Last year my time in Boston felt out of sync with my needs. I worried about networking and spending time with people whom, in retrospect, I'm not sure had the same goals. I left Boston sad and a little depressed. Things just had not gone as I'd envisioned. My experience and expectations took different paths.
Nevertheless, I forged ahead and wrote a proposal for the 2014 convention, an overview of which I wrote about here.
This year I traveled to Washington D.C. determined not to worry about whether or not I networked, determined not to feel hurt if I wasn't included on others' lists of people to hang out with, determined not to worry about whether or not those whose sessions I have attended in the past reciprocated by attending mine, intent on not allowing the cliques inherent in most organizational structures to define my experience.
In short, I decided to experience the convention my way with only my professional and social expectations in mind. That meant I didn't worry about whether or not I had arranged to sit with people I know at the ALAN breakfast and the Secondary Section Luncheon. I had not. I didn't worry about being alone or having someone to hang out w/ during sessions and events. Consequently, I had a very organic and gratifying convention experience, and I was rarely alone. I was never lonely.
I captured many of my favorite convention experiences in photos.
Attending NCTE is about meeting and hearing authors. I kicked off the convention in a session featuring Jacqueline Woodson speaking about and reading from Brown Girl Dreaming, and I scored a free copy of the book!
|Jacqueline Woodson, NBA Winner for Brown Girl Dreaming|
|Bob, me, Cherylanne, Kylene, Debbie.|
|Selfie w/ David Levithan at the ALAN breakfast.|
|Rebecca from Louisville, Kentucky|
|Andrew Smith indulging my giddiness resulting from meeting fabulous authors.|
|Chris Crutcher signing Period 8.|
|Cory Doctorow during his signing of Little Brother.|
|Shakespeare and me!|
|A selfie w/ Dana Huff in the Folger Shakespeare Library Reading Room!|
|Reunited in the Reading Room w/ Mari O'Meara, my friend from TSI 2008!|
|My friend Michael Klein, also a TSI 2008 alum.|
|The cast of Julius Caesar during the Q &A|
Additionally, I met some wonderful people in my session, at events, and in others' sessions.
Of course, the NCTE Annual Convention wouldn't be complete without the books. I purchased some from many genres, including professional, picture, MG, and YA. I also snagged some ARCs to share with students, and acquired a pile of books for my granddaughter. I managed to arrive home needing to purchase two new suitcases that finally went to that big baggage claim in the great beyond.
|Books for my students.|
|Books for my granddaughter, Kayla|
I encourage others to join me for NCTE 2015 in Minneapolis and to consider writing a proposal for the convention program, which I'm planning to blog about later. I was more than 20 years into my career before attending the NCTE annual convention. I wish I had known what I was missing years ago.