Usually I blog almost immediately about the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and sometimes I break down the posts by day. I didn’t do that this year. For one thing, I attended two of the afternoon sessions this year, something I can truly say I’ve never done before, and that cut into that go-back-to-the-hotel-and-blog time.
Secondly, the feedback I got on the short story I submitted was so valuable that as soon as I got back I plunged into a revision, a revision that I think adds another layer to the story and makes it stronger, and then I had an idea for another story and I have about half of rough draft written of that. This doesn’t leave time for blogs.
This is also why I love conferences.
As I’ve said many times before, I love this conference, and over and above great workshop-mates and excellent leaders, part of my love comes from the location, which is beautiful and changeable, filled with eccentric small-town characters, with a long drive to and from, leaving lots of time for mulling and churning, those brain activities that seem to help with creativity more than analyzing, word-counting, outlining and hyperlinking do, at least for me.
Some highlights, though, in no particular order:
1. The Short Story workshop, and particularly Lori Ostlund, the leader. Lori has a brilliant grasp of the short story, not just because she’s smart (she is) but also clearly because she has worked on it, reading thoughtfully and widely and deeply. She is also an expert at making a workshop setting a safe place where the work is respected. That isn’t always the case. Plus, she makes all that look easy. And, as I found out when I started reading her story collection The Bigness of the World, she is a brilliant writer.
2. The workshop participants. Great writers, great folks.
3. Chatty ravens.
4. Grant Faulkner and the afternoon session on flash fiction. Just pure fun! Well, no, not pure fun… some learning in there too.
5. Dinner with my friend Terry at the Point Noyo Restaurant, with the host with the wide smile and the waxed Yosemite Sam mustache.
6. The Botanical Garden.
7. The river otters!
8. Reconnecting with Doug Fortier and Teri Crane.
9. Reyna Grande for her entertaining presentation; and for her and her friendly husband, who sat at our table at the closing banquet.
10. Winning a raffle prize! A tote bag filled with poetry books and a book-light.
11. The seal skeleton that hangs in the window of Fort Bragg’s historical Town Hall, as if it’s swimming through the dark air and out onto the street.