Friday, November 21, 2008

The weekend I lost my brain: part one

(Aka the weekend I made a new friend, went to the wrong party, showed up to the wrong location for a conference, and had dinner with my agent--twice!)

Last weekend, the wonderful Ted Malawer (my agent!) came into town for the Utah/Idaho regional SCBWI conference. I was privileged enough to be invited to attend a dinner with Ted, the other conference guests-of-honor, Sydney Salter Husseman (my SCBWI RA and agent sister), and a small number of conference volunteers. Unfortunately, I had just finished a rather intensive stint of revisions, was running on 3 hours of sleep, and had spent the day shopping with two very rambunctious little boys, so I think I left my brain somewhere between Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic long before the weekend began . . .

Brain malfunction #1: While sitting at the dinner table with Ted, he asked me, “So how did you find the latest round of revisions?” And all I could do in response was stare at him blankly and say, "Um. . ."

He laughed and said, "You don't sound very enthusiastic about it." The thing is, I was extremely happy with the work I'd done, but I'd been up all night with a broken modem (the one I told you about in this post) trying to email him the manuscript by my deadline. After a moment, I shook myself and said, "I'm just really tired." Luckily, I recovered quickly and we had a wonderful one-on-one conversation about my revisions, his plan for submissions, and my next project (that Ted was very, very excited about and exclaimed, "That's the book for me!")

Then Brodi Ashton (Ted's other brand new client from Utah) came in about thirty minutes late and sat at the empty seat at our end of the table--ending my personal conversation with Ted. But I have to say that Brodi is one of my new favorite people. She is absolutely hilarious, and even more pessimistically neurotic than I am. (You probably didn't think that was possible, did you?) You must check out her blog.

Anyway, Ted, Brodi, Jill Dembowski (editor from Little, Brown—they publish those Twilight books), and I went on to have a great conversation, and I was a little sad when Sydney announced that it was time to leave for the official SCBWI conference reception. Ted assured us we’d have plenty more time to talk there.

Brain malfunction #2: Brodi and I showed up to the location (a swank art gallery on 700 east) at the same time, checked in our coats, and walked around the corner to find a lavish spread of sushi and crudités, and attendees dressed to the nines (complete with little Yorkshire terriers poking out of their purses). "Wow," I thought, "SCBWI really went all out!"

Brodi said she didn't know anyone in the local writing community, and looking around, I realized that I must not know as many local authors as I thought, so we decided to stick together. We headed over to the OPEN BAR!, snagged a couple of bottled waters, and enjoyed California rolls from the buffet. We were having an entertaining conversation (did I mention Brodi is hilarious?), but I kept having this niggling feeling in the back of the place where my mind should have been that these other women in their stilettos and Gucci couture dresses were much too fashionable to be Utah children's writers. "Wow, these people must be really successful authors," I kept thinking. But after about 30 minutes I fully realized that I didn't know a single person in the room (especially that lady who was wearing a shitzu in a hip-pack) and said to Brodi, "I think we're at the wrong party."

We walked down the hall and discovered a partitioned room filled with people in jeans, sweaters, and loafers. I looked at the spread of Costco cakes on paper plates, and thought, "Now this is more like it!" Not to mention, I knew at least a third of the people in the room. Feeling much more at home, I had a great time talking to friends new and old. But unfortunately, because we were so late, Ted had already been swarmed with groupies and I barely got to say two sentences to him before Syndey ushered him out of the party.

Later, a group of us snuck back into the other party to snag some more bottled water. Brodi took a pic of the fancy spread so you can see the difference in the two parties.


Party #1

(That's me talking to Staci Whitman, former editor for Mirrorstone)

Party#2

(Now this is my kind of party!-- though I DO like sushi . . .maybe I'll just sneak back over there . . .)

So apparently the lessons I learned on brevity while doing my revisions are not applying to this post . . . so I'll continue the story tomorrow. Because if you think my brain malfunctions stopped Friday night, oh how wrong you'd be . . .

10 comments:

sarathered said...

Swanky digs! I think you could just sneak this pic out and right another blog entry entitled: My art debut. And then a caption: Me, meeting one of my many, MANY fans. And that piece on the right? Sold to the lady in red. :)

Brodi Ashton said...

Hmmm, this Brodi chica sounds pretty cool, although slightly depressing to be around. (Considering she lives in an abyss of pessimism neuroses).

You are a good new friend! If it weren't for your stellar skills of deduction, I'd still be at the wrong party, thinking children's writers sure can be hoity-toity!

-Brodi

Gaylene said...

I wish I could have been there with you. Sounds like fun--especially the swanky party :) I can't wait to buy your book for everyone I know...

Kimberly said...

That sinking feeling that I am in the wrong place I know well. Kudos for figuring it out, even if it did mean ditching the sushi. I once went to two wards (church wards, not psycho wards) thinking they were the same one. It took me three months to notice the activities announced in sacrament meeting were not the same activities announced in relief society. Forget the fact that I didn't notice there were completely different people at both meetings.

Kim said...

Bree, your hilarious. I love reading your blog as much as I love reading your books. When you say your next book, I hope you're getting back to the other one I've read, because I have to know what comes next.

Emily Allen said...

"Niggling". . . who writes that? Only Darn Good Writers of Young Adult Fiction!!!! Heck yeah! ;) Love it! Your blog is extremely fun and entertaining. Best of luck Bree!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog. I am so excited for you. You are an awesome writer and it has been fun to follow what has been happening with you. I'm surprised you could even function at all at the party with only 3 hours of sleep.

Diane LeRoy

Elena said...

I thought only I did things like walk into the wrong party, show up for the right function on the wrong week, take the wrong exit and end up in the wrong city--that sort of thing. And you only did it because you were short on sleep. It's just normal for me. I love ADHD. At least you were in the right building. And I didn't realize that Ted was your agent. Lucky you. I loved his speech at SCBWI. I was thinking, wow, that's the kind of agent I want. Good luck with all that exciting stuff.

Alyosha said...

It took you 30 minutes to figure out that writers are poor? Just joking. Costco cakes all the way. So, is your next project the Persephone book, or your old book?

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Yes, the Persephone/Orpheus story is my next project. I guess I should go get working on that instead of poking around on my own blog . . .