"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy!

I'm off to San Diego tomorrow, for a four-day revelry of writing, seeing old friends, and just-enough wine, if I'm lucky and haven't caught my son's cold. It's the yearly Southern California Writer's Conference, held each President's Day weekend at the lovely Crowne Plaza in Hotel Circle, which used to have some kind of Hawaiian name (the Hanaleilauleaupookipooki-somethingorother?) and still retains that tres tropicale air, down to the sushi bar. BTW, I love sushi, so with the writing, friends and wine, this is like the trifecta for me.

For the writing, I have a plethora, nay, a cornucopia of workshops to choose from. If I take Jean Jenkins' workshop one more time telling me to cut out my adverbs, she'll think I have no memory retention at all. Should I learn about copyrights and publishing law instead? Marla Miller's got some interesting 'shops about non-fiction for newbies, a writer's responsibility to the business, and fixing what's wrong with you... wait, make that fixing what's wrong with your query.

Or I could just hang out in the Read and Critiques and try out some of my second book. These groups gave me a lot of good feedback on my first book, at least the first five pages of it. But I learned to extrapolate and apply their comments to the rest of the book. Until I find a good writing group, these workshops are my substitute. My favorites are the ones run by Judy Reeves.

I usually go to the Rogue Sessions, which are just Read and Critiques on steroids. They start around nine-thirty and go until the last dog is dead, if you'll pardon the expression. I don't know if I'll get to them this year - I've kind of started hanging out with the Big Dogs after hours. Michael, Wes, and company have some pretty late nights acting silly in the bar, then retiring to patios and rooms and where ever to discuss writing and politics and whatever else comes along.

This year, Gordon Kirkland will be there, too. I met Gordon at my first San Diego conference. As a matter of fact, I went to that conference just to meet him. He's a funny writer, and I wanted his opinion of my humor essays, so I submitted some of them for his feedback. He liked them very much and we began a friendship because we make each other laugh until, well, in my case, I hiccup, and in his case, the tears run down his legs. So I'll be hanging out with him, too.

And other friends I've met. Indy and Tameri and Rick and Ed and Cricket and and and... oh, and my friend Nancy will be attending for the first time ever. No wonder I'm so excited. I'll come back recharged and ready to complete the last half of my second book, which is always the GREATEST feeling.

Sorry, I gotta go pack now. If you're planning to be there, I'll see you tomorrow. If you hadn't planned to go and are now regretting it, they've got room for walk-ins. If you can't make it, see you on Tuesday!

1 comment:

Helen Ginger said...

Oh, it sounds like a fabulous conference. If I went, I'd just follow along behind you, like a benign stalker or... a reporter learning from an expert. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Straight From Hel

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