At meals and break times, I met a lot of nifty people at various stages of their writing careers. I was able to encourage some of them from my own experience, and commisserate about rejection and disappointment and uncertainty while at the same time urging them to keep working and trying and not give up. Some are just beginners still learning how the craft and the business of writing works, but a lot of them are truly talented and well-informed people and I'm sure that at least some will be getting agents and/or publishing contracts within the next year.
The drive both ways went smoothly and pleasantly -- even the border crossing, to my great relief -- and when I came home just now after two days' absence, the house was clean. I could have wept with happiness. My husband is SO not going to regret doing that, I can tell you.
I took tons of notes at the conference and will try to share some of the great insights from the sessions I attended as time and opportunity permit. But right now I am just happy to be home safe and sound, and to have enjoyed this opportunity to relax and renew my creative energy with people who love children's literature as much as I do.