NESCBWI15 is this weekend and I can’t even stand how excited I am! Writing conferences are all about sitting and talking about books and writing. Every time I go to an event like this, I feel like I’m boarding my mother ship. It’s a complicated thing, though, to prepare for an event like this. Here is my game plan to be ready:
- Do the laundry. You can’t pack if you have no clean laundry. Start by bringing the hamper down to the laundry room. Decide that if you’re going to wash clothes, you might as well do the sheets, too. Strip the bed. Decide that if you’re going to change the sheets, you might as well switch over to the spring bed linens. I mean, it has been pretty hot at night lately. Decide, definitely, to switch out the thick comforter for the thinner one, the one with the flowers. Hope against hope that you washed it before packing it away last fall. Of course you did. Who puts anything away for the season without washing it first? Certainly not you. Give it a sniff. Smells great. Thank God you washed it first. That will save time. Put more blankets on the bed underneath the spring comforter to compensate until the nights really get warmer.
- Change the curtains in the bedroom. The spring comforter goes better with the green curtains. You won’t sleep as well with the green ones. They’re not the kind that blocks out the light. Oh well, that’s a small price to pay for a color-coordinated bedroom. I mean, seriously, how much sleep will you actually get if the comforter and curtains don’t match?
- Remember that you’re supposed to be packing for the conference. Think about seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Realize that your business cards have an email address on there that you no longer use. Decide to create new ones and have them printed out later at Staples. The conference starts in two days. Plenty of time. Fall down an online rabbit hole of possible business card templates. What color best represents your sunny yet serious personality? Blue? Red? Green it is. Should the layout be portrait or landscape? Come back to that. Should you include a picture? Should the picture be of you? Of your dog? Of a book? No, no picture. Okay, fine, the dog. No wait, the book. Upload all your new information. Realize there is no room for your twitter handle on this template. Fall back into the business card template rabbit hole.
- Think about shoes. You’ll need comfortable but attractive shoes. Look for shoes. Realize your closet really needs to be more organized. Move all sweaters to top shelf. Move all spring and summer clothes to bottom shelf. Realize you forgot to put up the spring curtains in your bedroom. You’ll get there, you tell yourself. Do the shoes first. No, you’d better do it now while you’re thinking of it. Set up the ironing board. The curtains are sure to be wrinkled after spending the winter shoved at the back of the linen closet.
- These curtains remind you of a tablecloth you haven’t seen in a while. Wouldn’t it look nice in the living room, now that you’ve changed those curtains, too, from the heavy navy blue ones to the sheer flowery ones? What the heck, you have the ironing board up. Look for the nice tablecloth, iron it, and place it over the table under the bay window in the living room. Step back and admire. Notice puzzle pieces and a pair of earbuds stuck in the baseboard heater. Realize that, seriously, this room needs to be vacuumed.
- You’ve got the vacuum out. Might as well vacuum the bedrooms, too. Knock some things off son’s desk while vacuuming underneath. Feel bad. Get over that feeling quickly as you vacuum up mud chunks that have fallen from his baseball cleats on to the carpet.
- Put vacuum cleaner away so that the Yorkie dog, who would tear that vacuum to shreds if he could only get close enough, can be let back in the house. Let Yorkie back in the house. Spy the greenhouse and realize those plants will need to be watered while you’re away. Go check on them to see how they’re doing now. Oh, they look lovely. Lettuce, spinach, marigolds, watercress, basil, parsley, and even the daisies that were planted only a few days ago, all look swell. And the radishes? There’s nothing like a radish to feed a gardener’s ego. You put them in soil and ten minutes later, they’re ready to eat.
- Realize that you’re hungry. Go in the kitchen to make lunch. Clear the table. Do the dishes. Sweep the floor. Realize that you’re hungry. Make lunch.
- Sit down and take a break. You can pack tomorrow. And maybe you can just cross out your old email address on the old business cards and write in the new one. Stand up and look for a pen …
Also, the photo of me talking about books at the Whispering Pines 2015 Conference was taken by none other than photographer extraordinaire, Pam Vaughan.