Wide awake now, I have recovered from the 12 hour drive from my home to Nashville where I attended the Writing it Real Conference held at the Scarritt Bennett Conference Center, a metaphor that demonstrates beauty on the outside, corruption on the inside...best explain: beautiful collection of Gothic buildings, majestic, medieval, almost went looking for Mr. Chips flapping by in his black robes. Interior rooms were cell-like...no problem there, for none of us were in them very long. One of us suffered and attack of the ants and needed to change her room at night without any help from staff. Bad move, staff. We'll herald that near and far. To ask a woman to move by herself from downstairs to upstairs...no elevator here...is beyond the pale.
Food was dreadful the first day because a substitute chef had the task and he was pathetic. Regular chef returned from vacay and things improved a bit. The promised forever present coffee wasn't. Once the containers were empty, so were we. Keep the coffee coming seems to not be a Scarritt Bennett thing. So we trekked to Starbucks for coffee and Panera for breakfast on our last day. Some of us stayed over and of course we knew the kitchen was nada. Luckily the walk to said coffee and breakfast was good for us. Enough. Let me get to the good stuff.
The WIR (Writing It Real) Conference was spectacular, not just because of the leadership of Sheila Bender and her faithful cohorts Meg Files and Jack Heffron....a trio that works seamlessly together to present the very best tools a writer needs for developing his or her craft....but because of the particicpants. This, my fourth conference, came with a mix of fine writers all, gifted sharers of their talent, constructive attitudes and the gentlest of critiquers. Their writing was spectacular and there was nary a boring moment either by teachers or writers. I learned so very much this time. Lectures were thorough and informative. The sticky place is still about the nightmare of publishing and what the choices are. The message, though, is really about the mess that is publishing, and has been for a few years now. It is that you, the writer, will be doing virtually all the work and the publisher, if it isn't you, will take a piece of your action. A big piece. So, ergo, do it all yourself.
I can't say enough about the wonderful leadership. To anyone who writes and reads this blog, plan to treat yourself to three days of magic with this trio of instructors. I don't know what I'll be doing this time next year and probably neither do you. But I'm making my plans, regardless. Conferences I have attended with WIR were in Madison, Wisconsin, Port Townsend, Washington, Oracle, Arizona, and Nashville, Tennessee. We do get around. Where would you like to attend next year? It's still an open question.
Each conference I have attended with WIR has made me a better writer. But this one, because of the serendipitous mix, will remain memorable.