|An illustration created for my conference portfolio.
|A quick sketch of Bryan
Collier during his keynote.
This opened an important dialogue with my friends about maintaining hope and sometimes losing it. These are things we don't often talk about - not really. We pretend the struggle doesn't exist or we believe so strongly that something is about to happen and if we sleep a little less and work just a little longer, it will. But now we're talking - about being realistic, being balanced and how important our peer connections are. Otherwise we might just drop out and disappear like others we know who were so close to breaking through that wall.
All of these conversations came full circle at the airport after the conference. I had the great fortune of flying home with my friend, Suzanne Morgan Williams. The timing couldn't have been more amazing. I was actually sitting there writing an email to her when she said my name. I had an important story to tell her. She didn't know that four years earlier she was the reason I hadn't succeeded in giving up on my own dream. I had already stopped going to conferences and submitting my work when Suzy took the time to contact me - out of the blue. She had been looking at my website and said if I was serious about illustrating for children's books I needed to take advantage of the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. I considered what she had to say and it was then that I committed to the work it would take to attain my dream. I applied to the program, was accepted and had the amazing opportunity to work with Yuyi Morales. It was a turning point. I would love to give you a publishing success story here, but I'm still looking through that glass wall.
Who knows how long it will take, but I will continue working on the illustrations I love at a slower pace now, keeping in mind what my wise friend Suzanne Morgan Williams says to do. Live your life. It's something we can forget as we push for our dreams and work one more hour, just one more day, or one more year because we are so close, but living our lives to the fullest gives our dreams the best place to grow…
It is no wonder that Suzanne Morgan Williams received the SCBWI Member of the Year Award at the 2012 conference. She has made a difference to countless members over the years - including me. Congratulations Suzy!
If you get a chance, do look for Bryan Collier's illustrations. At the time this was posted, his website was not working.