Yesterday I was in Halifax for the AGM of the Writers’ Fed…quick and painless. Everyone shared a potluck lunch, then the dreaded reading…quick and not so painless. I enjoyed listening to Gary’s introduction – odd to hear someone speaking about you while you’re actually in the room! Didn’t realize how nervous I was until I got behind the podium shuffling my papers. I had decided that morning to read a different excerpt, one that would only take a few minutes but contains an entire scene. I had printed it just before leaving, and had read through it once. Just before I got up to read, I noticed the header said “Jacob’s Long Walk” which made me panic, thinking I’d brought the wrong version; it was the right version, but I’d simply neglected to change all the headers when I’d changed the title several weeks ago. Anyway, I think it went okay – my voice didn’t break at least, but my legs were literally shaking. I guess I’m used to reading in front of a younger audience, and this was definitely outside my comfort zone! Three other people being mentored read as well. The man sitting beside me, Rob North of the CBC, recognized Jacob Deng in my story and told me of meeting him when he first arrived in Canada. Overall, a good event – sorry Jane Buss couldn’t be there, but she’s taking some much-deserved time off. Driving home I was feeling a bit melancholic – the mentoring experience was so positive for me, and I’ll miss Gary’s insight. Still can’t imagine tackling another novel-length project right away, but it will be nice to try a few picture book ideas I’ve had squirreled away for quite a while. I didn’t really get a chance to chat with Gary at the event, but I’ll be in touch when, or if, there’s any news to report on A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk. The Writers’ Fed does such important work for writers, and I’m still thrilled to have been chosen – apparently they had 56 applicants last year! Thanks again to everyone involved.