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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

SLICE OF LIFE

This used to be one of my favorite weeks of the year.

NCTE.

I loved it.

Usually, I would get on a plane on Thursday night. The last few years I went, it was Thanksgiving dinner day at my school and I had usually done lunch duty for 5 hours straight. I was totally exhausted. But I was going to NCTE.

Most years, I roomed with my friend Cyrene. We had gone to graduate school together at UNH. After grad school, she moved to northern Maine and I moved home to Colorado. NCTE was the one time a year we got to see each other and all of our other UNH friends. There would be rich conversations, sharing of books, a little wine and lots of laughter. I loved it.

And I loved the sessions. Three days of Speaker Nirvana. Don Graves. Ralph Fletcher. Tom Newkirk. Linda Rief. Shelley Harwayne. Author after author after author. A time for drinking deeply from the well of professional knowledge.

I loved the Exhibit Hall. Wandering through row after row after row of publisher. Children's books. Poetry. Professional books. I loved it.

I haven't gone to NCTE for a number of years. One of the first years after I adopted the boys, I commented to one of them that I was going, but would be back really, really soon. And Isaiah, my older son, replied, "It seems really, really soon to the person going, but to the person staying, it's a really long time." And I felt horrible that my boys, who had been without a family for so long were feeling so alone. So I stopped going away overnight.

And then they got older and went away, but I was a single mom paying tuition and conventions were a luxury. So I haven't gone. For a really long time.

But I really miss it.

I loved NCTE.

2 comments:

Linda Baie said...

I wish you could go, too, Carol. This time, I'd love to be there, but I've found I'm not as enthusiastic. I'll love following the tweets, though.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I understand all too well. NCTE is the only overnight travel I have allowed myself for a couple of years, and before that, I only allowed myself two conferences a year. One of my students told me that it's going to be in Denver again in a few years, but I haven't seen an official announcement of that. I can wish!