This is slower going than I had planned for it to be. Oops. We are traveling a bit here and there, visiting family, so I’m away from the internet a lot. That and, school’s out, so there’s a five-year-old demanding my attention! Needless to say, a lot of work-related things have slowed down.
Rather than go day-by-day, I’ll hit on the highlights of the rest of my Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference experience.
I had the privilege of meals with Mindy Starns Clark (we talked about the Titanic), Janet Benrey, Cec Murphy (we talked about running and about slogging through those spiritually dark places), and Chip MacGregor (we talked about how sometimes it’s okay to laugh at a funeral). AND I got the privilege of meeting Cec’s right-hand woman Twila. (Hi, Twila!) Every one of these faculty members and every one of the men and women I sat with at their tables laid some sort of stone on the altar of my life. They’re all built into a part of me now in ways that can’t be put onto paper. It was amazing. Sometimes, I talked and laughed so much that I forgot to eat. (I’m looking at you, Kay…)
Evenings were great in the lobbies. Everyone sat around and chatted about everything. I spent one evening in conversation with several of the faculty members about different things (including research for new books) and two talking with fellow writers about life in general. I didn’t get to sleep until after one in the morning, but it was so worth it!
And the banquet! The food was amazing! Chicken with mango salsa and green beans I’d break an arm (someone else’s!) to know the recipe for. And then Steven James led us in what can only be described as a Creation Rap (and I’m sure our fellow writer Gene will never forget the line, “I’m a pretty flower. Would you like to smell me?”)
Let me say this… There is nothing in this whole world like sitting in the company of other writers. I learned volumes in classes and keynotes; two weeks later, I’m still absorbing it all. But the greatest take-away for me was being on a campus where there were no strangers. Hundreds of writers, hundreds of people just like me, all wanting to put words on paper in some form or another for God. I made friends at meals, friends in sessions, friends just walking from one building to another. I made friends in my first couple of hours–Suzanne, Sheila, and Heather–and we were each other’s cheerleaders for the remainder of the week (which reminds me, I have pictures for them). I made friends with Kay Shostak, who not only made me feel famous for about twenty seconds, but who also brainstormed the book of the century with me. We’ll write that puppy one day… Or not. (The world ain’t ready for THAT book!) I somehow managed to stalk Steven James–I swear, everywhere I went, there he was… or everywhere he went, there I was. Or something. If I had run into him one more time, I would have asked him what prophecy God had given him for me, because it was just getting weird.
Folks, go to a writer’s conference. If you’re even THINKING about writing, go to one. I’d go again tomorrow if I could get to one tomorrow. The Novel Writer’s Retreat is in the fall, and I’d love to be there… but I’ve got to find enough change in the couch cushions first! Anyone care to send donations? I hear Kay’s gonna be there… and I’m thinking the book of the century might be born! 🙂