went to ALA Annual this year and here is some stuff I saw.
A guy (or girl) in an inflated Captain Underpants suit. I was too lazy to stand in line for a real pic.

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My photo on a poster outside. I read from The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns. People were milling around and coming in and out of the area, and I wanted them to STAY, so I projected my voice all the way to the other side of the convention center (in my head). I actually LOVE reading aloud, except when I do, I start thinking, “Hmmm, I used that word twice, I wish I could change this.”

Gail Tsukiyama was on before me. I did not get to meet her, which is too bad because I admire her writing. Or else I wouldn’t have taken a photo of her. This was the sad fact of ALA for me. I had stuff to do and while I was doing it, I couldn’t meet anyone. For example, as I was going to my stage I saw that Allen Say was doing a signing. I wrote part of my senior thesis on Allen Say because at the time I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator (except I’m not that good at drawing people) and was an art major. Yes, at my college even the art majors had to write a thesis. I wanted to meet Allen Say and tell him I wrote my thesis about him.

I saw Deborah Harkness for about a split second as I was signing. She did a kiss and run! I looked up and saw her sprinting toward the reading stage. Her face was glowing. But really, her face glowed all radiantly. Thus I concluded her witch story was really semi-autobiographical. Or it must be all that wine she drinks (she writes a wine blog).

Ridley Pearson signed at the booth next to me, which is to say on the other side and separated by a phalanx of people. My kids love his Kingdom Keepers series, and he was there to sign his new adult title. I thought I would meet him and gush about Kingdom Keepers and then he would say, “Margaret Dilloway! I read How to Be an American Housewife. Let me introduce you to all the members of my band.” I have, as you can tell, an overactive imagination.

And that about did it for the authors I saw, except for all the ones in the band.

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Then I had to fulfill The Only Good Thing I Have Ever Done as a Parent, which is to see Chris Colfer and obtain his book for eldest. If you remember, conversation with her went like this:

Me: Look! My book’s in Entertainment Weekly.

Eldest: Meh.

Me: Look! I’m going to speak at ALA.

Eldest: Good. For. You.

Me: And Chris Colfer’s going to be there!

Eldest: (SQUEE! High pitched noise that breaks the sound barrier)

Chris Colfer was very funny and articulate and sweet. He is also a damn audience-filler. It was packed and then people were trying to sit in the aisles and things like that. I had to to my reading and signing first, then I rushed upstairs and found a seat in the back. Behind the video guy.

Also, he might be a vampire, because in this pic he should be behind that black thing, which is the mic. But it’s BLANK. Only possible conclusion.

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Luckily they had big monitors, filmed by the very people who were blocking my view.

The guy next to me, two seats down, started talking to the woman next to me before Colfer came out. You do NOT want to talk during a presentation where librarians are attendees. Are you kidding me? He got the DEATH STARE from the ladies in front of us because he was yakking while the ALA President introduced Colfer. The man (who worked with computers, not with the library itself) also found Colfer funny. I know this because he said, “He’s funny! He’s SO funny!” after each of Colfer’s sentences.

Anyway, I was happy because for ONCE IN MY LIFE people shut the F up during a talk. What magical land is this? Librarian land! Librarians rock!

Here is the display by the stage:

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And I got some free swag.

I am already looking forward to The Chaperone and basically arm-wrestled the Penguin people into giving it to me and shoved a bunch of people aside to get the author, Laura Moriarty, to autograph it. It’s really my proudest author moment. Yes.

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The night before, I decided to take the train because it cost about the same as gas money and I wouldn’t have to drive. Then, while I was at the station, I decided to upgrade to business class. Business class is awesome! Tons of leg room and guess what? They have snacks. Free snacks. My favorite snack was this one: “Snack du Jour” which features people jumping up and down happily on it and does not say what the fuck it is. Pardon my language, but those are the words running through my head and I had to depict them. Yes, it is a snack, yes it is food, but what kind? Why won’t it tell me? What kind of secret is this secret food? I mean, I had to look at the ingredients, but mostly I had to open it at which time I felt obligated to eat it. It was fruit and nuts.

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