SCBWI LA Conference Day Four

• Monday, August 2, 2010

Today was the final day of the conference and the speakers again impressed and motivated. Each one was honest about their experiences; attesting to a magic, or not-so magic, formula of hard work and luck; and the hardships as well as rewards that creating books can bring.  I came away understanding what the real odds of making it are, but also realizing that if I hone my craft and persist, there is no way I will not succeed eventually.  Most importantly, I must be true to myself and what I need to create.

This sentiment was reinforced by our closing keynote speaker Ashley Bryan.  He is a man of ninety with the energy and fervor of a young man.  He starts each talk by leading the audience to sing this poem as affirmation that each of us is beautiful:
"The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.
Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people"
~ Langston Hughes
Then he ends each talk with this poem as a reminder that the act of creating is the only thing that lasts:  
Things
By Eloise Greenfield
Went to the corner
Walked in the store
Bought me some candy
Ain't got it no more
Ain't got it no more

Went to the beach
Played on the shore
Built me a sandhouse
Ain't got it no more
Ain't got it no more

Went to the kitchen
Lay down on the floor
Made me a poem
Still got it
Still got it
If you were there, you'd understand what declaring this affirmation with a group a thousand strong and in a sing-song voice that taunted fate feels like: still got it.  Ashley then added at the very end: "keep it."

I will.  I will keep all the experiences and things I learned here to heart.

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