Lady Trojan with Flip Flops and Blue Purse (Photo credit- Jef Blocker)
I am still buzzed from the readings of my peers. Not buzzed in the drunk sort of way, or maybe I am. Drunk on sensory details and rhymes and dialogue and sharp edges and jolly rancher flavors and gun shots and smiles and dead horses and poisonous rings and mustaches and glances and empty beds and empty wombs and liars and flirts and sadness and first kisses. What an honor to be included in this cohort of writers.
In this picture next to these words I’m writing, I am pretending that I am a subject of the great Herb Ritts. Oh mylanta, this guy…he’s OBSESSED with naked bodies. But it’s more than that- a thousand times more than that. He takes a photo and transforms them using light and darkness and shadows and color. I was transfixed as I looked at his work and leaned in closer to follow the lines of muscle and flesh. I kept on thinking, we, us humans, are so beautiful. All of us in our bodies that somehow carry us through each day, enduring bruises and cancer and workouts and birth and broken bones and everything else- we are all beautiful. And this place they call The Getty? I could have just walked around the grounds all day, never even looked at “art”, and I would have been satisfied. I felt like I was in a different land. I will post more pics when I get home, so you get the idea. But then, there was art! Amazing pieces- everywhere!!! I mean, to wander from the ancient Greek vessels and marble statues in one hall, to the modern day gods in Herb Ritts’ photos was totally a trip.
We also had Arthur Levine stop by our little retreat to share some thoughts on writing YA, and writing in general. It was lively speech, full of wonderful things that I didn’t record. But here’s the summary in one sentence: Write the book you want to write and write it well. So, there you go- the secret to getting your book published. You are welcome.
I’ve never, ever, in all my years of attending writing conferences, felt this comfortable, welcomed, honored, and impressed. The sentiments expressed tonight tells me I’m not alone. “I’m getting so sad about it coming to an end. It’s like the last night of camp,” one of my new friends said. She’s so right. I feel compelled to get addresses and take pictures tomorrow and make promises of reunions and visits to see my new friends.
Here’s to our last day. I hope they serve something extra good in the cafeteria and I hope I get a spot at the cool table again.