Rita Crayon Huang (rhcrayon) wrote,
Rita Crayon Huang

rita's very first (top-secret!!) conference POST

Hello, hello!!  I just spent a couple hours reading everyone else's blogs about this weekend (by people I've met and hung out with now!!!!! Who are super cool). And I have things to say, too, so I will be brave and post comments. But, in the meantime, there are a couple things kicking around my brain I never got a chance to tell anyone, so . . .

No links.

No proper names.

No mention even of What We Do.

This is Rita's Very First (Top-Secret!!) Conference Post. 

(Notice how carefully I avoid telling you the name of this conference—or what kind of conference we attended. This is because if you know, then you already know! But I'm still pretty new to blogs, and, frankly, Search Engines scare me. So, even though I want you friendly people to read this, we must speak in code.)

1. A person needs to cultivate joy, and this weekend was very joyful. I have joy from this weekend.

2. I got to talk with a certain conference speaker (this is a code-word replacement for what I would call him otherwise) for a minute, while he was signing my copy of his book. And it turned out that a certain other, Very Awesome Someone was standing next to me, who had already shared with him this same anecdote (about the woman-next-to-us's reactions during this speaker's speech). So I was telling him something he'd already heard, and it was all very fun to re-tell, and we three cracked up.

(If you want to know who I'm talking about, I'll give you a hint. This is what he does: 

And this is him:  THIS guy! THIS guy! (I'm mouthing the words)  ) 

(I don't think you can Google a picture, so I'll show photos instead of saying names. It's like internet sign language! THEY CAN'T HEAR US!!) 

What I did not tell this wonderful speaker, however, was my own reaction to his speech. Which was:

"Speakers" come to this conference, every year, who are funny, whom all the other wannabe-"speakers" go around in love with, after.

But the source of humor in 90, 95 percent of these speeches is always about how different the reality turned out to be from the fantasy of how they would succeed. So the message you end up taking away is that you have to shrink your hope. Or guide it. Guard it. Keep it secret, keep it safe.

(Also: Don't give up/You never know/You make your luck/Serendipity can't find you if you hide. I'm paraphrasing.) 

And that's good, you know. It's real. It gets bittersweet after a while, but no one wants to stay deluded. 

This guy, on the other hand, made a movie about "what it was like" that fed directly into the fantasy. Just over-the-top, ridiculous, and joyful. He was Rocky-training with a trainer (waking up early every morning, reaching for that paintbrush, "Eye!!!!—of the Tiger!"); he was throwing on his tie and running slo-mo through the streets of New York, and people (okay, editors and art directors) were cheering and holding out cups of water from office doors to his final destination, and gathering 'round him as the champ. And when the final moment came (in the mail) that defined his success ("I'm So Excited"), he jumped up and ran through the streets infecting strangers with his joy, and they all did choreographed dance in the park.

The woman sitting next to me cried. (Hi, you!) Which is the thing I told him that made us all laugh. (Part of it, anyway!)

What I wish I'd said, in addition, though:

Feeding into that joy is dangerous, but wonderful. I wish more speakers did this. In this business, we have to cultivate joy.

In fact, if I ever get to speak at this conference

{crickets chirping.}

{{Who said that?!?!}}

{Everyone, be still . . . and back away.}

{okay, okay}

if I ever get to speak at this conference, I am going to have to tell this story—about this weekend and this speaker and his film—as an example of how we all have to cultivate joy. 

(Apparently more movies like this are available if you go to le speaker's Web site. Find them! View them now!

(Actually, I've looked, though, and I still haven't found any. Someone, clue me in where!)

I've also heard people opine in the past, in a very generalized way, that these "funny" speeches telling you how so-and-so got to where they are, that are full of random twists and turns we cannot copy, are entertaining to listen to but ultimately not useful.

In the past, depending on the speech, I have sometimes agreed.

This particular speaker not only stayed relevant, however, he contributed joy. Which I find very useful.

So that is one of my thoughts.

3. I actually have a whole 'nother, way more entertaining story to tell about this same speaker (or not about this same speaker, as it turns out), but you're going to have to ask me in person—or email me—if you want that. It's the kind of thing I would totally tell everyone over coffee, but I can't figure out how to go on speaking in code and get through the whole thing.

(In other words, if I tell you in person, I can use names!)

Even pictures are too loaded for that. Oh, are you kidding me?? Way too loaded.

4. And the rest is all sign language.

Check these out.

Celebrity CRACKED me up Bartender CRACKED me up Debut celebrities! Queen of the world WHY didn't all of us Asians band together to form the JADE PARADE?? We could've WON!! Jewish and Jaded and Feeling the Love CRAZY good dancers=GOOD PEOPLE!! The suspense was worth it HOT men of *mumble mumble* "1! 1! 2-3-5-8!! Who do we appreciate!!" The herbal remedy WORKED! "Isn't it a shame about David . . . " "Get a Book!" *clap* *clap* "Get a Book!" "Well, that's very interesting . . . " "But it's a polygamous marriage!" Crazy crazy cool, show us the way! K took this picture. I wish the rest of this gang were in it! Even though I'm wearing heels 

I actually have a lot more pictures—especially from dancing. Email me if you want to see. I'm in The Book!

Other personal highlights encoded here:


And more, much more, for which I have no flash cards or encoded signs.

In addition, I don't want you to think, just because I singled out that one speaker above, that his was the only session I could rave indefinitely about. In fact, his was one I could rave finitely about (since I'm not trying to do what he does), which is why I picked that one to focus on. It took all that text just to convey that first, little thought!

The rest of this weekend, in its entirety, is too much to recap. I loved it all. 

During one particularly nice, bonding moment at the very, very end, I found myself on a scenic car tour of L.A. with two very cool gentlemen, and I even got to share the origins of my middle name (something I haven't thought about in years), as well as details of the "Midwest Tour" I did with friends just the week before. (Post about that amazing adventure still coming up!!)

My middle name got a lot of attention this weekend, actually. In this setting. It was lovely. I had forgotten how remarkable that name could be. Yet it didn't occur to me to tell anyone how I got that name until this Someone Super Nice ( gives generous autographs  ) asked to hear the story.

And then started his blog the same time as me, can you believe it  and  said Sunday was one of the greatest days of his life  both reacted to this story in a different way than my husband ever has. (Hint: Their reaction was nicer.) I should have asked him if HE likes to square dance?even suggested my lifelong rivalry-turned-romance with D would make a "really good YA novel." HA! Lovely! For a moment I actually pictured it, and felt the words coming through. But now I remember: Our childhood friends have always believed me and D's story has already been written. It's called Anne of Green Gables. (D'oh!)

When my own stop on this last-huzzah tour came, I found myself saying some cheery thing about how it'd been really great "getting to hang out with you," and tried to keep it light. I am just a peon, after all. But remembers how Minnesota has two indigenous foods stopped me and added something a little more warm and meaningful (about how nice this added chance to know each other was). And then His mom buys his tee shirts (and they're REALLY cool!), who's been my carpool buddy for the last half year (not to mention these last four days), echoed that!

I was really touched. I feel the same way of course— And . . . dang, this weekend has been really bonding for me with a lot of people! Including the people I supposedly "knew" before. I had no idea going to a four-day conference was like going away to camp.

Like Stanley Yelnats, I had never been to camp.

(Actually, that's a lie. Thirteen years ago, I went on "Loveboat" in Taiwan for six weeks, and those friends are still my friends for life.)

All my friends, by default, only see me when I'm with them. So you guys know how I get. Hyper. Happy. Camera crazy.

But most of my days are solitary . . .

And now, back to our regularly scheduled, non-"industry"-related posts.

(Whew! All this sign language and speaking in code has worn me out!!)

(Speaking in code! Get it? Get it? Cuz this is a blog?)

And I'm spent.


Except for these last few items. 

1. Thank you, D, for lending me your brand new, pocket-sized camera! For once, I didn't want to be known as "the one with the camera." This was nice! 

2. Man! There were way more Asians at this conference than I've noticed in the past. It's not like I made a point of looking, and yet . . . for some reason, this, too, was nice.

In fact, there were enough Asians there that a certain other luminary turned a group photo from the conference into a "Guess the Asian" contest in her blog! (Hi, hi, hi, you guys!!) I didn't make it into that photo myself, alas. I met them all right after!

3. Pop Quiz! This will seem unrelated, unless you were there: 

Without looking at any references, if you are Chinese American, can you write the Chinese character for the surname Lee? 

Now write the Chinese character for wind.

Didja do it? Without looking? With confidence? 



Also, anyone who does read this post, please post a comment! I'm not actually hiding from you. I'm hiding from . . . actually, I'm not sure who I'm hiding from. (The Machines??) If you got here, you are welcome!! :D

p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p s.

This party was so hot, I kept meeting party crashers!

Tags: photos, scbwi, writerly gossip and bootleggery

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