I'm back from the Overcoming Challenges Program at the Eric Carle Museum. I'm sure you all recall that I was planning to introduce myself to as many people as I could over the course of the day, and then get back to you with the results.
Well, here are the results.
I figured I was going to hit twelve or thirteen people at a bare minimum. I only managed seven, and the last one I spoke with but forgot to formally introduce myself to. What happened?
1. A lot of people attend these writer events in groups. Walking into an auditorium where an entire row or rows clearly are a "group" isn't great for introductions, unless, maybe, you're campaigning.
2. At lunch I met someone I knew and then more people I knew, and so I buddied up and the introduciton thing sort of fell by the wayside. Not that I am complaining, by any means. It was great.
Here's what profound meaning I took from this:
1. It is hard to barge into a group and start introducing yourself. So become a bit predatory and look for "stragglers" or single people to, uh, prey upon. Someone who is attending a professional event by herself (and most of the participants at any children's literature event I've ever attended have been women) is actually happy to meet someone. I talked with a new illustrator who was very interesting.
2. Also, a couple of people I introduced myself to looked a bit familiar to me or their names seemed familiar. So I said, "Gee, you look familiar. Do we know each other?" Turned out we didn't, and they were new people! Seriously, that wasn't a come on. I did think they looked familiar. However, it occurred to me later that it could be a come on. It could be a way of smoothing your way into an introduction. And it isn't a lie because after you've been to a few of these things, you do start seeing people who look familiar.
3. Finally, when you've been forcing yourself to act friendly, you start feeling friendly. That's why when I actually saw someone I really knew while she was in the hallway by herself, I called out, "Hey, Dana!" And the first thing I knew, I had company for lunch and some great talking.
So while I didn't meet as many people as I theorized I would, the experiment was fascinating.