Book Club and Conference

Last week, I went to my 8th grade English teacher’s home for a book club.

I got to some of my former teachers.

Anyone who knows me knows my best English-class experiences were, oddly (because people seem to be more affected by high school, mostly), in junior high. In 7th grade, Miss Davila taught us grammar and had us read Shakespeare aloud. In 8th grade, Ms. Hemric encouraged me to write a picture book and a YA novel. In 9th grade, Mrs. Naiman had us study THE SWORD OF SHANNARA and ANTIGONE. I used our study of ANTIGONE to write my essay for the AP English test I took in 10th grade.

Also there were the librarian and my P.E. teacher. I’m pretty sure my P.E. teacher didn’t particularly remember me, seeing as how I didn’t make myself stand out much in that subject, but the librarian said she remembered wishing all the kids were like me. Quiet and hardworking.

My cover worked! I had her fooled.

Anyway, this was a fun group because they knew me from when I was young and they were so proud of me, and it’s nice to have people be proud of you like that.

This past weekend, I also got to go to the Southern California Writers Conference to give a speech at the Saturday night banquet. I, of course, neglected to take any photos. I always mean to take a photo of everyone in the audience,but I forget to take my phone with me onstage, because I’m thinking about other things, like not tripping in heels, or this.

The conference was in Newport Beach, so Cadillac came along. Our nephew, who is in his 20s, babysat. Before dinner, I was looking at Facebook on my phone and saw that his update read, “Power’s been out for 2 1/2 hrs. Thank goodness for quiet drawing time,” or something like that, so we called him and found out that the power, once again, was out. This time, it wasn’t a huge multi-county incident, but just in our neighborhood. So at dinner, this lady asked if I was nervous and I said, honestly, “No,” because I was thinking about the power outage. Luckily, the power came back on around 8 pm, the kids had a grand time with their cousin, whom they absolutely adore but who they don’t get to see as much as they’d like, and everything was fine.

My speech went well, too.

But the upshot: I didn’t take any photos.

I did remember to take a photo of this koi pond at Fashion Island, near the Hyatt Regency. I wondered how many kids have fallen in there?

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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