I had the pleasure of attending SCBWI’s (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) 45th Annual Los Angeles Summer Conference this last week. ( I believe that one of the requirements for joining this organization is the ability to recite the un-abbreviated title of the organization correctly.) It was a great conference with over 900 people in attendance – excellent speakers and workshops.
I hadn’t been in Los Angeles for many years and I did experience some culture shock. Sitting on the terrace of the Noe Restaurant at the Omni Hotel, surrounded by tall, reflective skyscrapers and elegant landscape, wearing my usual T-shirt, khakis and tennie-runners, I sat editing my children’s book synopsis. (I found 2 errors – you can never edit enough.) As I was just beginning to feel uncomfortable about my casual style, a family joined me on the terrace. The father was wearing baggy shorts, a loose T shirt, a cat hat and flip-flops. The mother wore a “dress” that had no straps and stopped about two feet above her knees and really cute sandals. I then began to feel overdressed.
I did learn a few things about Los Angeles in my short visit. For one thing, if you are walking and your hotel is on Bunker Hill, walking down from the hotel to the conference center will be fairly easy. Walking up hill after an all-day conference session, carrying all of the books you bought at the conference book store, will be far more difficult. By the third day of this routine, you will feel a little better about the uphill return trip, because you will learn that you do not have to take everything with you.
Two years ago on August 2nd, my husband died. His death was unexpected and fairly sudden. Today, I began boxing up my husband’s clothes. I know someone else will be able to make use of them, but the task is not easy. We had a long and happy marriage, but that does not ease the pain.
If I have any advice to those of you who are fortunate to still have your spouse or significant other still with you, it is treasure them and the time you have together. Put your relationship first, for that’s what sustains you.