And, I'm still recovering from this past weekend at the Keene State Children's Literature Festival. It was an amazing experience being a speaker at such a prestigious event. And I'm sure that my presentation, full of references to farts and boogers, did much to enhance the overall tone of the festival.
Pictured above are: Me (dressed in my finest formal jeans and t-shirt), David White (The festival organizer, whose hand is prepared to give me a Vulcan Death Grip should I try one more time to give him bunny ears), Paul Janeczko (A wonderful poet and very cool guy from Maine whose last name appears to be missing some vowels or something), Jeanette Winters (who had the coolest glasses I have ever seen - I suspect that they gave her x-ray vision, but she wouldn't let me try them), Chris Raschka (A Caldecott winning illustrator from New York) and Susan Cooper (author of The Dark Is Rising Series and a very funny lady).
David works hard at organizing this Festival lining up some of the biggest names in Children's Literature to speak every year.
I still cannot fathom why he asked me to participate.
My guess is that one of his festival advisers jokingly said, "You know what this festival needs? More booger jokes. And fart jokes." And David, perhaps in a weakened condition from correcting his ten thousandth term paper, agreed and emailed me, asking me to participate.
When I did get that email from David, over a year ago, I was so excited that I did a little happy dance around my house. It is fortunate for all of us that no video footage is available of that dance. Particularly because I got the email early one morning, and was still in my Homer Simpson jammies with the big rip in the seat.
I did however, post a short video of part of my presentation. See it over there on the right side of the page? I was trying to read some of my more serious poetry about wedgies and farts and the whole darned audience kept interrupting me with raucous laughter.
The entire festival weekend was a whirlwind of dinners, socials, gallery tours, lunches, and fun. David and his husband, Ken hosted a terrific party at the Irish Cottage that they built on their property. The whiskey flowed like wine. The Guinness flowed like whiskey.
It was an amazing experience and it would have been impossible to pick out one favorite part of the weekend if it weren't for a young lady named Rachel.
Despite all the terrific things that happened and the incredible honor of being asked to speak at the festival, the greatest moment of the weekend (and possibly my entire life) happened at lunch the day of the festival.
I had mentioned during my presentation that I am offering free books for life for anyone who is willing to get a Marty Kelley tattoo (see previous posts). I suspected that if there was ever a crowd where someone might take me up on this offer, a room full of teachers, college students, and librarians would be it.
Those people know how to party.
At lunch, Rachel - dear, sweet, wonderful Rachel - eclipsed all my previous earthly delights by saying, "$40 for a tattoo in exchange for all those books? Heck Yeah! I'm in! Do I have to get it in a certain spot?"
I explained that I did want to post pictures of her tattoo on this blog, so she might consider keeping it in a PG location, though, should she decide otherwise, I may start a different blog just to share it.
Perhaps she will attend next year's conference and you will get a chance to see it for yourself.