Sunday, October 12, 2008

Downtown Portland, Oregon... not a good place to hunt mushrooms, but is an excellent place to find school librarians. I was there last week for the OASL/WMLA conference, and I found hundreds of them, of every species, from the tattooed hipster variety to the gray-hair-in-a-bun type to the exceedingly rare and elusive male librarian. But they all had some things in common, most notably a love of books, and dedication to their craft. The main speaker at the conference was Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes. He was amazing! If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, DO NOT pass it up. I say this as one who has slunk out of nearly every "keynote address" I have ever had the misfortune to be roped into. But Frank was astonishing, truly. I also got to hang out with (more name dropping ahead) John Green, author of Looking for Alaska (which is not about Sarah Palin), the incredibly prolific Todd Strasser (the only author I know who has written more books than I have), adult/YA mystery writer April Henry, Patrick Jones (who stole the idea for my next novel before I’d even thought of it), historical novelist Christine Fletcher, and a bunch of other semi-famous authors whose names elude me at the moment. And, for the first time, ate at a “Red Robin” restaurant. It wasn’t too bad for a burger joint, but if you go, bring your sunglasses. “Garish” does not even begin to describe the ambiance. So, today, to help myself recover from the high-contrast flashing commercial redness of Red Robin, I bought an original oil by Dodie Logue:

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