And I Went to KidLitCon, But I Was Still Myself

I did it. That's what I tell myself anyway. I went to KidLitCon2012, and I gave my presentation. I figured out how to work the non-Mac computer, and I listened. I got to see the amazing in- and under-side of the New York Public Library, which is the coolest place in the world. It has outsides in its inside. See here:

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We were inside, but what you see—that marble expanse—is the old exterior wall, that now lives inside the building like a secret. Also: the old New York City reservoir, on which the public library was built, is still there. Its strange rough walls exist as a kind of backdrop.

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Those stones? The old reservoir. I can't tell you how cool I found this. I wish I had my normal camera, instead of my phone.

Here it is all together: the crazy reservoir wall, the marble exterior trapped in the interior for all eternity, the window that used to look outside now looking inside. If I were going to run away in 5th grade, this is where I think I would come. Though no question: it does feel haunted.

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I did get to feel all special and like I worked there, because the room where I presented was here:

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Not only did I have the awesome velvet rope, but if you look down the hall (and pretend it's not blurry), you can see that there are also ornate metal gates, which you had to slip through. Thank you to all the kind and thoughtful people who attended my presentation. Endless, endless thanks to the NYPL, and to Betsy Bird, who organized the conference with help from Monica Edinger and other amazing people. They are who allowed it to exist, and gave me a place to present, and a forum for so many interested people to communicate together about the books they love.

I always wish, with things like this, that I will go there and instantly feel, "I belong! I belong so damn much that I will lose any self-consciousness I ever had, and will move freely and gaily among the others, exchanging views and thoughts, and shedding my normal self like a dirty old cloak."

This did not happen. And probably it would be a little creepy if it happened? But.

But I do wish I wasn't seized by shyness. That I didn't get quiet and shut off when I'm in a group of more than, oh, one person. I wish I could just walk up to people I wanted to talk to and talk to them. I wish I didn't convince myself in the moment "It will be better if I just go off alone" and then later think, "Wait, I didn't have to do that."

Maybe someday, I will be different. In any case, here is the most beautiful picture I took of the library.

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It has it all, the spooky reservoir, the outside inside, then soaring up and away to the sky. I must say that I am very very tempted to find a metaphor in here somewhere, but I think I will leave it alone.

15 thoughts on “And I Went to KidLitCon, But I Was Still Myself

  1. FWIW, even though I *did* feel like I’d Found My People at last year’s kidlitcon, my favorite memories of it are of dragging people over to corners & talking with them one-on-one. It’s just the best thing. Sometimes I think that most conferences (and maybe even most of life) is just about creating a space and a context for those talking-like-crazy-with-one-person times to happen.

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  2. Oh, I wish I could have been there. I probably would have walked right up and started talking to YOU! Problem? Solved. What was your presentation about? I mean, I know it was about books an all, but….?

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  3. Oh I wish I could have gone. But like you would probably have been in a corner peering around a palm frond or something. I love Betsy though- so maybe not. 😉

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  4. Megsie, I appreciate the whole idea of your solution. And funnily enough, my presentation wasn’t on books at all—really, most weren’t, as far as I can tell, which is something for me to think about. It was about (meta-alert) getting response & comments on your blog. Really, I should have had you awesome people do it, because you’re the ones who comment….

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  5. Thanks for the photos from inside the library! Wow, what a place! And perhaps you’ll gradually overcome your shyness, so that in a few KidLitCons you’ll move easily around, practically owning the place 😉

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  6. I can see why you were so fascinated by the library’s hidden bits and architecture!
    Yes, I wanted to know more about what you said about us 🙂

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  7. “But I do wish I wasn’t seized by shyness. That I didn’t get quiet and shut off when I’m in a group of more than, oh, one person. I wish I could just walk up to people I wanted to talk to and talk to them.”
    ME. I do this. And I’m going to a convention next month and I wish I weren’t like this…but at least I know I’m in good company!
    (And the library looks amazing!)

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