Hey, do you guys remember me mentioning a million times that I was Miss Nackawic 1981 wrote a children’s book (with two other writers whose names escape me at the moment)? Well, of all things, we received an invitation to be presenters at UNB’s Children’s Literature and Literacy conference two weeks ago! Obviously, my dreams of becoming a literary rock star were coming true and it would only be a matter of time before I had my very own bodyguard, clothing line, and ‘smoky eye’ make- up expert. Boom.
Thank you for asking- the presentation went very well! The crowd clapped vigorously and I’m happy to report they didn’t throw stuff at us, unless you count the fragrant bouquets of flowers my fans placed gently at my feet when I was done speaking. Gosh, I hope the other two didn’t notice and feel left out. Oh well. It’s a tough business. Afterwards, at the reception, I was exhausted from all the paparazzi chases selfies I took with the show-off accomplished, award-winning children’s authors who would be headlining the conference the following day.
I’m the one with the ‘smoky-less eyes’. Whatever. Just picture me with brownish/ plum eye shadow, blended just so, k?
The next morning, I just wanted to escape the limelight for a bit and relax with a hot stone massage, an organic, free-trade, edible seaweed wrap and a few hours in a salt water floatation pod– as one does when one is a pretend celeb. I no sooner uttered the words, “flotation pod” at breakfast when Ms. Read Your Itinerary, You Idiot Odette reminded me we were attending the conference all day. I knew that.
I hardly even noticed that it was standing room only as people piled in for the keynotes for the day. Big deal. The introductions went on and on and were laced with overrated words like: prolific, award-winning, renowned. Blah. Blah. Blah.
The first presenter was Barbara Reid. She dazzled us with her mind-blowing plasticine illustrations. She creates the art AND writes the stories. You heard me. Last time I checked that is downright illegal really unfair to the rest of us. She showed us photographs of her art work at various stages. I could hardly hear myself think from all the “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” coming from the audience. Frig. “Anyone can do that!” I thought to myself. To prove it, once home, I went straight to Walmart and dropped $1.99 on some modelling clay and got to work, creating our main character, Camelia Airheart, the Canada goose:
Boom. Mutilated Nailed it.
Now here’s one of Barbara’s many creations:
I know, right? Hard to tell the difference. I’ll bet she feels silly spending all that time on her art after seeing what delusional inexperienced people can do with clay.
Next on the roster of show-offs established children’s authors was Frieda Wishinsky. She writes picture books, chapter books, non-fiction and novels. Yea. Just that. She writes approximately a book/hour and each one of them is nominated for an award. No biggie. Besides… a book/lifetime year is ALL I HAVE TIME FOR, YOU GUYS!! I can’t watch all those Netflix shows AND write every minute of the day. Frig that. I won’t lie; Frieda was amazing and funny and put me to shame. Okay. Okay. Maybe I’ll give up ONE Netflix show and try a little harder to write more than a book/year. Whatever. Get off my back.
Cybele Young was another presenter who has too much talent for her own good and in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have blurted out in the middle of her presentation: “Time’s up!!” but it just got my goat that she has it all. She writes children’s books and articles, and is a renowned artist, and a sculptor who creates teensy weensy sculptures from fine Japanese papers (Duh. Who doesn’t??) and has had her work displayed in galleries around the world and even sold a painting to Ben Stiller. (Oh yea?! Well, I won the Easter bunny drawing contest at my school in Grade 3 so there! Hmmph.) Her paper sculptures are astounding, I’ll admit, but I wondered why she spends so much time on these miniature sculptures when I could do it in under five minutes.
Ta da! (Note to Cybele: Just take regular scissors and cut paper all willy nilly. So easy!! Inbox me if you need help getting started) I call this one Piece of Crap Snow and Ben Stiller is likely in a bidding war for it on EBay at this very moment:
Here’s Cybele’s for quick comparison. Hers is made of paper (Hand to God…) and so is mine so there you have it. ‘nuff said.
Sheree Fitch took the stage at the end of the day and let’s just say she’s made me look bad a name for herself. The same pushy children who don’t even know I was Miss Nackawic 1981 wrote a children’s book trampled me to get to her! Babies were literally sliding out of uteruses weeks early just to hear her read but so what?!! (Authors don’t need humans crowds for a successful reading, you guys, and just because I (and the other two) have read our book, Follow the Goose Butt, Camelia Airheart!, to janitors, teddy bears and plants due to ‘no shows’ doesn’t mean a bloody thing!!) Sheree held the thousands of children rapt with her famous tongue twisters from her many award-winning books that- get this- she had memorized for the lovovgod! (Well, I can recite my grocery list, FYI, but no one gives two hoots about that! Pffft. Who cares?) I admit it. She’s phenomenal but c’mon. How hard can it be? I wondered as I rubbed my soft ‘bankie’ against my nose and sucked my thumb while she read. During coffee break, I scratched out my very own tongue twister on a napkin. Newsflash: It was effortless!! Check it:
Um… I hate to brag but that took me like- two nanoseconds.
It was an awesome weekend and I learned so much: There are unbelievably annoyingly talented children’s authors out there; that they have raised the bar too friggin’ high for the rest of us; and that and very few people know I was Miss Nackawic 1981 can do what they do. Beyond that, though, I learned that I have some wicked, untapped talent (See plasticine and paper sculpture above) and it took a day with gifted professionals who have honed their crafts to make me see I need to never dabble in art ever again push myself harder. Those prolific, award-winning and renowned (Blah. Blah. Blah.) authors made me want to do it all: write tons of books, and create art to accompany them. These things take time though, you guys, so I’m not gonna rush into anything. Nah. I’ll watch a few hours of Netflix and let it all sink in. I’ll get on it tomorrow(ish).