Wait. I don't think you're the Emily I'm looking for."
"No," I said apologetically. "I don't think so."
Apparently I look similar to another, higher-up Emily, who I was mistaken for the duration of the conference.
It would have been better if Carrie were there.
Will anyone reading this be in attendance? Let me know!
I didn't take any photos at the conference, but here's me at American Girl Place, which I toured at my leisure since I had no hommies along to cramp my style. I'm standing next to Samantha, my favorite (now retired) American Girl. Aren't we cute?
Oh, Samantha, what could have been had I the riches to afford you and your swank Victorian accessories...