Monday, September 24, 2018

#nErDcampGA Report

It was my great pleasure to be part of Georgia's first ever nErDcamp! Modeled after other state nErDcamps, this one was a day of learning and communion with educators, authors and readers. Thank you, Lola Schaefer and so many others (including my "angel" Cassie) for giving your time in this way! I'm so grateful to have been included.

I loved meeting so many Georgia folks, especially after I missed the awards ceremony for Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read, during which CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? was recognized. (I was at Mississippi Book Festival with Charles Waters!)

Some highlights:

Jeff Anderson. Jeff shared about his books and how humor saved his life. His message dovetailed nicely with mine and Charles' -- about how we NEED to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we grow! And humor helps.

The first session. I sat in a room with educators passionate about diversity and inclusivity. The discussion was inspiring and meaningful. Georgia is full of great folks doing the hard work. Thank you!

R. Gregory Christie. I loved meeting Greg and learning more about him and his work! We're both shy children's book creators. :) Also, I found Greg's comments about revision so applicable to my writing and my cello and my LIFE. He said revision starts with a broom, and ends with a toothpick. Or at least it should. :) He said artists look at shape and structure... and at my recent string orchestra gig, the conductor was telling us that for the fast parts, our accuracy would improve if we'd look at the shape of the music, not to worry so much about reading the specific notes. And it worked! I love these refrains in the arts and what it means for creators, whatever one's medium.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich. It was Rebecca who was there when I had my awakening to children's poetry back in 2010. It was Rebecca with whom I wrote a poem that was printed on a poster for this event -- and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie! - before being auctioned off. We were able to read the poem aloud, and also take home posters of the poem. What fun!

Sadly, the schedule was such that there wasn't time for me to meet all of the authors or attendees. But wow, what an enthusiastic team of volunteers and passionate readers! It was an honor to share time and space with all of you... thank you!

Sidenote: I also had cello business in the Atlanta area, which meant I came a day in advance of nErDcamp and was able to treat myself to some great restaurants. One really stood out: Lazaro's Cuban Cuisine (Roswell, GA). I'd almost drive back over to ATL just to eat at this restaurant again!

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