Writer’s Conference Consequences

February 25, 2011

I went to my very first writer’s conference. I publicly acknowledged that I am a Writer (pause for effect). I went to diverse talks on diverse topics and learned far more than I’d expected to. It was beneficial and stimulating.

I also had the ironic, somewhat muted pleasure of helping hand the platter: you know, those people to whom life always hands things on a platter? I am not Hebe, but I can hand with the best.  I am glad that I was helpful; not being a card-carrying saint, I cannot help but wish for similar easy recognition. Great things can happen at conferences. I have seen it.

I was not handed a platter, but I was handed a path, and for that I am grateful. I have been wondering how I should pursue my dreams, and now I see a clear path laid out before me. That frightens me. I am not by nature a direct sort. But out of all the talks, through all the workshops, and thanks to the mental acceleration of that intense weekend, an idea was born.

Sometimes, perhaps always, one must conquer one’s fears and one’s inertia and step out into a new world – a new way of living. To do otherwise is to stagnate.

This last year and a half has been one new step after another. It doesn’t get any easier: the steps get bigger. But the confidence that I can and will keep walking grows. Not yet the light at the end of a tunnel, but a path that might take me where I want to be.

And perhaps, just perhaps, that path is a greater thing than a life handed to me. I don’t know. I don’t have a choice or a way to compare. I do have the hope of achieving a dream through my own efforts. And after all, I have help. There are people who wish me well, who offer assistance, and who I can help, too. Despite my slightly sour grapes comments above, being able to help others and to help yourself gives far more of that contentment that is happiness than any amount of receiving. Self-respect comes not from being told you’re worthwhile, but from knowing you have accomplished something of worth.

amended: I meant to add this later on the day I posted this, but got sidetracked. I am aware that for most people who get the breaks, they have put in long hours of hard work preparing. But for every one who does all the work and gets noticed, there are dozens (thousands?) equally ready and equally capable who go unseen. That’s life. Yup. Doesn’t make it any easier. And no – I am not ready for my novels to be noticed. I am ferociously editing. In a month or two?  Fingers crossed. My comments are mostly philanthropic, not personal.

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