Friday, August 15, 2008


Someone asked me recently if all my blogposts would be about being fearless.
I don't think so.
But if there seems to be something to write about that relates, I guess I'll go ahead and mention it.
Which brings me to today's post.
This is the year without fear. But do you lose anything else when you face life fearlessly? I’d argue that you’ll have a lot less regret as well. In fact, regret follows on fear’s heels so closely that I’m proposing a new word to describe them both: feargret. It saves time, since one rarely comes without the other.
I had a little case of feargret quite recently. It was the evening of the Newbery/Caldecott awards banquet. Maria van Lieshout and I had plopped our red bathmat down in a corner of the hallway and had a great time interviewing the gliterati of the literati as they arrived. We’d even talked to some of the winners earlier in the day and a few had promised to stop by. But of course, we hadn’t really reckoned with how busy they would be on their big night. There was a green room near the banquet hall where we figured they would be before the speeches, but we didn’t want to crash it. We didn’t want the ALA to send out any enforcer librarians to chase us away.
After the speeches there was a receiving line to meet the winners. We again let fear (albeit mild) get the better of us. We figured the winners would be exhausted and we didn’t want to annoy them with a bunch of questions. So Maria went back to the hotel and took the video camera with her. Too bad we hadn’t realized that the winners were totally pumped up on adrenalin, and wouldn’t come down for a while. I had time to go have a drink at the bar with Linda Sue Park to discuss A Long Walk to Water, the novel I will be illustrating for her, before the line cleared up enough for me to hop onto the end of it. I had a wonderful chat with Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Selznick, the Newbery and Caldecott winners. But I didn’t have the camera.
So I am left with regret of not having captured Amy in her long silk jacket with the bear paw prints down the back (you'll have to find a copy of her Newbery speech to understand) or Brian in his gold boots and Swarovski crystal shirt, being as charming and joyful as two luminaries of the children’s lit world can be.

Ah well, maybe next year will be the year without feargret.

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