SCBWI Exhaustion

Kate/ January 30, 2011/ birds, events

exhaustion [ɪgˈzɔːstʃən] n

1. extreme tiredness; fatigue
2. the condition of being used up; consumption exhaustion of the earth’s resources
3. the act of exhausting or the state of being exhausted

I love this spot. Taken by Scott McBride.

Exhaustion isn’t always necessarily bad. There’s post-exercise exhaustion. Post {bleep} exhaustion. Post-party exhaustion. Today it’s post-SCBWI-NYC-Mid-Winter Conference exhaustion. Who else is with me?

For the past three days I sat in a crowded room and absorbed a highly charged current of creativity in the electro-magnetic New York City.

I <3 NY.

Snow dustedness outside the Grand Hyatt

The mere scale of this weekend’s conference could easily terrify and exhaust any introvert. There had to be at least 1,000 people in the main ballroom. At least. All exchanging creative energy, enthusiasm, frustrations and exhaustions through conversation, presentation, body language, laughter and sighs.

*cue long sip of Rioja*

Door prize time!

I cannot possibly share it all right now. I’m not even sure it’s possible to share it all. The mere thought exhausts me. So… how about a few highlights? After that, I’m going to search for last night’s episode of SNL because Scott and I could not hear the TV audio from our two corner stools at Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern last night. El DeBarge had stolen all the rowdy room’s ears via jukebox.


Weekend highlights (kind of in order of occurence):

Making it to NYC just in time to drop off my art. Catching up with John. John Carlin and Rubin Pfeffer’s eBook session. Conversing briefly with a Mentee without realizing who he was. Fantastic Italian dinner in NoHo. Picking up my Showcase art and seeing all 20 large postcards had been snatched. Good dark ale at McSorely’s with Scott and a table full of strangers-turned-pals from NYU law school.

Whew. Hilarious and humble luncheon keynote by the gazillion-copy-selling author of Goosebumps, R.L. Stine. Meeting an eBook entrepreneur. Book signing party minglings. Chatting with Marilyn. Snowflakes that stayed on my nose and my lashes. Perfect vegetable dumplings at Samurai Mama. Watching Eye of the Tiger through the glass wall at the bar at the Knitting Factory. Making super secret plans with Scott at Rosemary’s.

R.L. Stine receives thanks post-keynote

Sara Zarr’s keynote. Sitting next to Olivia and Nadine Bouler, sharing a bird joke before I realized who Olivia was. *Birdartiststarstruckness* Following the owls and the penguins. The humor panel including Mo Willems. Making last-minute connections with people in line at the autograph party. Talking to Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple about birding, owling. Birding and writing. More wandering around Brooklyn. Experiencing the moment. Feeling right.

The owls are everywhere, and they are very wise.

Ok. That’s all I’ve got. When I get home I’ll scan some of my notes. They’re littered with character sketches. Girls in animal masks. Penguins doing yoga. Well, trying their best. It’s not easy with those stumpy little legs.


Penguins are also wise. They love beagles, just like me.


About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at (aka