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  • October 5th, 2009 | 10:19 AM
Austin trip in people pictures

I am home from Austin where I had a fabulous time. I will update more with words later as it takes some time to distill it all and I have a stack of reading to do for class tonight. But I can give you the short version, in pictures, first. Okay, the super short version without pictures is that I had a fabulous time and learned so much about myself in the process.

The day before I left I made a quick run down to Hicklebees to see David Lubar. David was charming the kids one by one but my favorite was the red-haired boy who came away clutching his book to his chest who said, "I can't believe I got an actual David Lubar autograph in my own book." He was going up to everyone in the store telling them about it.
From VCFA Day in Austin

Then it was off to Austin at o-dark-thirty in the morning. I got there Thursday afternoon and Thursday night I went to dinner with author/illustrator Don Tate and illustrator Mary Sullivan. Mary illustrated my picture book, Oliver's Must-do List. We had a great time chat about all things under the sun on the lovely patio of a restaurant I can't remember the name of. I wanted to set up a dinner like this for every week! A perfect start to the trip. The only bummer was the bakery that Don and Mary were raving about was closed by the time we were done and now I will never know what a black and white cookie is. Sigh.
From VCFA Day in Austin

The rain held off until I was back in my hotel room but then the thunder and lighting started up. It has been a long time since I lived in a place that had lighting storms like these. I couldn't get the patio door to open to get a good picture but I was mesmerized. This was one of the small strikes. Most were two or three verticals at once.
From VCFA Day in Austin

In the morning liz_scanlon picked me up and we headed off to Austin for breakfast. We started talking and didn't stop until it was time for Liz to pass me over for the next stage of my trip. Part of the joy of meeting people you've known online for a while is that you know if it is someone you are going to click with, feel comfortable with and then when you meet, it brings a new dimension to the visit.
From VCFA Day in Austin

Liz took me over to BookPeople so I could meet up with my longtime friend Peni Griffin who drove up from San Antonio to see me. Peni and I poked around BookPeople for a while before driving over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. We hiked around, looking at plants and birds, on a perfect weather day, the sun staying behind the clouds until we were ready to leave.
From VCFA Day in Austin

After that it was off to the reception for the conference where I finally got to meet in person another long time friend, Cynthia Leitich Smith. We forgot to snap a picture but I did get one with her equally charming husband Greg.
From VCFA Day in Austin

From VCFA Day in Austin

I got to meet LJ buddy jo_no_anne who refused to take no for an answer.
From VCFA Day in Austin

and another LJ buddy alison23 whom I didn't get enough time to chat with.
From VCFA Day in Austin

After all that visiting and hiking, this shrinking violet was exhausted. Alas I had had no sleep the night before because of the cement bed, evidently a hallmark of this particular chain. So I asked for extra pillows and created a new version of the pillow top mattress.
From VCFA Day in Austin

Uma Krishnaswami is another long time online friend that I was so happy to get to meet. I have her beautiful voice imprinted in my brain now which plays back in my head as I read her words on the screen. 


From VCFA Day in Austin

Uma introduced me to her critique partner and poet friend Stephanie Farrow. We chatted about poetry and so much more. It was hard to believe we had only just met.
From VCFA Day in Austin

Donna Bowman Bratton was another friend met on this trip that felt like an old friend from far away.
From VCFA Day in Austin

After the conference a group of us went to dinner at a nearby restaurant. This was our end of the table. Stephanie, Me, Donna, Emma Virjan, and Erin Edwards. We ate and drank. Talked and laughed. Filled up our wells for all sorts of writing.
From VCFA Day in Austin

I had high hopes of Cassie pining away for me while I was gone. This was the image I kept in my mind.
From VCFA Day in Austin

Alas, when I got home, she ignored me, as though she hadn't even noticed I'd been gone.

There are other pictures circulating out there somewhere that I hope people will send to me. This was a terrific trip, a learning experience on so many levels. I'm so very glad I went. I will post the more introspective version of the trip tomorrow.

(Tags: , )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 27 comments — Leave comment )
October 5th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
It looks and sounds as if you had a wonderful time. I am envious.
October 7th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
It was a terrific time in so many ways. Wish you could have joined us.
October 5th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
It looks like a fabulous time.
October 7th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
It was great! I think I need to move New England up to the top of my "next" list.
October 5th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
WOW! Fabulous! :) Glad you had a great time! I'm bummed I missed David Lubar locally! :( I've been so offline that I didn't even know he was here! Darn!
October 7th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
Thanks, it was wonderful. Do you get the Hicklebee's newsletter? It helps me keep up with who's coming to town because I don't always see other people's blogs.
October 5th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
WOW! What a wonderful trip! I'm so happy for you, Susan!!!
October 7th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jo. It was just what I needed.
October 5th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Loved the pictures! And love looking forward to the more introspective version, too! Thank you!!!!
October 7th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jeannine. I just posted the inside story. :)
October 6th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Great photoessay-- wish I'd been able to come and visit with you all!
October 7th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
It would have been so much fun to have you there too. I really do think I am going to start traveling around to other state conferences though so I can see friends.
October 6th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Wonderful pictures! Looks like you had a fabulous time!
October 7th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
I did! I put my introverted self in the bottom of the suitcase and didn't let her out the entire time.
October 6th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Very cool, Susan! Thanks so much for sharing. :-)
October 7th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for taking a gander.
October 6th, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Great photos! Glad you had a good time.
October 7th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Thank you. It was such fun.
(Deleted comment)
October 7th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Re: Great pix!
Thanks, Laura. It was way outside my comfort zone and yet it felt so comfortable.
October 6th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'm impressed that the hotel gave you so many pillows that you could actually construct something like that. Good to see you!
October 7th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
Good point! They did look at me a little oddly and I'm sure the maids were talking about me. I don't care. I actually slept for 2 nights! And it was great to see you too.

Edited at 2009-10-07 06:59 am (UTC)
October 6th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
What a great trip, Susan!!! And you got to meet two of my New Mexico peeps, Uma and Stephanie!!!
October 7th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
oooh, yes and it was so nice to chat with them.
October 6th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
Great pics!!

And I guarantee you Cassie missed you. She's just playing hard to get.
October 7th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Thanks, Barbara. Funny thing. Monday she still kept her distance but today she was all over me all day long. She never took a nap!
October 7th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
You know, young "human" kids often pull the ignoring thing on traveling parents. It may very well mean Cassie REALLY missed you.

The trip looks wonderful!
October 7th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
It's so hard to tell because of course time for dogs is so different but today she was my shadow and that made me feel better.
( 27 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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