I have returned once again from the famed Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, where hundreds of struggling writers go to spend a week indoors a whole fifty yards from that blue stuff in the picture above. This year’s event was a lot like last year’s, except I spent the first part of the week getting my rear handed back to me, and the second half figuring out why.
It comes down to this: working in a vacuum sucks. I can spend the whole day typing away until my fingers bleed (or maybe become somewhat numb), but unless I put my stuff out there for someone to read and critique, it’s just a fiction diary. Also, I can be somewhat myopic when it comes to my work, and it’s nice to get someone to look at it who didn’t write it. Perspective and all that jazz.
The week ended well. I won another award (Honorable Mention in the 1,000 Word Contest), though I’m not entirely sure why. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take it. But I wrote my entry in about twenty minutes one evening, then typed it up the day it was due. Spellchecking it probably would have been a good idea. Using the theme word (Sideways, like the movie) might have been a plus. But I at least stuck to the spirit of the theme, if not the letter of it. And unlike last year, I didn’t have to stand up in front of 400 people and read it outloud. Yeah, nothing cooler than a guy behind a podium talking about a character who gives himself a vasectomy. Good times.
So, was the conference a success? Absolutely. I met an agent who wants to read the full manuscript of my YA thriller, I won an award, and the three women who stayed with me didn’t smother me in my sleep for snoring too loud.
Michelle and I are loving our tandem bicycle. We’ve been out seven times now, and have yet to kill one another, or crash. Close calls don’t count. Michelle is still unsure of her sills, which makes sense, as she has none. Just kidding, dear. You’re the reincarnation of Lance Armstrong, even though he isn’t dead.
We look forward to taking it out every weekend, even when the temperature cracks 70. Yeah, I hear all you people in the south and midwest. In the Pacific Northwest, 70 is hot. This is why we moved here. That, and the lack of poisonous snakes west of the Cascades. Oh, and the volcanoes. You gotta love volcanoes. And killer whales. And earthquakes. This place is like Disneyland without the lines.
Monday, July 7, 2008