Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Post-Conference Sinus Headaches

I just returned from the Liberty States Writers Conference in Iselin, NJ. Wonderful folks--though a lack of impulse control may have left a poor impression on some of them--and my sinuses are killing me. Before that it was two days at the Maryland Writers Association (the other MWA) conference. Jessica Williams knows how to run a conference. Every event has its issues; the trick is not letting them show. She's the magician that knows the secrets.

Friday was a day of hanging out and speaking with various people as they attended the all-day events put on by author John Gilstrap and motivational guy/storytelling coach Michael Hauge. Saturday was a full day with presenting a workshop, moderating three panels, sitting in on one, having one break period, and then a book signing session.

From there I did what everyone else probably did: I drove to New Jersey for the Liberty States Conference. Got to Iselin about midnight, asleep at one, up for the breakfast event at too early o'clock. I did my back to back workshops in the early afternoon but it hurt me that I hadn't been there the day before--this wasn't a crime fiction conference per se, so without having had a chance to hang out with and meet people, I was just a name on a piece of paper. I probably had about ten people for each workshop, "Real Detectives," or what detectives actually do as opposed to what TV and movies and bad books try to make us think they do. And a repeat of my "Creative Wordplay: Dialogue vs. Exposition--how to use dialogue and exposition to advance your story" of the day before. Altogether I think I presented that one to around sixty people.

Both conferences have already asked me back, which is my measure of success, and the kind folks at Liberty Writers were talking about extending my time and promoting "Creative Wordplay" so more of their attendees could come to see it. Which is nice.

All of this is before they get their conference feedback, though. Next door to my "Real Detectives" workshop was one on "Flash Fiction." On the way to my room I noticed nobody was smiling. I stopped by, remarked on it, people laughed, and I continued on. Back in my room, a few people wanted to take a few minutes before we got started. Okay, that's fine. Dangerous, but fine.

The words "flash fiction" popped into my mind and how the overall vibe seemed to be kind of down. I peeled off my Spider pullover and told everybody I'd be right back. I went to the next room where they'd left their door open. One of the three presenters was standing up, speaking. The mostly full room had their backs to me. I untucked my polo shirt, grabbed the hem and pulled it up and over my face, leaning backwards. I heard a muffled, "That's not funny," from the speaker before I left, returning to my room and my own workshop.

It's still early, but I have yet to receive a formal invitation to next year's conference.

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