I think of each conversation as a draft. A first draft. I have to, because otherwise I would be so mortified at my conversational faux pas that I might never open my mouth again. I have forgotten people’s names (even people I’ve met repeatedly). I have called people the wrong names. I told a writer how much I enjoyed her book, The Blacker the Berry. But she didn’t write it. Oops. I congratulated an illustrator on her Caldecott Honor. Which she did not receive. I have stood awkwardly by two people talking, trying to casually join their conversation. I’ve done it all. And it’s embarrassing. But…I try not to obsess about it! I figure that if I am genuinely open and friendly, it will all work out. Yes, people might think I’m not too bright! But I’m a writer. Conversation is not my strong suit. In the end, it’s about putting yourself out there. If you make a mistake in conversation, apologize and move on. Life is too short to spend a lot of time worrying about it.