IL2006 – Keynote Day 1 – J. A. Jance

Judy Jance was the speaker for today’s Keynote – and while I haven’t read her books (or heard of her before today 🙁 ) I’m so glad I got to hear her talk!! When I have time to read something other than a textbook (a year from now) I’m going out to buy one of this woman’s books. She has lived through so much and had such amazing experiences and that really comes across when she talks – I can just imagine how great her books are.

Judy was a bit like me – she wanted to be a writer from the time she was in second grade. So when she got to college she wanted to sign up for a creative writing class. Unfortunately, her professor was a real ____ (fill in the blank). He said to her “Girls become teachers or nurses, boys become writers” and he wouldn’t let her take the class. Here’s where Judy’s powerful speaking came in – her responses just made us all laugh. She said (and I’m not quoting here) girls who wanted to become engineers became science teachers and women who wanted to be doctors became nurses, she wanted to become a writer so she married one.

Her talk went on to share stories in her life that brought tears to my eyes one minute and had me laughing the next. After leaving her husband (and a few other details in between – don’t want to repeat her whole talk here) she wrote her first book and when her agent said it was no good she started her second book. She has since written 35 books and still has the same agent.

Judy said that her inspiration for writing comes from many places – but her cure for writer’s block is anger. I find that very similar to what sets me off on the best writing I do on this blog – anger – and being inspired (like the speakers I’m hearing here).

Why was Judy the keynote at an Internet Librarian conference? Because she says things like this “The Internet allows me to hear from people in a very immediate way.” How true is that? That’s the whole point of this conference getting to our users and letting them get to us in a very immediate way.

It was an amazing talk & I urge you to visit her site – and read her books – and hear her talk if you ever have a chance! I took pictures but apparently, my camera wasn’t happy with the lighting. I’m going to try and edit them – but I’m sure some of the other attendees will post their pictures on Flickr soon.

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