SoMIRAC is neither a robot character from an Adult Swim cartoon nor a rare, recently discovered rash caused by daisy dust. Rather it is the State of Maryland International Reading Association Council Conference, which I was honored to participate in on 3/31/11.
The attendees were educators and attendance was robust; the parking lot was so full that my space was practically in Delaware, and my two sessions had full turnouts.
My first session was on how to draw a reader into a piece of writing (fiction or nonfiction) and the other was on the language of cartoons and the value of using humor as a teaching tool.
I spilled water over my notes in only the first session.
(Better than over my netbook, which was just a few inches farther.)
My second talk ended at 2:45. I signed books for about an hour starting at 4:10, then stuck around to be one of twelve authors featured in the evening event. I was told it would be fun, and I was told right. It wasn't quite a panel and it wasn't quite like anything I'd done before.
Seated alphabetically on stage, from Jennifer Allison to Susan Stockdale, we passed the mike, each taking up to five minutes to casually introduce ourselves and our work. All were entertaining in their own right, and some approaches were really funny; I especially liked Jennifer's, Jay Asher's, and Kevin O'Malley's. (Kevin deftly sketched an animal character for each of us as we spoke.)
Then the authors dispersed to twelve tables to have up-close time with the audience, which had been randomly pre-divided into groups of about ten.
The capper was an ice cream social in one of the hotel restaurants; its style could be described as "neon noir."
This was a good conference.
Great communication from the organizers, great lineup of people.
They sold out of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and my newer Scholastic vocabulary cartoon book; they sold a bunch of Vanished: True Stories of the Missing.
I found the attendees to be engaged, enthusiastic, and appreciative.
And the ice cream was no slouch, either.