Saturday, March 13, 2021

SAAP 2021

I miss having conferences in person. There's something special about leaving your life behind and gathering in a NotHere space with like-minded companions, drinking tea or coffee, wandering around having pickup conversations you couldn't imagine, letting someone else be in charge of the mundane details while Big Ideas fill the air.

Even so, I'm glad to be part of the conversation that's happening this weekend at SAAP. My panel presentation tomorrow is on the role of the public library in democracy (of course), and I really am looking forward to it. The ramp up to present has a rhythm to it that got established in the BeforeTimes and holds me now: go over the details and notecards the evening before; texting last-minute updates and edits; a long bath; tea and woolgathering and an early bedtime, though I'm rarely able to sleep until after midnight. Then in the morning, french toast and orange juice and coffee from room service while I go over the note cards One Very Last Time before putting on Conference Clothes and packing up the briefcase.

Tomorrow there's no briefcase required, since I'll be zooming from my living room; I have cinnamon rolls at the ready because I'm at home and not in a hotel; the notes and one-sheets and program schedule are already on the footlocker that I use as a coffee table.

I would love to have a few of you with me tonight, or at breakfast in the morning, standing around with our plastic-sleeved name tags swaying from logo-emblazoned lanyards as we mill about in front of the tables laden with discarded cups, the light glinting just so off the coffee service as we wonder which room we are supposed to be in and how far it is from the bathroom. (We're in Room A.)

Conferences are about sharing space with people sharing ideas. It's a convivial event that is magical, and I miss it.