Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where Does One Begin to Show Their Appreciation for #NCTE14? This has been amazing!

Jacqueline Woodson and Jason Reynolds
At 1:15 today, after my colleagues and I present on "Textual, Tech-tual, and Textured Lineages" (thank you Alfred Tatum), we head to Union Station for a five hour train ride back to Connecticut. That means I've presented twice for NWP, and five times for NCTE in the last four days. I'm exhausted, but it is a great feeling to be this tired.

Why? Serendipity. Joy. Bliss. Synergy. Karma. Ubuntu. I'm really jiving with this philosophical stuff.

Before my research talk yesterday, I promised Kwame Alexander I would hunt him down in the book signing area. Oddly (yes, it's odd for him), he wasn't signing books, but was just hanging out with this guy named Jason Reynolds. Jason Reynolds? Yes, Jason Reynolds, author of When I Was the Greatest and The Boy In The Black Suit. Sweet. Nice to meet him, too.

Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Dr. Steven Bickmore, and
Kwame Alexander.
And then in walks Jacqueline Woodson, whose YA books were staples in the curriculum of my classroom: Brown Girl Dreaming, Miracle's Boys, Beneath a Meth Moon, etc. Well, she hugs Jason, and Jason grabs Kwame, and I grab Dr. Steven Bickmore, organizer of the Louisiana State University Young Adult Literature Conference and we have a little soiree in the Gaylord Convention Center (a prelude of the possibilities to come in 2015 with the already HOT week of YA conversations - proposals currently being accepted).

I have to pinch myself.

Really, Crandall? Is this real? Does this really happen? These beautiful writers actually exist and are approachable? They're willing to hang out with a nerd like you?

It sure does look like it (and then I get a tweet from Laurie Halse Anderson). For real?

But I write today simply to celebrate all he creative efforts and brilliant planning that went into the NCTE convention this year. It was remarkable and I had a blast (and am proud I finally had an opportunity to present). I'm unsure if I will be able to make it to next year's venue (snow and all), but we shall see. There's so many more conversations still to be had.

Ubuntu. Kreativitet. Kuumba - all of this. I can be me because of who we are together.

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