"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

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Conferred

I just returned from a weekend writer's conference in Irvine, and I am exhausted yet energized. Granted, I have only been to two "types" of conferences, but I cannot recommend this one enough. It's the Southern California Writer's Conference, and they usually do two a year. The one in San Diego is their biggest event, occurring over President's Day weekend in February. These are real, working conferences. The workshops engage you, challenge you to think and to write. The read & critiques are structured and well-run, so that as many people get feedback as possible. Everyone is insanely friendly - you can pull your chair up to any table and be welcomed. Seriously, I urge everyone to check them out - http://www.writersconference.com/. They're a fun group.

Just so you know - the other conference I've attended is the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. Please don't misunderstand - I loved being there. It was a fun experience. But there wasn't much "work" in the workshops. For the most part, they consisted of classrooms, where we all faced the teacher and were taught. There were no read & critiques, no late night sessions revelling in everyone's words, and very few chances to meet editors, agents, or publishers. There were a lot of fun folks in the bar every night, though, and I took an extra day to visit the James Thurber museum in Columbus.

One of the workshop leaders that I particularly enjoyed at SCWC this year was Trai Cartwright. She was funny and energetic, plus had a ton of information to supply and challenge us. After her first class, Intuitive Structure, I wanted to call Karen Syed and say, "Wait! My manuscript isn't really ready - I don't have a theme!" Thankfully, I came to my senses before I could turn my cell phone back on, and realized that I do have a theme. I just never thought about it - it was intuitive.

As far as my interview, I admit to being a little depressed (okay, a lot depressed - is anyone reading this blog? Tap-tap-Is this thing on?), but I did come up with three questions to be asked and answered. Whether they are three good questions, relevant questions, interesting questions, IDK. It's done, it's over, and I can only hope I looked unscary for the video. At my age, looking great is a dream. My face is okay, except it's very round and my chin sometimes disappears when I talk, as well as my eyes when I smile. And don't get me started on my teeth - they're a little big and tend to leap out toward the camera when I talk, kind of like that thing in Alien. I know, picky, picky, picky. At least I'm being interviewed, because I'm being published.

(Insert happy dance here!)

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