My head is full
The Writer's Conference Weekend was awesome! I loved being able to help people and give them the information they needed to be where they needed to be. I loved being encouraged to use my "Outdoor" voice to make everyone hear me. I met wonderful people and attended wonderful workshops and learned a lot and got re-inspired to write, write, write! But my head is just full and I will need to unpack and organize.
No photos because I don't think you would enjoy pictures of mobs of people you don't even know, and that was pretty much all I saw.
Lunch on Saturday was something of a high point for me. I picked a seat close to the speaker's podium so I could hear and see more easily. A mature gentleman in a shirt and tie joined me, offered a superb handshake, and said, "I'm Les." We chatted and introduced ourselves as more people sat down. I asked Les what he was writing and he told me it was a political thriller. So I asked him what sort of research he had to do to get it right. He said, "I was the US Congressman for Oregon for several years." The penny dropped. "Les? Are you Les Aucoin? Omigawd, I voted for you! Good heavens, what an honor! Should I apologize for not recognizing you? Do you mind?" He laughed and said, "It's wonderful not to be recognized any more." (he's been retired for a few years) Then he told me stories about being recognized in public when he was out with his family doing ordinary things. Like standing in line on the airplane waiting to use the restroom, and being harrangued by someone who demands, "When is congress going to balance the budget?" While he's standing there with a full bladder, waiting to pee. So he said, "July 27 2014," and shut the guy up.
Les was funny, charming, and magnificently poised. My Godparents were quite active in politics, and Les knew them so we had a great time talking about them.
Then the Willamette Writer's presiden stood up and began making announcements. One of the things she mentioned was that there are souvenier t-shirts for sale. "Unfortunately, I don't have one to show you. "I was wearing one, so I stood up and did my America's Next Top Model bit to show it off, to a round of applause.
Our lunch speaker was Nora Ephron's sister, Hallie, who told us "Things You Don't Know About the Writing Industry" One thing was, "It helps to have a famous sister, but not that much." When Hallie was ready to submit her first novel, she sent out query letters saying, "My sister Nora Ephron has read this book and loved it." Which, she told us, was a lie but Nora didn't mind as long as she didn't have to read the book. All 12 of the agents Hallie contacted asked her to send in her manuscript. After reading it, eleven of them sent her rejection letters. It's not enough to have connections. You also have to have quality work. At the end of her talk she invited questions, so I asked, "Would it be OK if I said that your sister Nora Ephron has read my book and loved it?" And Hallie replied, "Just as long as I don't have to read it." And we all laughed!
On Sunday, I was wearing my "STAFF" vest and headed to the bathroom before my shift and noticed a distracted loooking gentleman. "May I help you?" I asked. "I'm doing a presentation and my room is supposed to have a projector and a white board, and they're not there." It's Sunday morning, and the volunteers are dragging their butts in late, so I didn't tell him to wait for his room monitor. I got his room number and trotted off to solve the problem. It took a few minutes, but we got it dealt with and I was able to return to the nice presenter and assure him that help was on the way. He was grateful. "What do you write?" he said. "Fantasy" I replied. "Here's my card. Send me something." he said, handing it to me. Now I have to look up Eric Witchey and see if I should take him up on it. He sure was a nice guy!
Today will be devoted to organizing my thoughts and handouts and the business cards I collected, and getting my head back into reality. Knitting is this weekend. I'm going to try lavender scones, curried chicken sandwiches, chocolate shortbread, maybe rosemary wafers, and lemon-glazed mini-cupcakes. Shall I set a place for you, too? I think I'll go with lavender and purple tea-cups and a hand-woven cloth I made. Maybe the black and white plates, maybe not.