My apologies for being absent from the homework blog for a few days. I was in class. Nope, not a school visit. I attended the annual winter SCBWI conference in New York.
The conference always leaves me filled to overflowing with information and inspiration. And I’ve met some of my best friends there, so returning year after year is like a family reunion.
For the first time in many years, I had signed up for an intensive class on Novels in Verse that started the day before the main conference. The plan was to drive up on Thursday night.
But this year, a blizzard decided to attend as well.
So off I drove on Wednesday to beat the storm. Once I had my car safely stowed by the parking attendants, I set off on the subway to visit my son and his girlfriend.
While figuring out the routes is a bit stressful for me (I have no sense of direction!), I do love riding the train. People-watching is a necessary (and fun) part of writing, and there’s always a wealth on the train. I met a lovely young lady receiving her masters in fashion design. And a kind gentleman who helped me find the right side of the track.
As I finally settled in my seat, I noticed an older man with a weathered face, wrapped in a weathered jacket, hobble onto the train. Since it was a beautiful evening (the calm before the storm), the windows of the train were open. He immediately pushed several shut with his cane.
“Dude,” another passenger said. “Why don’t you leave them open? The air feels nice.”
The older man shook his head in alarm. “We have to stop the shrapnel from hitting us.”
My heart folded. And that’s when something else hit me.
We all have baggage. We all have weathered coats, and canes that help us walk. Some need to feel the air. Others fear what’s hidden in it.
Sometimes it’s obvious by looking at someone. Other times it’s not.
But this is why it’s so important to be kind to one another. Let’s all come together, shelter each other from the storm and stop the shrapnel.