Aside 19 Jun

I spent the past week traveling to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, wherethe Southeastern Writer’s Association had invitedme toattend as an instructor their annual writer’ conference held at Epworth by the Sea.

     The facilities, the grounds, the scenery all were inspiring. The staff at Epworth prepared some wonderful meals with a bountiful spread of selections that seemed to offer something for everyone to love.

     The conference is organized by a board of directors. The board replaced three members as partof a reguar routine of sifting the direction of the leadership, adding one young lady in her 20’s! This act impressed me, as usually organizations like this get caught up in a battle of control that stifles any chance for growth. That will not happen here. I left the conference with a satisfied and assured sense that this organization will continue to grow and prosper. and provide a valuable service to its members and fellow authors.

     But what impressed me most were the skills of the individual writers in attendance.–many with books already published. They seemed like dry sponges, soaking up every offered drop of wisdom offered by the instructors as they searched for the tip or writing practice that might mke a difference in their craft.

     It is this quality, I am sure, that accounts for so many books published within this talented group of writers.  

     The meals were served buffet style, Attendees sat with instructors and presenters sharing tales of family and ex-wives  and writing and hunts and trials and challenges–such as cancer or the loss of a loved one–that they all faced and conquered.

     On Monday night an open mic reading was held where everyone was given a four minute time slot to read from the best f their work. As I listened I was struck by the talent of the prose and the presentations of the authors. I was impressed with the voice of the readers and the yearnings expressed so clearly within those snippets.

     For thousands of dollars one can attend Breadloaf or Sewanee. but I fail o see how anyone could not benfit just as much, for a percentage of the cost,  by attending this conference.
 
     I encourage anyone who seeks to improve as a writer to join and support tis well-managed and run organization and make plans to attend their conference next year. You will love the majesty of the moss-draped live oaks, the quality of the food, the all-inclusive family atmosphere of the people who refuse to allow a first-time attendee to remain a stranger, and ore than anything, your writing skills will evolve and develop in a loving atmosphere of writers who simply want to become better writers.

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