After being delayed in Chicago and arriving at 9 in Knoxville on the evening dedicated to setting up the NJCL Teaching Materials area (which was open from 7:30-9:00 for publishers to make things look pretty), getting my luggage lost, having my breakfast delivered to the wrong room, learning from UT Conferences that just because materials were shipped to the UT Convention Center doesn't mean that's where they'll wind up, I caught a ride into campus with a fellow exhibitor in the same boat as me and we arrived at the Art and Architecture Building at 8:15. This left me with 45 minutes to set up four tables of over 75 titles, drawing from 8 boxes, and then artfully organizing them into categories like "New Stuff" (To Be a Roman and Classical Mythology and More), "Wheelockiana" (the state of Latin), "Grammar!" (including the always-popular Looking at Latin), "Vergiliana" (the state adjacent to Latin -- at a higher elevation), "World of Workbooks" (WoW!), "Buttonia" (the state under Latin -- buttons, buttons, buttons), and the "Island of Smith" (Latin dictionary). Most of the land has eroded away due to zealous purchasing by Latin teachers whose budgets had been approved for the school year.
The gates opened at 8:45 (scheduled for 9:00) and I didn't do anything but sell until 12:30 at which point the Latinists evaporated like rain in a Tuscan summer. Nobody cared that I was wearing a 2-day old shirt, jeans, and indoor soccer shoes -- they all were after To Be a Roman and Classical Mythology and More. It was a delight to talk about these new books, and about forthcoming teachers' manuals and other fun (and electronic!) projects. Teachers are quite happy that we'll be publishing a web site dedicated to Looking at Latin, and they are hopeful that future digital initiatives will come out with other titles. And teachers are also asking about Latin for the New Millennium which many of them want to try.
More on NJCL for Day 2, tomorrow. Thanks to everyone at NJCL who made today such a great day for us!