George and Martha

I spent the past three days in Austin, Texas. Much of that time was at an annual retreat for clients of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

I suspect we EMLA folk are unique in our unbridled love for each other. Professional jealousy can be a difficult problem for writers. But somehow, within that EMLA circle, it is pure love and support and genuine excitement about the success of our agency mates. Which I know sounds fake. But it isn’t.

EMLA, I realized on the way home, is the George and Martha of literary agencies.

I am in literary awe (jealousy’s close cousin) of the unfailing respect George and Martha share. They might prank each other (and here, Ruth Barshaw, I’m thinking of you), but their love is always apparent and abundant. To say nothing of the spiffy way they accessorize.

George and Martha support and encourage each other. And perhaps because they are hippos, it’s not too sweet. It’s just right.

So fellow EMLA hippos, I thank you. And to all writers, find those who will support you. And if they know how to make a quail dance, all the better.

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About Audrey Vernick

Audrey Vernick writes books for young readers.
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17 Responses to George and Martha

  1. Hearing our EMLA friends read their works in progress was inspiring. I cannot think of any other setting where I would feel confident reading first draft scenes to 35 people without worrying about scathing reviews, polite applause, insincere praise or attempts to fix it.
    I feel very lucky. I love EMLA. And James Marshall.

  2. Jean Reidy says:

    Never thought I’d say this, but I long for the day I, too, am a hippo. I let my family follow along as I followed all the posts and tweets about the retreat – just to let them know what I was missing. We mothers are good at laying on the guilt. But unfortunately, it didn’t work because they were the ones who wanted me to go all along.

    Audrey, thank you for this lovely post. I look forward to my hippo induction when we can finally meet in person.

  3. clarebdunkle says:

    You are so right! This was my first retreat, and I was astounded by the genuine warmth and lack of ego of everyone present. What a fantastic time, and what a fantastic group. I can’t wait till next year.

  4. Dear Audrey,

    I know this may be inseure of me to ask, but, are you saying I look like a hippo?

    Very proud of you for this blog!

    • I don’t know about you, but if EMLA is all hippos, then I want to be a hippo, too. So glad we carved out our in-the-sun time together. Please keep me very posted on everything!

    • I don’t know about you, but if EMLA is all hippos, then I want to be a hippo, too. I’m so glad we carved out our in-the-sun time together. Please keep me very posted on everything!

  5. Tamara Smith says:

    All the way in Austin, a place I have never been to before, and I felt like I was coming home. Yup, you are right, Audrey…EMLA is pure love and support. Hippo-style. I am grateful for you all.

    • This was my third retreat and each time I leave with one small regret. This year it’s that you and I didn’t find our time. But we’re going to find it now, through email, right?

      So good to meet you. We’re just getting started.

  6. As I approached Austin, I was told how awesome EMLA was, but now that I have been with you all, I don’t think there are words to describe it!

    What an amazing experience. I am honored to be included. And Audrey, love the new blog. And I am proud to be hippo as long as I’m with you. 😉

  7. Audrey — you’re blogging! You didn’t need dispensation from Tricia after all.

    And the blog post was wonderful! I’m thrilled to be in the company of George and Martha and all the rest of you.

  8. J. Anderson Coats says:

    We are truly a unique group of hippos – I’m so glad to be a part of it.

  9. Cindy Strandvold says:

    Never thought I’d be proud to be a hippo!

  10. Cynthia Levinson says:

    And, after everything I ate, I’m kinda shaped like Martha now, too!

  11. I don’t know about hippos, but I read your Buffalo book to two little kids tonight and they just loved it! Read it twice.

    Audrey, I just loved meeting you! Thanks for capturing the feelings of the weekend so well. I’ve never been enveloped in so much warm support at once. Counting the days…
    xo

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