I’ve told this to folks for years, singing the praises of the supportive, nurturing local writing community. Lately, I’ve tended to go a step further by pointing out Austin’s wealth of published (or soon-to-be) children’s or YA writers, emphasizing that I’m only one in a crowd. When an acquaintance recently asked for suggestions of local authors he might invite to an event, I gave him a list of published writers and illustrators at least four times longer than he could actually use.
It’s a great environment for me, and I feel lucky to be here, but after reading the cover story in the March issue of The Atlantic, “How the Crash Will Reshape America,” it occurs to me that there might be another reason to be grateful.
In the article, the “Texas Triangle of Houston-San Antonio-Dallas” (including Austin) is singled out as one of the US “mega-regions” with “[w]ell-educated professionals and creative workers who live together in dense ecosystems … generate ideas and turn them into products and services faster than talented people in other places can.”
I think that bodes well for those of us who create children’s books and seek to connect with readers through schools and libraries in our own backyard. It suggests to me that not only the will of the communities in this region but also their resources will erode less and bounce back more quickly than in other regions in the months and years ahead. And that, I’m thinking, will translate into buying books, hosting authors, etc.
It certainly sounds good, anyway. I’m looking forward to comparing it to what I hear from folks from those communities at the Texas Library Association conference in six weeks.