This weekend I was a mentor at the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature One-on-One Plus Conference. This is the third time I was invited and attended this conference and I was really looking forward to going. But this year it was kind of a pain in the neck for me to get there. You see, I had double booked myself! Without looking at my calendar I had also bought lots of tickets to the events at the Woodstock Film Festival! So I was up in Woodstock, NY (peace out, man) on Thursday and Friday, watching tons and tons of indie movies and panels and stuff. Then I woke up on Saturday before sunrise, hopped
in my car, drove a gazillion miles to New Jersey, and went into agent/mentor mode. Then I drove back to Woodstock, had dinner at my client Ric’s restaurant, New World Home Cooking, and did more Film Festival stuff on Sunday. Why did I do that? Because 1. the Rutgers conference is pretty special; 2. I love eating at New World; 3. The Woodstock Film Festival is super fun and interesting; 4. Autumn in the Catskills; 5. I want it all!
Let me tell you about the Rutgers Conference… Each mentor is assigned a participant. The mentors are editors, agents, and published writers. The participants are writers who have applied to attend the conference. We get to meet for a full hour with our mentee, discussing a writing sample they’ve submitted; have lunch with them; sit in a discussion group with them. It’s kind of awesome to be assigned to hang out with a writer for a few hours and talk to them about their work. Usually at conferences you get about 10 minutes with someone. For someone like me (who talks too much) that is so insufficient. But at Rutgers I get the opportunity to connect a little more deeply and hopefully to make a real difference for someone. My mentee this year is an actress. I mean, that’s her day job! How cool is that?
And of course there are also panels and keynotes and stuff. And there’s this awkward mingle hour where all the mentors go into a kind of stuffy room, with tall cocktail tables (but no cocktails… what’s up with that?!), and we’re supposed to use that time to “network” with each other. Holy awkward nerd herding, Batman! When I feel insecure and shy I talk too much and say stupid things, trying to be funny. Epic Linda. I did hand a few folks my business card though. And I met a few editors that I’ve wanted to meet in person, as well as some new names and faces. Somehow I got in a pretty intense, kind of personal conversation, over lunch with someone I’d just met (about tattoos, fairy tales, being present in life!). That’s writing conferences, yes, but that’s also the Rutgers conference. It’s pretty awesome.
But basically, I had an awesome weekend. But I drove too much. But I bought a 32 lb pumpkin! But it was great. How about you? How was your weekend?
Make sure to check back here next week, for the inaugural interview in my new series “5 Questions for an Editor,” with my first
victim guest, editor Andrew Harwell from HarperCollins. I’m shooting for interviews about once a month.