Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writer’s Conference: Post #2

I feel like I ought to be writing about how beat I am after the first day of the conference but, mostly, I’m energized.

This morning, I spent an hour walking on the hotel treadmill, looking over the four day conference itinerary. I have to say, I’m terribly impressed with the potential of what will unfold here on the Arizona State University Campus–Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

Before Saturday evening, I will sit in on workshops like:

– Publishing: “How to get a Literary Agent”

-Drama: “Listen Up!” (perfecting the art of creating dialog in your writing)

– Fiction: “Navigating Fictive Distance” (how to achieve enough distance from fact to make a story work)

– Writers in the Community: “Writing Toward Social Change”

– Multigenre: “Body Talk” (tapping into the complex bonds between language and the human form)

…and the list goes on.

Highlights of today:
I had the pleasure of hearing author, playwright and performer Tania Katan read from her memoir My One-Night Stand With Cancer from which she has developed a one-woman show which she performs to thrilled audiences around the country. A hilarious, poignant lesbian married to a Mormon woman, she enticed the audience into stitches while reading from her new essay about the Pioneer Camp her wife, Angela, tried to persuade Tania to sign up for. Included in the essay, a letter supposedly written to the Pioneer Camp depicting why, exactly, they ought to consider inviting a lesbian couple to be apart of the volunteer staff, Katan proclaimed, “[we would] be churning butter with irony!” and “it’d be like putting the ‘queer’ in pioneer!”

Later in the day, after some workshop and socialization time, we were treated to readings by fiction writer, William Henry Lewis , and poet Martha Collins–both captivating the audience with their unique style and story telling fortitude.

At the end of the day, I was privileged enough to dine with three other fellow conference attendees: a mother of two, memoirist and essayist who has attended this very same conference for years; a ballroom dancer, ex-FBI agent-turned private investigator-turned fictional writer; and a gay, Polish, Italian divorcee with two grown children and a knack for writing creative non-fiction. If I’m beginning to feel boring here, it’s for good reason!

So, for now, I will dig into the remaining fifty pages of editing work on my own manuscript, turn in for a little shut-eye, and high tail it back to campus tomorrow morning for another awesome day!

P.S. ~ If you’re curious about the other sorts of workshops, etc. that go on at a conference like this, check this out.

P.S.S ~ It was 65 degrees and sunny here today. There were actual songbirds singing in the palm trees overhead and real-live oranges and grapefruit growing in the trees all over campus! What a change from the snow and cold of February in Montana!




Filed under Writing and Publishing

4 responses to “Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writer’s Conference: Post #2

  1. Shelly

    Just checking in and your retreat sounds fun. Too bad about the sexual deviants but I guess writing does attract a higher percentage of lesbians and fags.

  2. @ Shelly: Wow. “Sexual deviants?” Isn’t that, like, a 1950’s term? Lesbians, fags, or whatever, some of the “sexual deviants” here are pretty damned good at what they do.

    Oh, and yes. The conference is fun.

  3. Shelly

    I think it is a 60’s term.

  4. Ah, yes. The 60’s. Such a tumultuous time. (Not as bad as the 70’s, of course.)

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