Folks who pay attention to my Facebook page or my Twitter account might remember that a couple of months ago, I announced I had been accepted to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in Tennessee. I’ve been hyperventilating over my good fortune since then, excited about the opportunity to work with and learn from amazing writers, to hone my craft and develop my current novel project, and — perhaps most of all — to spend ten solid days focusing on nothing but writing and the writing community.
Of course, I’ve also had work to do in the meantime: I’ve been fleshing out the story of the novel I plan to workshop there, I’ve been dipping into yet more research for that novel, and I’ve been reading work by some of the workshop faculty.
I’ve also been in touch with a few friends who’ll be at the conference as well, including Bonnie ZoBell (author of the story cycle What Happened Here), poet Caitlin Pryor, and poet Ash Bowen (Caitlyn and Ash are both fellow alumni of the creative writing doctoral program at my alma mater, the University of North Texas, and Ash — a Sewanee scholarship recipient this year! — is a former classmate of mine).
And, of course, I’ve been in touch with writer friends who’ve attended Sewanee before, getting tips on how to manage the onslaught of creative energy over the dozen days of the conference. (My favorite conversation was between two friends, one who suggested I bring my own linens and a mattress pad to guard against the bare-bones bedding of the conference dorm rooms, the other who told me not to bother because, as he put it, “Sheets are for sleeping. Who sleeps?”)
This week, I’ve been finalizing plans: going over the daily schedules (which are chock full of readings, lectures, and panels, and that’s when we’re not in workshops or at social events!), working with Sewanee’s university bookstore to make sure that Hagridden is in stock at the conference (it will be!), and going over my packing list (I’m not far into that yet, but I know for certain I’ll be packing my new “Plot” tshirt from Out of Print).
I don’t plan to post from the conference much, unless something exceptionally exciting happens. I might toss up a photo-heavy post or two, but I’m going to be so focused on my own writing and the work of others that I doubt I’ll have the time — or the mental energy — to blog while I’m there. So except for those potential few posts, you can expect a couple of weeks of silence here on the blog, and in my other social media like Facebook and Twitter.
But don’t worry: before I leave for the conference, I’ll post a short excerpt from some of the new novel material I’ll be workshopping. And as soon as I’m back, you can expect a deluge of words and images here on the blog. So stay tuned, gang!