Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Intentions

I’m late for a date I made with myself. Well, maybe not quite late yet—there are three more days left in the month. When I began my blog I knew I wouldn’t be a daily blogger, but once a month seemed a very reasonable goal.

My intentions fired up again while attending the three-day Florida Writers Conference in Orlando last weekend. Wow! What talent abounds in this sunshine state! I entered my memoir, A Bowl of Cherries, in the published memoir category, with no expectations. Early in July I learned my book was a finalist. Way back in the recesses of my mind, I thought I might have a chance of placing in the top three, but realistically I doubted it. As I perched on the edge of my chair at Saturday evening’s Awards Banquet, I listened to the writing, publishing, and teaching credentials of the winners in the many categories. The more I heard, the more honored I felt just to have my book accepted in the competition. No, I didn’t win an award, but I eagerly wait to receive what matters to me most—the written rubric, or critiques, from the two judges.

Among the many inspiring moments of the conference, the reading of an impelling short story excerpt by a very young teenager with large rimmed glasses stands out in my memory. Her friend, a year younger, read her own touching and creative poem. The adults in the large conference room applauded exuberantly. What a pleasure to see young talent among us. Not many years from now, I expect these two bright, eager writers to be on stage claiming awards.

The nine workshops I selected to attend left me with prepared handouts and a dozen pages of my own notes. I learned how to manage back-story, write in the omniscient third person, and use proven techniques for self-editing. One presenter instructed us how to spice up our plots with character development and by turning narrative into dialogue. Now I have no excuse. As exhorted in the title of Judy Bridges’ outstanding writing reference book, I must Shut Up and Write.

With Kindles, Nooks, and Ipads as ubiquitous as bottled water, we couldn’t ignore questioning the future of book publishing. Some from publishing houses insisted there will always be a market for printed books. Still others said, “Forget about publishing hard copies of your work. Electronic publishing is here to stay.” Maybe, but I get a tingle of excitement when I hold my own book in my hand.

I doubt I will publish again in any format other than emagazines, but I can certainly put fingers to the keyboard once a month to add new musings to my blog site. November is just around the corner….