Friday, July 18, 2008

Santa Barbara Writer's Conference ROCKS!


A week to rejuvenate. A week to reconnect. A week to write!

The first year I attended the conference, founder Barnaby Jones said, "You'll come home change." And by the first day of that conference I knew he was right. The ultimate instructors:Davida Hurwin, Matt Palomary, John H. Ritter. Workshopping in its truest form. And John Reed, our pirate king! I can't thank these amazing writers enough for their tireless dedication to our work. Because of them I grow tremendously as a person and as a writer. SUPERNOVA here I come! The ultimate speakers this year: Ray Bradburry and Louis Alberto Urrea. Supreme storytellers. Supreme human beings. Ray: responsible for inspiring me for yet another year. Reminding us all why we write. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

And my favorite people. I've just met some of you. And, reconnecting with my conspirators of the past is a blessed event. I find my joy and inspiration in the time we spent together during this week, and it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE! Gillian. Lori W. Wally. John. Davida. Jen. Eric. Laura. Lisa. Jessica. Dale. Bev. Collyn. We made a great team. The talent show ROCKED! The time we spent practicing (no, we should not have been writing, right?) was so incredibly valuable to me. Thank you for putting up with my amateur voice. To sing with you all was sacred. To nurture this part of me is a gift--not to mention so much fun! Our performances charged me in a way that nothing us could have and I'm so thankful!

And to all the "young adults" (Theo, Danny, Nate,) who possess the incredible wisdom and intuitiveness, I salute you for putting yourselves out there. For putting up with us "adults." It is an honor to learn and write with you all!

Super agents: Lindsay Davis and Jamie Wise Chilton. So fun to hang out and see you both again. We learn so much from you.

And Wally, thank you so much for putting up with us crazy, female writers. The interesting vocabulary. The vegetarian food. The loud creaky stairs. We're so glad you've gone through your recovery, and now can function as a normal human being again. But don't get too used to it! Next year is right around the corner, and Cabos here we come:)

And yes, McCain was at our hotel, but we made our presence known!

I am refreshed. I am motivated. And I thank you all for helping me re-find the path. The writer's path we all trudge upon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taught by a Rock

Early summer started me off by a quick trip to Oregon for the wedding of my brother-in-law, Mark, and his new wife, Lien. Oregon, as always, rang rich in beauty and nature. The robins- a part of our daily lives, and the mule deer that crossed my path on an early morning drive. I was welcomed well. Lunch with our old pals from Cleveland Street, Bob and Sandy, now residing in the paradise of Cannon Beach--surrounded with art, books, and gourmet grilled cheese. Then the wedding and all its festivities- amidst family-old and new-building and rebuilding bonds lost or forgotten.

And at the center, stands Haystack Rock. A massive chunk of earth standing tall along the shore of Cannon Beach. In the crispness of the clear day before the wedding, the rock is edgy, covered in plant growth--a breeding ground for gulls, cormorants, and tufted puffins. At dusk, its silhouette highlighted by the brilliant orange and red of the fading sun. Fully revealed. Vulnerable. The calm ocean accepts its reflection ever so willingly.

Then within seconds, Haystack Rock is adorned in fog. Surrounded softly by the misty air, like the bride in her elegant gown. Painted, just a bit at first in white, the rock's foundation remains strong, stabilized still through its cover. But slowly, nature moves in and the rock disappears. We know it's there, even though its outline is fuzzy in the haze. The soul retreats, protective; guarded.

But we believe. We persevere. Like the soul on a cloudy day, life moves on. We swim through fog. We swim through the find joy. Like Haystack, we all reveal and retreat. A free soul must still be shielded.

Our rock reappears and we breathe a sigh of relief. Life is good. Life is hard. Life is foggy and sunny, sometimes all at once. But the passion and beauty always return, whether clouded or clear. And for this, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you Mark and Lien for a beautiful wedding.

Thank you Haystack Rock for reminding me.