Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snow-mageddon and CCIRA

Sometimes the Writer's Journey isn't just a metaphor. Writing takes you places. This weekend it took me to Denver during a blizzard that people were calling Snow-mageddon. The weather was horrible but the event was fabulous. CCIRA (Colorado Council International Reading Association) held their 45th Conference on Literacy February 1-4. In conjunction with the educator's conference they sponsored a Young Writer's Festival for students. I gave two workshops for young teens embarking on the Writer's Journey.

I was a little worried that I might not make it. My 8:30 a.m. flight was cancelled and the only open flight didn't leave until 5:30 that evening. It was delayed until 6:30. When we got on the plane the stewardness told us to all "think positive thoughts" about making it safely to Denver. Not a good sign.
I saw "The Grey" last weekend, the movie where Liam Neeson's plane goes down in the Alaskan wilderness and he has to fight off wild wolves with the other survivors as they walk through blizzard-like conditions trying to find shelter.  I'm usually an optimist, but I found myself sitting near the emergency exit and scanning the faces of the other passenger's wondering which ones had survival skills.

Landing safely in Denver turned out to be the easy part. When I reached the rental car agency, the girl bundled up in the little hut by the cars pointed a frozen finger at a bunch of snow covered cars and told me to "pick anything in that row." I found a mega-snow scraper inside a Chevy HHR and proceeded to look for the car buried under the white stuff. Then I found the highway leading to the hotel, 25 miles away, and set off on my journey. The next morning when I woke up, this is what my rental car looked like.

The weather was bleak, but CCIRA was great. I got to talk to some really special teens. I'm always amazed by how talented young people are and how wonderful story ideas just seem to flow from them. During the luncheon there was an awards banquet for young writers and I got to hear Michael Buckley talk about his interesting life, working for shows like MTV and crawling through tunnels to interview homeless people for a documentary. He's the author of The Sister's Grimm series.

During the luncheon I visited with Dian Curtis Regan versatile author of picture books and novels (Princess Nevermore, The World According to Kaley, Monster Baby). Here we are posing with the delightful masks adorning the tables at the Young Author's Banquet. By the time the banquet ended, the sun had come out and most of the snow had melted off the rental car. I headed north to visit family, then flew back Sunday just in time for the Superbowl and the Madonna half-time show. Now I'm settling in for the evening, thinking about how the Writer's Life truly is a wonderful adventure.

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