Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why must the conference always end?

It’s well known that sailors love their ale. A dirty habit, getting drunk and causing all manner of ugly. Well, here at scribbler’s cove, I’ve discovered the rum, and it’s very addictive.

It’s writer’s conferences!

Sad, but true. We’re lonely sorts (by choice of course) and we long for the companionship of that bottle of writerly love. That feeling that we’re not alone, that we’re not crazy – or at least, that others are crazy like us.

We drink that conference ale down and we feel bolder, cleverer; the world is our black pearl! We ride that high all week (or, for the Odyssey folks, a binge of three straight fortnights)!

And then, we come home and suffer through the withdrawal. The worst part for this sailor. I get the proverbial shakes and can’t write a thing for a month. I’m depressed. I wallow in the emptiness of the bottle – why must the conference always end? I cry.

I’ve been on four conference benders now, once per annum. At my first one, other writers asked me, “Is this your first conference?” to which I peered down my nose at them* and said haughtily “I’m just tasting the rum (you drunken sot, you!)”

But as the next summer loomed, I found myself craving another indulgence. Of writerly companionship, of inspiration, of... of... legitimacy. When at a conference, I feel justified in telling my lies. Even pious! The world needs me, I shall save it from a dreaded draught of good literature. I shall send the creative rain down into every thirsty mouth!

So again and again I have caved into the cravings. But no more. After this year’s Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers workshop, I’ve decided it’s high time to get dry. It’s time to write with a clear head. To take all I’ve learned in my exploration of self, and truly write with the door closed.

Until next year, of course.

Write on, sailors!

* which is a real trick when you’re five-foot-two.


  1. That's a good analogy, Amber. Hope you can get a little bit of a kick from hanging out at Scribblers Cove to tide you over to your next conference.

    I've got my mouth watering over that Superstars Workshop in SLC in January. Maybe I can find some way to swing it. But I was also going to try to make it to Summer SCBWI next year. Once you get started on a conference binge, it's so hard to stop!

  2. Great post! I feel a little bit shaky myself. But, what is this about a workshop in January? Spill the details!

  3. Here it be, a map to treasure island for sure:

    Are you interested, Leisha? How far do you live from SLC? I might be even more tempted to come if I had a place to stay and someone to carpool with...

  4. Oh, the pain. Ay, I also suffered tremendously afterward. Me aches and pains be getting a little lighter, especially with the commisserations of fellow write-a-holics. I'm gonna have to check out the Superstar Writing Seminar. Thanks for the FYI!

  5. Now, you! Stop waving the bottle under my nose!

  6. I don't know if I can afford the conference right now, although I'd LOVE to go. But, my house is always welcome. Really. You could have my writing room all to yourself. I do have cats, just FYI. I live about 45 minutes North of North Salt Lake. It would be awesome if you came!

  7. I mean, you are always welcome at my house. Sheesh. I can construct. a sentence Really: I can. He He.

  8. Thanks, Leisha! In thinking it over, this January may be too soon for me to do an *expensive* workshop, especially when there's a nice SCBWI Hawaii one right here in Honolulu in February.

    But maybe the cabin girl and I can stay with you in 2012 when we come for WIFYR?

  9. Sure thing. That would be awesome--as long as you can put up with my kids. *Grin*


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