On Saturday, November 12, 2011, writers from all over Georgia gathered at Kennesaw State University for the annual Red Clay Writers Conference. Theme for the conference was "Back to the Art and Craft of Writing" and the theme resonated throughout the day during its' many panel discussions.
The event was kicked off with a keynote address by Wendy Wax, author of Ten Beach Road, during which she encouraged us to think of our writing, and of course, coined a new word (suckalicious), which must have something to do with the literary revision process, or so I now think. Her humor and insight into the profession was a breath of fresh air, and it set the tone for the exciting events of the day.
^My handsome son, on his way to get a giant plate of meatballs! Yum!
^my son gets an autograph from local writer, Ronald M. Waters, author of Honor, Country, and Family: The Memoir of WWII P.O.W. Ronald Morgan Waters
^My son with Mr. Waters, who proudly introduced his book to attendees, in honor of his father
and the recent Veteran's Day holiday.
Attending with me on Saturday was my son, who truly enjoyed the event, and can say his experience there inspired him to excel at his latest writing endeavor, a fictional writing assignment for school on the topic of "Climbing Mt. Everest", securing him a solid "A"! ( His teacher was so pleased with his short essay, she read it aloud to all of her classes today.)
Between lectures, there were tasty refreshments for those in attendance (my son gives a thumbs' up to the chef/writer who prepared the scrumptious meatballs! ), books for sale from a local bookstore, and area artisans showcased their crafts.
I had the opportunity to meet other local writers, and get to know them, and believe supporting fellow writers in our community is absolutely necessary, as writing is a solitary endeavor. We must reach out, network, and encourage area writers because exploring literary works of others expands our horizons and adds to our knowledge of this craft. Sometimes we must leave our comfort zone, our solitary spot where we jot down our thoughts and dreams on paper, to reach out so we may grow as professionals.
I attended the fiction lectures, and while each discussion panel/lecture offered wonderful insight and inspiration, I happen to agree with my son, that the most entertaining discussion was "Writing Funny: Humor in Fiction" with authors Ray Atkins (moderator), Man Martin, and John Schulz. We met many amazing characters as each author read an excerpt from one of their books, and laughed out loud, shamelessly. The three amazing southern novelists held our attention, and it felt as though the lecture hall was transformed from rows of sterile chairs with swivel desktops into a country cabin with a fireplace and rocking chairs, where we were simply guests in the home of three of our favorite relatives. As a local writer Kathryn A. Patterson wrote, "I will never be as funny as Ray Atkins, John Schulz, or Man Martin." And you know something, I agree with Kathryn.
I have a feeling a few books from those amazing, hilarious southern gents will soon pop up on my holiday reading list.
By the way, if you want to read more about the conference, check out Kathryn's blog!