The 2011 Pikes Peak Writers Conference was, once again, a weekend wherein my brain is stimulated almost to the point of implosion. I always learn something new, meet new people, say something totally idiotic and have the best weekend of the entire year.
The best part about our conference is the atmosphere. Everyone is so dang happy to sit down and talk about writing, to offer advice, listen to questions and give thoughtful answers. I mean, my gosh, Carol freaking BERG listened to my first page and not only liked it but gave me great feedback for improving it.
Not only are the other writers approachable, but so are the agents and editors who attend. If you’re too shy to pitch to them (me? too shy? not in this lifetime!), they’re still available to just talk about publishing, about genres and trends and agenting and business concerns.
The other best part (who am I kidding? They’re all best parts.) is that I come home with a list of new authors to read. This year, I’m happy to say, I have new books by j.a. kazimer and Linda Rohrbough to dive into. And Ron Cree’s book, which my children are already trying to steal so they can read it first.
Old friends. New friends. Trixie and Hot Toddy on the stage. Bonnie and Jared doing Shakespearean rap. Some random cute government contractor chatting me up in the elevator and wanting to know all about what went on at a writing conference. The agent who was going off to her room to pack who told me, “it’s time to put my breakables in my underwear.” The woman who dropped her industrial sized box of condoms on the ballroom floor. The brownies which I think might have eclipsed the justifiably famous chocolate cake.
And more new writing ideas than my brain can possibly hold.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that this event has gone beyond being just a conference for me. Some of these people are part of my family now, the kind you adopt because they know you, they get you, and they laugh at your jokes. You care about them, and you know they care about you. You look around the table at one of the meals, and you feel a sense of pride and ownership because you helped create this conference, and the people you’re breaking bread with are having a good time and learning something. They’re glad they came. You’re glad they came. You want to link arms and start singing “Kumbaya,” but you restrain yourself.
So, tonight, I’m going to sip an Arrogant Bastard (it’s beer, so get your mind out of the gutter!), order in Chinese, watch Desperate Housewives and try to get my eyes and my brain to come into focus again. Because tomorrow it’s back to work on my writing, but all too soon, it will be time to start thinking about next year’s conference.
I can’t wait!