January 26-February 3, 2011:

This long week was filled with snow (lots of it) revisions (lots of it) and conversations with children’s book writers and illustrators (lots of it).

As for the snow, we had approximately three feet of white stuff falling at various times, weighing down my deck, icicles dangerously hanging from the eves. We had ice storms, snow storms, wind storms, hail. It’s been brutal out there, folks.

Revisions: a small revision but important one on a picture book called WARTY MONSTERS, SPORTY MONSTERS which we have renamed (for now)) GRUMBLY MONSTERS, TUMBLY MONSTERS  since there is little sport and more kid outdoor play. It’s a sequel to CREEPY MONSTERS, SLEEPY MONSTERS which will be out this year. The editor got right back to me saying she loved what I’d done. An even smaller revision on HOW DO DINOSAURS GET MAD? A much longer revision which took me several months (actually began it end of October) on B.U.G. now with co-author Adam (my son.) And began a first pass on a revision of GRUMBLES FROM THE FOREST, a book of poems with Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Yes, there are two “GRUMBLES” here and one will have to be changed.

I did not work on these at the same time, but serially. But it meant a lot of revision and no new stuff. Well, some new stuff within the revisions of course. But I am seriously ready to get back to the new. I miss the white hot speed and surprise of the new. Revisions are much more deliberate act.

On the  27th, I headed into New York for the long weekend for SCBWI‘s big winter conference at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station. The weather had been so bad, trains were being canceled right and left. The train I was on was canceled on the internet, by phone, but when I talked Heidi into bringing me there just in case and leaving me there till the trains started up again, it turned out that 1 minute!!!! before I arrived, they had decided to let the train go to New Haven. Very slow, of course, because of all the snow on the rails, but we got to NY only 2 hours late.

Had dinner with a friend, and went to see “Wicked” which was a great deal of fun, though not a patch on the actual book.

The next day SCBWI began. I had great conversations with all sorts of folks–editors, art directors, agents, old students, and drinks with an agent buddy (though not mine), as well as  chatting with truly old friends like Beth Fleischer, wife of X-Men creator Chris Clairmont. Heidi arrived in time for lunch and then the cocktail party and we had a grand time.

Saturday morning I was on a panel with Mark Teague and Patricia Gauch which went over well. Other speakers included the ever wonderful Lois Lowry, R. L Stine, and break-out sessions with editors and agents. We had a long and exhausting autograph session. Then Heidi and I had dinner with Beth Fleischer and Chris and had a ball.

Sunday we listened to Sara Zarr give a stunning talk, and a laugh-a-minute panel on humor with Mo Willems, Lenore Look, and Marvin Turban with moderator Leonard Marcus. And finishing with a rouser by Linda Sue Park. After that we signed books and then had a Board Meeting. I went out to dinner with a friend.

In the morning, Heidi and I drove home, stopping for an IKEA hour.

Came home to find a box of HOW DO DINOSAURS PLAY ALL DAY sticker book.

A good eight days in all, despite the snow.

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