kidlitcon wrapup

So I had a pretty amazing weekend. And it’s not even over. I have today off from regular job and don’t have to be to second job until late afternoon, so I get to catch up on television shows, blogging, and reading, because I haven’t done a lot of that lately. Also, calming down and taking it easy is good for you, I hear, so this is an excellent opportunity to, like, work hard in a relaxing way.

I went to KidLitCon and presented twice, but even better, I went to a conference that wasn’t for librarians and got to meet other likeminded people who come from a different space than I am coming from these days. That’s not to say there were no librarians – go ahead, just try to plan a book-related event and have us not be there – but it wasn’t for librarians, it was for people who blog about kidlit, and sometimes librarians do that. It was also a very small con – there were maybe 35 of us, which means I think at some point I spoke to every person there. And we were all engaged in the same cause – diversity in kidlit and YA.

Also, I think, at least as far as ratios go, it was the conference with the highest percentage of people of color attending, which was refreshing. I am not a person who remembers to take photos, which I generally don’t care about, but it was kind of too bad, because I am a person who appreciates the existence of photos in service of memory-keeping, but I tend to remember things anyway if they matter, so I think I’m okay.

I got some good stuff out of this conference, in addition to new Twitter and Facebook friends and more blogs to read. I had a lot of time to reflect on strategies to make their blogs a bit more A Blog About Thing and less Hey Guys I’m Writing Stuff On This WordPress Sometimes And I Hope You Read It But Whatever. I was asked to reconsider self-publishing, and it’s always good when your perceptions are challenged. I was forced to think about things like Snapchat and YouTube, which scare me, and even though I probably will not use a lot of them, I will reconsider them and at least not be judgey about them. I met some folks from the #WeNeedDiverseBooks team and learned about their methodical approach to this amazing grassroots effort of awesomeness, and I was very jealous that I was not a part, but I am happy to be supportive of their movement because it’s my movement too, even if it’s not my organization. And I got to be loud and angry and was told that I am “direct” and not “an awful, mean person.” (I have some other things about that, because Shondagate and because my privilege and my forgetting that I am not white, but I will work through and maybe write about that at another time when I am being less happy and more introspective.) I also got to present with some wonderful and amazing people whom I had never met before (and one I had, but it was excellent to see her again). I am so lucky that I got to go and be energized by people who do things that I like doing and seeing and who encouraged me to do things. And I’m so happy that many of the people who were at the con are actually local to me, so I have the chance to see them again and keep the good energy going. If you saw my post a little while ago that I made private already, you know I’m kind of crunchy these days and into exercise and good energy and positive thinking, which is REALLY outside my personality and comfort zone, so that’s big.

I’m still working on a pretty way to share with you guys the three types of bloggers presentation I did that was apparently not as reductive and half-assed as I thought, in my sleepy state, that it might be. So bear with me while I get to that. I do, however, have a document to share with you that you may share freely, so long as you alter it in no way and do not remove my name from it, because I spent A LOT of time on it. It’s a handbook to reading and blogging diversely even if you want to make excuses or even if you are afraid that your privilege makes you unwelcome in the conversation. You are welcome, so long as you are willing to accept criticism and correction and to continue learning stuff and not try to be the loudest person in the room when you’re an ally rather than a member. It’s not like I am a member of every marginalized group I mention in this booklet, but I like to think that I am always learning more and being as good an ally as I can be. If I operate under the assumption that the people around me will not trigger me or erase my experiences or tell me my marginalizations are not valid, I have to do the same for others, and that means CONSTANT VIGILANCE but also just trying to be a good person who pays attention and listens. So you do your part and I’ll do mine, k? Go ahead and download my little trifold thingie here. And here’s the slideshow we had going on in the background while we got things set up. And thanks. This was just what I needed.

Edited to add: Some of my wonderful co-conference goers and presenters have been wrapping things up, too. Zetta Elliot, for one. Charlotte, for another. More as I find them.

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