In Which I try to Recap SCBWI, but really I just talk about a Toilet

Hey y'all.

It's good to be back. It's also bad to be back, because I had such a good time in L.A. meeting with friends and like-minded people (read "other crazy writers") and being inspired by such literary greats as Judy Blume, Richard Peck and Libba Bray. 

Also, just a warning, I took all of two pictures at the conference, and those two pictures were of the toilet in our hotel room. 

There's a reason for that. The toilet had two flusher buttons on top of it:

We figured out that the left flusher was sort of a "half-flush" option, I guess to be more environmentally friendly and less water-wasting. 

For the first couple of days, I pondered each and every trip to the bathroom, asking questions like, "Does what I accomplished in here warrant a larger carbon footprint?" and "Will the half-flush option be adequate?"

Then I would warn my roommates: "Just so you know, I half-flushed." Then I would warn strangers in the hallway: "Just so you know, I half-flushed."

Sometimes I would use the half-flush option, and then I feared that it wasn't enough, so I would half-flush two more times. 

By day three, I was tired of passing judgment on my trips to the bathroom. So I flipped the bird to the environment and full-flushed every time. 

And it felt good.

And yes, I did just spend the first half of the post talking about a toilet. 

Some other highlights:

*I was this-close to Judy Blume!

That lady looks like she's about to karate-shop Judy's arm.
*During dinner with my agent, I sat two tables away from Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon. I now count my degrees away from Kevin Bacon in "tables". 

*I heard Laurie Halse Anderson (SPEAK) speak.

She encouraged us to ask ourselves, in the words of T.S. Elliot, "Do I dare disturb the universe?"  

She also said, "Your muse is you." This makes it even more annoying when my muse doesn't show up for work. 

*Bruce Colville reminded writers: If you don't jump, the wings will never come.

*The amazing and eloquent Richard Peck spoke. 

He said: Unless you find yourself on the page very early in life, you will spend your life looking for yourself in all the wrong places. 

I love Richard Peck. At my first SCBWI conference two years ago, I told him my first book was currently on submission. And he asked, in his regal voice, "And what are you doing in the meantime?"

I thought about the answer he was looking for. I said, "Writing my next book."

He said, "That is the right answer."

So, directly after that conversation, I started actually writing my next book, because I didn't want to lie to someone like Richard Peck. That book was EVERNEATH. 

*I went to lunch with some awesome writers. 

(from the left) Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed), Bree Despain (The Dark Divine), Brodi Ashton (Everneath), Lindsey Leavitt (Princess For Hire),  Lani Woodland (Intrinsical), Leigh Fallon (Carrier of the Mark), Morgan Shamy (writer), Alexandra Monir (Timeless), Gretchen McNeil (Possess).
I stole this picture from Leigh Fallon's blog. She mentioned how the pic looks eerily like the Last Supper. It really does. But I prefer to think of it as the First Lunch. 

Okay, this post is getting really long. I'll have more stories about my toilet on Friday. 

But for now, I ask you, do you dare disturb the universe? Well? Do you?