Palm Springs: The Invigorating Spirit Of The Sun
Posted on August 10, 2010
My first SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles was an overwhelming experience. Never have I seen so many kindred spirits together – 1,136 writers and illustrators, agents, editors and publishers. Never have I been in such good and fun company. E.B. Lewis‘ words and work left me in awe. Wow, that man knows how to paint a picture! Krista Marino’s master class Finding and Revising Your Protagonist’s Voice in a Young Adult Novel was an eye-opening inspiration. Jon Scieszka: boy, that man is so funny, telling us about the do’s and don’ts of a writer. Here’s a helpful don’t: Once you start writing, stop reading all the blogs and industry magazines and get down to working. Write, write write. But if you’re Jon’s dentist – thinking of writing a book himself – don’t, don’t, don’t. Michael Reisman shot me a cinematic view of life behind the silver screen.
In short: four days of inspiration, packed with seminars, talks, master classes; four days of making tons of new friends. I wouldn’t have survived without SCBWI’s member of the year Christopher Cheng, who guided me, reassured me, introduced me and made sure I felt welcome.
But… after four days I was totally exhausted, inspired for years to come, but exhausted and I needed some time alone to let it all sink in. I stepped out of the hotel lobby into the sun and knew where I had to go. The desert.
I took up residence in Palm Springs and went for a hike in the Mojave desert, up the barren mountain tops and through amazing Joshua tree forests. The desert is where I recharge my batteries, where I restore my balance. It’s where the wind and the sun bring me new stories, where they remind me that the desert’s story is a writer’s story, a story of balance, resilience and perseverance.
Sounds really good, Mina, and great that you met Chris Cheng. He was very excited about being member of the year. When’s the next Scwibbly event?
It was awesome to meet Chris and he so deserves to be member of the year.
The next big Scwibbly event – what an acronym, eh? – is in NY in January, but there’s a regional one in Winchester (UK) and Bridget is organizing one in Paris on December 4. Laura will set up a meeting in Amsterdam where I will be telling about my LA experiences.
Hi Mina, So cool that you went to the conference in L.A. all the way from the Netherlands. Most children book writers of the critique group I was a member of in Seattle (until it fell apart when all but two (myself included) moved away) habitually went (and for all I know still go there) and always came back in high spirits. Fantastic that you now are the NL rep. for the association! As you know I’m in Joshua Tree at this very moment. This was my fifth visit, the first time I came here the Park was still the Joshua Tree Monument, in my mind it remains that, even though the Park institution takes great care of this amazing piece of land(scape). Got high on the light here the last two days, and the sense of peacefulness and silence is so soothing. Great to share this memory with you, albeit of different moments in time.
High spirits, yes both SCBWI and Joshua Tree Park bring you that. 🙂 Enjoy your stay in the park, Judith!