Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tokyo Writers' Day

I know, I know. I've been slacking off. My bad. Too many things going on and before you know it, the blog's on the back burner and days turn into weeks between posts and you don't quite know what to write to get back into the whole thing.

Until something special comes along and I can't wait to tell about it. Prime example, the SCBWI Tokyo Writers' Day, where I gave a workshop on series books. I presented in - get this - in a tatami room with woven straw mats on the floor (well, yeah - that's what tatami are) and sliding shoji doors. So very cool. We kicked off our shoes and sat on cushions on the floor around a low table and talked YA series fiction. Loved it. There's a certain creative energy in a room full of enthused writers that's intoxicating.

After my workshop, I hung around for the next with the incomparable David Schwartz, who writes exciting math and science books for kids. No, really. Exciting math and science. I'm not kidding. You should hear this guy talk about numbers. I'll freely admit that I'm a mathphobe, but listening to him was like shining a flashlight on the monsters under the bed. There's nothing to be afraid of!

Next, we met Lynne Reid Banks and crew for dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant. So, yes, I was all star struck meeting her. I mean, this is the lady who wrote Broken Bridge, One More River and the famous Indian in the Cupboard books. She's been bigger than life in my mind all these years, and here I was, sitting across the table from her. And guess what? She's so cool! Totally down to earth and funny. She spoke to a full room after dinner, telling about her adventures in the publishing game in her lovely British accent barbed with sharp wit.

Afterwards, David, Annie (a fellow SCBWI member) and Steve Cousins (author of Frankenbug) trained home, navigating Shibuya and crowded Saturday night trains with David's luggage and enormous backpack. Seemed a fitting adventure to cap of an awesome day.