I'm at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for my fourth year in a row. I'm rooming with Dallas Woodburn this year, who is both a gifted writer and an extremely tolerant roommate. She's currently finishing her dinner (at 11:15 p.m. — it is Conference Week) while I type this up.
SBWC is a week-long conference, which I'm given to understand is pretty exceptional. We have a great faculty, and there seems to be something for everyone. My cousin discovered the poetry workshop today and she was so happy she actually cried. Personally, I count Matt Pallamary's 'Phantastic Fiction' workshop as Home Base, and have since I started attending. This year I added Lisa Lenard-Cook's afternoon workshop on Revision. I'm also a volunteer, so I get to do some work for the conference as well, which I truly enjoy. I love being a part of this thing.
And next year will be even better, because Patrick will be here, and we will do the conference together. Along with everything else.
It is the fifth day of the conference, and everyone is getting tired. I didn't workshop at all today, opting instead for poking at the keys a bit, trying to finish a short story I started around this time last year. I have three short stories I need to get off my plate and into the mail so that I can turn my attention to my 2005 NaNovel, which actually says “The End” on the last page and could use a year's worth of work before I even run it through a crit. That's this year's goal, though, getting that piece into a crittable state.
A lot of people are leaving tomorrow morning — today was Agents Day, the day on which people can spend 15 minutes with one or more agents, pitching a book or picking a brain. Many people only come for this opportunity, and when it's over, they go home. Which is kind of a shame — there are two more days of workshops that they could attend, six more chances to make their work better.
I missed Ray Bradbury's talk this year, but it was recorded and I have the DVD. I look forward to seeing it. He reduced me to tears four years ago, the first time I heard him speak. He is inspiring as both a writer and a human being.
I've written a page today. Only a page. I'm rusty again — it takes so little time for that to happen, for my brain to lose its flexibility. I need to get back to discipline. It is tricky for me, as it is for all of us. So many things require our attention, it is hard to know where to fit writing in. I realize it can't fit into my nights anymore, so it's going to have to fit into my mornings. This is going to require a major lifestyle adjustment. But I am motivated.
For now though, it's about time to sleep. I've got workshops to attend tomorrow. I want to get everything I can out of this week.
In other news, tomorrow night I'm fulfilling a standing date made last year (one year ago tonight, actually) with Lisa and Fleet. We had sushi downtown and made plans and predictions, some of which panned out and some of which didn't. The plan for my writing did not, at least not in the way that we had intended. But I'm satisfied by the way in which it did.
And lastly, today I heard from an old friend, another member of the old AOL/IRC crew from Back In the Day. It was great to hear from him (hi, Doug!) He is also a writer. Maybe I'll be able to convince him to attend SBWC in coming years, too.
I hope that you're all well and happy. Imma sleep now.