Daily Archives: January 22, 2012

Gumption, Chutzpah, and 14-Year-Old Courage


Suffice it to say, gentle viewers, that I deem this weekend to be a mighty success. I saw some giant toys — and the giant Apple cube of glass. I frolicked on the giant piano and walked through THE giant park. I ate a giant amount of delicious food and even saw a giant rat. (Okay, so the rat’s not that exciting, but it’s hard to visit New York‘s subways without that experience.)

Above all, for the first time I put my writing out there. I figured out that agents are (gasp) actual humans. They don’t just float in the clouds like omniscient gods — they look like normal people. I imagine they were all rather uncomfortable sitting in the same spot for three hours. I imagine some of them had to pee by the end.

I couldn’t have had a better experience yesterday at the pitch slam. Not even if they’d given me cookies.

Another major highlight of the weekend was getting to connect with some fantastic bloggers. I am super excited to have gotten to meet Marcy Kennedy and Lisa Hall Wilson — fellow WANA people and all around really pleasant people. You can check out their blog, Girls With Pens. I give you my permission. And a friendly nudge in their direction.

I spent a lot of time with fellow WordPress blogger Kourtney Heintz. Today she was kind enough to put me up (or was that put up with me?) for a few hours while I waited for my bus. We had a fabulous Thai dinner (Pad Thai Noodle Lounge on 17th and 8th, if you’re wondering) that enhanced my suspicion that it is impossible for me to have mediocre food in New York. Do not burst my bubble.

Kourtney and I stumbled across Random House. Like…the publisher. Those also apparently don’t exist in the clouds, nor do they send books down to earth in little golden parachutes. It’s a real place!

We wanted to go in, but it was sort of Sunday and closed.

I was blown away by the people I met this weekend. From the well-known bestsellers like James Scott Bell to the garden-gnome paranoid (heh) Chuck Sambuchino and the NaNoWriMo founder himself, Chris Baty — I cannot imagine a better group of people to spend this weekend with. I have a bundle of business cards in my pouch, and believe me  when I say I’ll share some new gems with you. I’ll also be doing a guest post over at Kourtney’s blog later in the week about one of the sessions — I’ll be sure to let you know where to head that day.

My first guest post! Warm fuzzies. You can all expect some fun new faces around here in the near future as well.

OH! I almost forgot. To prove that this trip rounded out and left me feeling complete, here’s something I set out to quest for — and achieved.

I dream of bagel.

If there is anything I learned this weekend, it’s the value of putting yourself out there. There were two teenagers who participated in the Pitch Slam this year. A 14-year-old and a 17-year-old. I don’t know about you, but I find that humbling. It takes a lot of gumption and chutzpah to take on New York publishing so young. To expose yourself to a world that often makes otherwise well-adjusted adults piddle themselves. These teenagers did something I’ve meant to do for a long time — and they got responses.

What that says to me is that maybe we adults fear to take the plunge too often. Maybe it’s because we get caught up in bills and the responsibilities that come with being “grown-ups.” I don’t know. But what I do know is that we can all learn from their courage. I know what it is I’ve feared doing for some time. What about you?

What is it that you want to do but have put off? Travel? Change your career? Tell someone how you feel? If a 14-year-old girl can sit down face to face with a New York City literary agent, what are we waiting for?

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