Fall is in the air!
It's a drizzly afternoon, due to Hurricane Ike. While I love the cooler sleeping weather, the gray skies have done nothing to improve my already shaky mood. The closer the times gets to actually leaving for the writing conference, the more apprehensive I become.
I don't really think it's because of having to 'showcase' my writing. (In a sense anyway. It's like setting up a lemonade stand at the end of your driving and saying, "I don't care if anyone buys it or not. I just LOVE to make lemonade." Of course you are out there with something to SELL and you want someone to love it enough to BUY by offering a contract.) My work will either stand or fall and at this late date there is nothing I can do about it.
It could be that I'm excited and terrified at the same time of meeting so many new people. So many people who are names will become faces and we'll share a unique experience. Maybe some of them will become friends. Some I may never see again. The possibilities are endless for what might happen.
There are also people I've only met once or twice that I'm looking forward to seeing again. Several people I've only "met" online and would like to know better.
But, I have to keep reminding myself that I'm going to this conference with the blessings, the love and support of so many people. I couldn't have made it myself! My friend, Jean, who first gave me the money to join ACFW and to enter the Genisis contest. The super wonderful people in Ohio who gave me a partial scholarship so that the dream of going to the conference became a reality. Then my friend, Janet, who generously offered to pay for the hotel.
Then I have to count all the friends who did the small things - although not so small when you add up the spirit of generosity and giving each entailed. To Maribeth who kept scouting up odd jobs among her relatives so that I could earn extra cash for the trip. She also trudged through store after store with me and waited patiently while I tried on clothes. Together we went to a booksigning and an ACFW Meet and Greet so that I could meet some of the people who would be at the conference. We shared lunches and tea and she let me talk and talk and talk!
To her and Patty, who trudged through the mall with me and talked me into buying THE dress for the Award Banquet. To Patty who generously chipped in to pay for the dress and treated me to lunch so I could "save money for the trip." Patty was also one of the first to read the contest entry and whittle it down to a respectable length. She made suggestions that helped more than I can say.
Thank you, Maribeth and Patty!! You two are fantastic and I'm glad we're friends. (I'm Donna Patton and I approve of this message. :))
Then there are so many other wonderful people I have to thank for encouragement, support, friendship and just plain, 'atta girl!' It's like I'm going to the conference surrounded by a bubble of love.
To Kathi - super crit partner! - who read all the drafts and never got tired of the manuscript. She actually plans to do crits for the WHOLE book and will keep pressing until I finish the dirty darned thing! To April who read the first draft and made so many helpful suggestons. Also to Peaches who gave it and the synopsis the once over not once but several times. She also sent the sweetest gift for me to tuck in my suitcase - for the trip. I'm not ashamed to say I almost cried at someone being so thoughtful. It helps a LOT.
Then there's my Scribes group at church who keep encouraging me and telling me I'll be fine. Jean, Becky, Bev, Angie, Margaret and Maria - I appreciate you all so much!
Carol Cartaino and the Highland County Writers - how can I express what I feel for this terrific group of people? You've made writing fun again.
Kitty and Sherry - my oldest friends - who kept telling me I could do it! I almost believe I can.
Linda, Leona, Michelle, all the people in the valley who read my stories --thanks for all the great emails and comments!
To my new critique partners - Diana, Sheri and Nike - we haven't known one another long but I already feel like we are friends. Denver in 09?
Taking a deep breath and going ---- to Minneapolis . . .