Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting to the SCBWI

Making my way to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Annual International conference in Los Angeles, my husband drove me through the Navajo Reservation Wednesday afternoon, to the train depot in  Gallup New Mexico, where the depot attendent, an old Hispanic man, complete with a long grey braid down his back and tatoos and turqoise on his arms, announced the train would be an hour late.

Since the "Rez" is not a place you want to drive through at night if you can help it, I sent Jon home and waited with the half a dozen other people. I was the only Anglo, and since everyone was speaking Spanish or Navajo, I  busied myself on my phone playing Solitaire and walking around the little depot, where great public service cardboard displays advertised the struggles the Navajo's are still dealing with in this "Modern Age"...
Third World living conditions in faulty houses and trailers with dangerous kerosine stoves. When I was teaching at Battle Rock, one Navajo girl told me how her little cousin had just fallen in an open stove and was in the hospital...
Severe proverty- especially the elderly and the young- not every Navajo man is a drunk, but the lack of "fathers" on the Rez, is taking it's toll.
And as is true with all proverty- Education.

Finally after over two hours, the train came into the station and we were headed West into the sunset. The train woul get  into LA about 8 in the morning. To pass the time and because I was on a tight deadline for a "call for entry" for a fine art publication, I stitched the boarder of a fabric collage, aka art quilt...
Come morning and past Kingman AZ and Death Valley, we started to drop passengers off at station after station in California...
I was headed to the end of the line....

Union Station. Tired and probably a little stinky, I still took time to take some pics of the fabulous architecture of this iconic train station.

Then I rode a subway...
then a bus....
to finally get here.... the Hyatt Regency Centruy City Hotel, right next to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive

did I mention I was here, less than 24 hours ago!
starving, I cleanded, up and headed over to the food court in the mall across the street...where I had sushi and texted my teenagers the pic to prove it, my daughters response " Not cool!"
Coming back to the hotel, I could not get my keycard to work on my room door, and I  must of looked pathtic, because two gentleman, dressed in nice suits stopped by and turned out to be both managers of different departments of the hotel. They kindly told me I was actually on the wrong floor and it "happens all the time." I sheepishly thanked them and they must of took pity on me, wondering if "some" wine might help after my long train ride.
Well, less than a half hour later, resting in my correct room, not a glass of wine was delivered, but a whole white linen cart and silver bucket, with a lovely 2009 Pinot Grigo from Italy.

I actually never drank it, Mohitos seemed to be more what I drank down at the hotel bar- ( like one a night- which is a lot for me) so did not also have the desire for wine. So I just enjoyed looking at the bottle, in the pretty silver bucket over the four days and carefully packed it amoungst my clothes and got it home safe, to enjoy at a later date when we have friends over for dinner and I can tell them the story of my adventures on the train, subway to get to probably one of the nicest hotels I will ever stay at.


  1. Fantastic pictures :D

  2. Hi Julie
    Love your work and meeting you at LA SCBWI. Keep up the fabulous art. Stay in touch. Will love to hear about your progress. Suzanne

  3. Wow, what a great post. I enjoyed being there with you, seeing the 'rez' is very interesting - and makes me feel a little sad I guess. It's hard for me to imagine a place where they speak Spanish or Navajo

  4. Thanks for the travel journal, Julia. Great pics and thoughtful comments. What a contrast. Nice seeing you at the conference. Thanks for coming to my session. I'm still processing the inspiration. Hope we get to see your "art quilt".