Richard Peck, most well-known for A Long Way from Chicago (Newbery Honor) and A Year Down Yonder (Newbery Medal) got up to speak, and out came the most profound, memorable and funny one-liners I've ever heard, one right after the other!
And did I come prepared with a notebook? No! Of course not, so I wrote very tiny on the back of the little program so I could share some of these quotes he said that I loved:
"All fiction is family."
"I get older and older, but somehow my readers stay the same age!"
"Only readers become writers."
"You need to read at least 1000 books before you can write one."
"Nothing is real until it is written down."
"Humor is just anger sent to finishing school."
"One question all writers HATE," (can you guess it, all together now) " WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS??"
"My readers give me my ideas."
"Writing is a dialogue between writer and reader."
"Readers are looking for themselves in books. The story is always about the reader, never the writer."
"Books unite! Computers divide!"
"The Kindle will dwindle, but books will never crash."
... and that's just a handful. He had lots to say about the sad plight of education these days. He was an English teacher (what else is there he said) and said he learned more from the students than he ever taught them. He is frustrated that in school you have to be "dead to be read" and so that's one reason why he writes for the younger crowd, because he knows they can read whatever they want.
Anyway, it was a wonderful presentation and I enjoyed every minute of it. Afterward, we waited for a long long time for our turn to get our books signed. We brought two from home (the two biggies!) and bought two there, Amanda Miranda and The Ghost Belonged to Me. By that time, I only had one kid still with me. She handled the wait very well, so when it was finally our turn, I decided to have him sign his two famous books to her.
We were told we couldn't do posed pictures, so when I got close, I asked the lady, just to make sure, was it okay to take a picture while he was signing? She said sure, but he heard and said, "Come over here," and motioned for Toto to come around and stand by him, at which point, he posed for the perfect author picture!
So we broke the rules at his insistence! I loved it! Then, I said, "I guess you never read book blogs?" And he said, "Noooooo....." and I said, "Well, I had to ask just in case, because I write one." He said, "Will I be in it?" I said, "Well, I'm going home to write about you right now!" And he said, "And so how will I find you?" at which point gave him my url and he had me write it down. Seriously?
Dear Mr. Peck.... if you do drop by for a visit.... Hi from Suey! And thanks for a wonderful fun evening and for signing our books and posing for a picture and I'll be sure to get right on to reading our new Richard Peck books very soon!
And I imagine you all can guess what Toto will be reading this month for her Newbery assignment!
Finally, I found this fun YouTube of him talking about writing and reading some excerpts, if you're interested:
But wait, his next book, coming out in October, is called Three Quarters Dead and sounds absolutely haunting. Keep your eyes open for this one!