|Robin, Linda, Reba and me at dinner at the Treehouse Cafe,|
after the conference
I've known about Field's End for years, and would never have DARED to attend one of their events, because I didn't consider myself enough of a "real" writer to mingle with others, but a few weeks ago, Robin and I were having coffee with our friend, Reba after taking a walk together. Robin encouraged Reba and me to sign up for the conference. Both of us balked, but said we'd think about it...and then we both jumped in and registered.
Yesterday, we met at the fabulous IslandWood Center with their friend Linda, and immersed ourselves in a community that was warmer, more inviting and encouraging than I would ever have imagined a creative gathering could be. I knew that I was a "real" writer at the Fields' End conference.
The structure of the day was perfect: opportunities to listen to published authors, teachers of the craft, and those versed in the business side of things, all discussing a variety of topics, from craft to art to marketing to first novels, practices and writing strategies, as well as changes in the publishing industry. There were large gatherings and small group sessions. I attended sessions addressed by Jonathon Evison, David Guterson & Nichole Vick, Judith Kitchen, Barry Eisler, Sage Cohen, Isaac Marion and Susan Wingate (and there were many others from which to choose). It was stimulating, inspiring, encouraging, and joyful.
Islandwood itself is a place of rare natural beauty, and the staff could not have been more welcoming. The food served (breakfast, lunch and a wine-and-cheese reception during book-signing, at the end) was so good that it truly defies description, unlike any "camp" food I've ever tasted. IslandWood is the perfect venue for a conference, classes or a wedding.
I am so thankful to Robin for encouraging me to take this step, to all of the volunteers who made the conference possible, and to David Guterson and Nichole Vick for founding this community. I learned about many resources that will be helpful to me as a writer, and am interested in taking more classes and participating in Field's End's roundtables. I felt affirmed by everyone to whom I listened and spoke, and was excited by their experiences, readings and successes.
After the conference, we met our husbands at a local cafe for dinner (all except Robin's husband, who was visiting their son at college). It was a wonderful time of fellowship and discussion, a good way to let off some steam after taking in so much information in classes during the day. I have many handouts and notes to review, and can't wait to go over them.
The four of us women decided that we could create a reading/writing group, to gather for shared critique and support. That is an exciting prospect, and one that inspires me to keep writing, even as I continue to work on marketing "Because of Katie."
I felt the love of God in this event, gently guiding me as I take another step in my life as writer, and I am thankful!