Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reading, Writing and no Arithmetic!

Today was the 13th annual Francelia Butler Conference at Hollins.

I actually helped out with a lot of different parts. I helped collect doodles from different professors, wrap said doodles, set-up the auction items and various decorations, and I even did a little skit in-between some of the readers. I had to sing. I know. You don't have to tell me.

It was a lot of fun and I'm on the "future planning committee" so I'll have an even bigger part to play next summer. That is if I don't . . .


Next week they will unveil next summer's trip to London and Oxford. OMG. It's so hard because one of my classmates who has been here for several years mentioned to me that I might be a good person to help co-run the conference next year. So there's that. But then there is a chance to study in the place where my particular field of study frickin began.

Unfortunately they only take 15 people, you have to pay a gazillion dollars on top of the normal tuition costs (keep in mind this is a private school), and I have to apply and probably write an essay to just kept a chance to go. However, unless they tell me it's going to cost more than Bryan and I agreed on, I will be trying. Maybe. Unless someone gives me a chance to do something really important for my career. So right now it's up in the air.

Back to the conference. Some of the highlights include hearing my classmates read; I especially loved the creative work and I was so thrilled that one of my pals won with her awesome story about a girl hitchhiking to a destination unknown. It was one of those great 60s stories with lots of good Southern dialect thrown in. Beautiful.

I also had fun trying to win things! We had a silent auction that raised buckets of money. I had my eye on a copy of Robert Heinlein's Grumbles from the Grave, two Chris Van Allsburg prints and a framed poster of a knight and lady. In the end, I only won the prints because I got into a bidding war with someone over the Heinlein book and when I found out who it was and we talked about it, she was willing to spend more money than me. We had to use kiddie lit. pseudonyms and I was Hermione from who know who. The prints are cool though and I imagine they will work well in some capacity some day--if anything, in my dorm room next year:
Both prints are of children sleeping. Sorry about the flash but it goes all blurry if I turn it off.

I also bought, from our in-residence craft lady extraordinaire, this frame:

It has a Peter Pan theme and it's simply perfect. I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for, but I'll think of something.

It was a fun day and I am really starting to mesh with some of my classmates and spend more time with them outside our classes. Today we are having our "Halloween in June" party and I really thought I would be checking out early on this one, but I bought some ridiculous gear and I'm going. One of my roommates is going to be a "Harry Potter Trading Card" and the other will be Hermione. Pictures will follow, but I'm not going to tell you my costume yet. You'll just have to wait.

Also, one of my favorite parts of today was meeting Michael Patrick Hearn. He wrote the Annotated Wizard of Oz and basically knows everything there is to know about L. Frank Baum. A few things he cleared up for us today:

1) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not about early 20th century economics. The yellow brick road does not reflect the Gold Standard and Dorothy's silver shoes have nothing to do with silver values during Baum's life.
2) Dorothy was not dreaming when she went to Oz. It is a real place, at least in Baum's mind. The movie made it seem like she had been ill and that's why she dreamed it. Apparently that is not the case.
3) The man, W. W. Denslow, who illustrated the first book was partly the reason that L. Frank Baum became so popular with publishing companies, and yet he died a pauper and today very few people credit him with having anything to do with the franchise.

He's doing an annotated collection of Edgar Allan Poe's stories, which I will probably buy the second it comes out. And just in case some people don't know what I mean by "annotated," it means that he has gone back and researched EVERYTHING he can about the author, the work, its allusions, its vocabulary, etc. It's like a biography, history textbook, and novel in one.

Here's me with "da man":

Doesn't he look like the quintessential scholar?

Not to mention he's super personable. Not at all stuffy or high brow like so many scholars. You could actually have a meal with him and talk about sports or something. Very cool.

Even he seemed surprised I wanted a picture with him, but writers are my rock stars. Especially ones that can combine a knowledge of history with their own skills as a writer. Now if I could just meet Philip Pullman . . . I could die happy. For real.


Bryan said...

Nice frame. It's just my style. I'm glad the Ozfest went well. Sounds like a lot of work but fun. I look forward to hearing more details in person next weekend!


Ms. DeCamp said...

Are you being sarcastic about the frame, honey?

Jenny said...

Love Hearn's hair! =)