clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, December 28, 2013


At left, workshop instructors Chiang, Winston and Franklin R.

I'm not going to a conference in 2014. I've waffled and wondered and puzzled and pondered. I'm not going.

I went to Bear River ( here ) last year and it was good for me. I learned some things. I also learned I didn't want to attend any more conferences where the entrance is not in some way juried.

I'm going on a retreat to catch trout and write this spring. I've invited some friends. Right now, this year, I feel the need to produce and grind and submit and publish. I'd like to go to a conference, meet wonderful people and have a good time.

I'm an introvert. I'm not the sales guy. I go into a room and can easily leave after a half-hour having met no one. I've perfected the invisible man act: the meaningless cocktail banter which ends before introduction is required. Perfect, actually. My native state: the edge.

I don't want to be that way but it happens. I won't get out of an agent/editor conference anything of meaning (I've read Miss Snark - all - and Janet Reid. I have a small clue. Small . ). After a couple of pieces published in respected magazines and a couple completed manuscripts vetted through betas, then I'd have something of interest to say. 

Workshops? Lovely - but I am more ready now for craft and critique than for more study. I have textbooks from the MFA programs. I've worked through one and am on another. I have a solid professional library from which continuing lessons can be gleaned. I'm not done learning by any means. I am done with face-to-face work for now.

Yes, I've had a writing group collapse. My first of - I'm sure - many to collapse. The cause? Ultimately, a lack of writing. Talking about material and completing material are two different things. I've been finishing too little.

So, no conference. A week's retreat: sure. Submission, critiques, production, reading ? Of course.

I'll add a caveat: I'll go to a professional conference should I win an award. I'm not packing any bags any time soon. I might dream about it one night in May just to see how it tastes. I'll not linger on the maudlin sentiment of success. Nothing like a boatload of rejection for motivation. Makes it better on the Bestseller list.

So, no conference. How about you? Anyone going to Iowa this summer? Tin House? Breadloaf?

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