The SCBWI Miami Conference – a reasonable drive from my house (as reasonable as you can get when Miami is involved) – is in full swing. I’m in home in my PJs, explaining to my 5-year-old why Pringles are not breakfast food. It’s killing me. THe missing out, not her dietary logic.
Long story short, having extensive internal injuries inflicted on you by an unwashed lunatic wielding a tens-of-thousands-of-pounds weapon, is expensive. Going to work with a brain-impairing concussion devastates your career when your whole personal brand is built around “highly intelligent, quick at assessing situations and driving teams to innovative solutions”. Getting your coworkers to accept that your billion medical appointments are necessary when your injuries are internal, can be an uphill battle. Fortunately, I’m smart again and have my injuries under control, but… it might well be too late to recover my career and professional reputation. Months of being out of work has dinged our finances, which especially with small children means cuts to expenses like conferences.
If my career is over, I don’t know when conferences will be possible again.
It’s hard for people outside the writing community to get it, but conferences are craft, networking, and gaining friendships with a greater cross-section of people than I meet otherwise. The rapport-building, structure, discipline, and quick-zoom between big and small picture that is writing kidlit, strengthens (and cross-pollinates) my abilities in SDLC, scrum, project management, UX, and strategic roadmap building.
This is killing me.
After having been through some shit, I don’t think I’ve ever hated anyone in my life as much as I despise the evil monster who hit me. It was me, my car, my career, my dreams, my family, my children’s future, any future good I was destined to contribute and its beneficiaries, that he’s put at risk out of pure stupidity (at best).
And unlike the story arc of most antagonists, the “change, and change rewarded, and then ultimately mop the floor with some sorry antagonist ass” step for the main character (me) isn’t clear. But life doesn’t wrap up neatly and happily, and story arcs aren’t clean unless we write, re-write and edit them down to the atom.
But like the road to publication, “grit” or “gumption” (which I’ve always had in spades) aren’t enough in some situations. You need luck, connections, your story told. You need to be in the right place at the right time. It took one jerk to randomly decide I needed to be knocked down a few dozen pegs, and my journey to publication just got a lot harder.
Our amazing Regional Advisor of quite a few years, who has always gone out of her way to be kind to me, has come through again to let me work the admission desk tomorrow. I’m so grateful to absorb at least some of the positive and creative energy, but… how devoted do I look to these agents there? Presuming they even take notice of me?
What I will do this year is not take it for granted that “I can get pics with my friends next conference”. Never take another day for granted. My iphone is charged up.
So look decent and swing by the registration desk, people. At 66K words, my MS isn’t going to slide itself under the bathroom stall door.