This post has been intimidating from the start since I have no idea how to distill a week’s worth of Vegas-sized conference memories into one blog post.
So I’m not going to.
I’m not going to tell you about how starstruck I was at meeting author and publishing rock stars at ALAN or in the exhibit hall or at the Nerdy Book Club party.
I’m not going to tell you about the stacks of books that are currently being shipped home or how lucky I am to have friends who could help me get them shipped.
I’m not going to go on and on about the awesome sessions I attended on research and writing and using mentor texts and using digital tools for writing.
I’ll save all of that for other posts.
I will tell you that the most awesome things I came home with didn’t even require shipping or an extra suitcase.
The most influential things I came home with were memories of a thousand conversations.
Some were about books and what I should read next.
Some were about pushing my thinking as a teacher, a student, a reader, and a writer.
Some were about pushing others’ thinking.
(So many were excited to talk about taking the plunge into Twitter and other online professional development communities. I couldn’t have been more happy to introduce them to resources to get them started.)
Some were just about catching up between friends who don’t get to see each other nearly enough.
Wherever I was, I felt like I had a conversation waiting for me. And every single one left its mark.
I think that’s why I have had such a hard time processing all of this.
This conference was less about presentations and more about connections with friends and colleagues and the conversations I had.
I think this – and the ability to continue those conversations in the digital spaces that make the geography between us less relevant – is what will fuel my thinking as I go forward.
Thank you to all of you who spent time with me. You made these conferences more valuable than words can express.