Monday, September 14, 2009

Writers, Wheat, and Giant Wagon

Crack o' dawn. Stumble into car. Drive away from our house in the woods. Waiting for coffee to kick in. We're off to see the wizard...wait, I am the wizard. Off to present at the Inland Empire SCBWI Regional Conference. The ferry smooths us over to Seattle in the distant mist.


You must cross the Cascade Mountains
to find the Inland Empire.













Then you must brave the corn people, the prairie dogs, and the rednecks before you arrive at the Inland Empire with its strange wonders. In an earlier post I told of the last time I was in the Inland Empire and was doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Spokane. A pig came up to me in the store and asked for my autograph. This is true. Word. Ipso Facto.

Wheat fields, silos and tractors...

Spokane is a lovely city cut in half by a powerful river, with beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings.

There's evidence that Gulliver used to hang out in this town. His journal was originally called Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World.... so now you know. It's not called The Inland Empire for nothing.


I spoke to writers and illustrators about letting your picture book story swallow you whole, as in Shel Silverstein's poem, I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor.

Which reminds me, I once had python soup when I was in Singapore. It did not taste like chicken. It tasted stringy, like snake.

It was a great conference. Thanks so much to all the organizers and attendees. Among the highlights was meeting editor, Mary Kate Castellani of Walker Books for Young Readers. I was also happy to meet author, Judy Gregerson, and hubby, Scott.

I am still recovering from meeting Terry Trueman. He is a force to be reckoned with. He looked down at my Birkenstocks and said, " Yeah, well do your thing here, and then get out of town as quick as you can..." He drives like my life depended on it. He is, in fact, delightful. All things considered. Susi and I read his book, Stuck In Neutral, on our trip back home. Mind-blowingly good book. I'll do a separate post about it, later.


On the journey home from The Inland Empire we saw these scurvy pirates. They were no match for our newly restocked inspiration, and writerly resolve. With my illustrator's savoir faire I dispatched them handily to the bottom of Davey Jone's Junior High locker.

7 comments:

-karen ann. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-karen ann. said...

firstly, how does a pig ask for your autograph, because i think i would have heard by now if pigs could talk.

secondly, don't you love the landscapes of washington? they are so varied and cool.

thirdly, your schooner pic looks imagined; it's all soft and blurry like a dream.

thanks for sharing your journey.

steven said...

hey richard! sweet journey - oceans, mountains, rivers and at the most climactic moment a teeny tiny dig about your birks!!!! who are these people?!!!! have a peaceful day. steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Well, Karen Ann, if you stop and think about it, they grunt. Which this pig did. He had a harness around him (to keep track of his owner)and he walked up to my signing table and talked to me. It made my day. Yes, we are fortunate to have such variety of landscapes close by. Did I imagine that ship? It seemed so real...

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Yeah, Steven, I think a lot of fine people wore Birks, like Moses, Gandhi, Newton, Beatix Potter, Benjamin Bunny, Spartacus...

BJW said...

Nice wagon. That could haul some serious stuff. Sounds like a fun conference. Hope to meet Terry Trueman in real life someday. All evidence points to him being a pretty cool guy.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Would a wagon like that come in handy? I think so. Yeah, Terry is a trip and great guy.