MCWC 2021 Finished Up

Another conference is in the books.

Like last year’s, this conference was online. Like last year’s this worked pretty well for me. It worked better for me in one respect; I participated online from a room at the Alegria Inn in Mendocino, so I could re-create the peripherals of the conference (walking on the headlands, going to the botanical gardens, visiting with friends) as much as possible.

Writing friend Donna Banta and her husband came up too, and that added to the sense of in-personness.

I attended the Speculative Fiction workshop. Alaya Dawn Johnson led the workshop. She was warm, positive, with a good eye for what could be stronger. She also dedicated time to some exercises, which required some conscious analysis of passages to see how things were done. People may have mixed reactions to the exercises since they truly did limit the amount of time we spent workshopping. Me? I loved them and was glad she prioritized them.

I was in awe of our group and the caliber of storytelling. The group members were not only good writers (and in some cases excellent writers) they were thoughtful, knowledgeable, deep and careful readers with workshops comments that were both generous and insightful. It’s really unusual to get the whole package in a group, but this one had it.

Here follows a brief list of peripheral achievements:

I hosted my first cocktail party. This was done with the help of the amazing travel bar kit, of course. And yes, by “hosting” I mean mixing three drinks and eating snacks that were mostly provided by Mark and Donna, my in-person guests. But still, I check the box. A win.

Writing friends Margaret Speaker-Yuan and Monya Baker joined us via Zoom, and for them it was very much BYOB.

The spread. The plates and flatware, almonds, smoked salmon and fancy crackers are from me. Donna provided the rest. (Oh, I brought the table cloth.)

I walked every day, and climbed stairs or hills every day. I was very good about getting out–of course I wanted to, so it’s not a virtue or self-discipline thing. I still check the box. It helped that every day but one we had beautiful weather, even if it was a bit windy.

I made it to the botanical garden and got to see the dahlias. That was something I missed terribly last year.

I did an okay job of conserving water. I brought my own drinking water, and took short, military-style showers. The problem, while not a new one, is very real and more acute this year. I wanted, at least, not to add to the strain.

I fell short in a couple of areas. I planned to go to the garden twice, the second time on Sunday after I had breakfast with the Fortiers. I knew that Art in the Garden was happening, but somehow I didn’t know just how big that event was. They had three overflow parking lots and two of them were full. As I drove to the mostly empty third one, I eyed the sheer numbers of people walking back to the gardens. Yes, it was outside. Yes, many wore masks. I still decided it wasn’t a great idea.

I missed dinner with Barbara Lee, but we’ll figure out a way to do it some other time.

I did not buy out the inventory of Gallery Bookshop. I counted as I was putting things in the car this afternoon. So far, I’ve only bought three books. I mean, am I even trying? Fortunately, I have time to improve this one! It’s early yet.

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One Response to MCWC 2021 Finished Up

  1. Terry says:

    It sounds as if all went well for you.

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