Posted by: jeannineatkins | August 1, 2008

My Mini Writing Conference

I’m happy for friends off to the SCBWI conference in L.A., drinking lattes and listening to lectures that get their hearts racing. And I here I am at home, telling myself to listen up. I have two days pretty much to myself before my sister and her girls arrive for a visit. I decided to have my own mini-conference on the screen porch. I’m serving blueberry iced tea. I stacked up a pile of books: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jack Kornfield, Molly Peacock politely wait for my attention. I take a peek now and then, but I just as much want the company at my elbow, with their promise of pleasure. The paperback covers curl in the heat.

No airport hassles. Parking is free! Pets are allowed! Maybe the food isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst either. No stale bagels and we’ve got peas and basil from Ed’s garden for the salad. Around 8 a.m. we offer the fitness team of Mary (human) and the canines Parker, Louis, and Millie, though I must warn you, yesterday Mary insisted on three loops she now wants to call laps and warned me we might get back to four today. Other than that, it is a quiet conference, which is okay, though I miss laughing and the public parts of writing – talking and listening about plots or sentences. But the part of the process I’m in now asks for quiet and space to let new and better words show up. Everything is vague. Nothing can be held in a hand or is ready for someone else’s eye. My pages are like the house at its worst, right in the middle of cleaning, when stuff is strewn around so you can at last get to the back of a shelf.

At last silence is starting to feel less like the enemy. So bring a laptop or pad of paper and join me (um, in your own corner). I’m putting on the coffee and there’s a small breeze still.



  1. I’ll join you, Jeannine! In hot, sunny NC on the Outer Banks.
    The ice tea is poured. Time for some peaceful writing!

  2. Cindy, so happy you joined me for peaceful writing. I hope you can get in a swim later!

  3. Wow, Jeannine. YOUR conference sounds heavenly. Send me airfare and I’m in. 🙂
    Oh, wait. My office is, at this very moment, sounding exactly like your description of “the house at its worst, right in the middle of cleaning…”
    Maybe another time.

  4. Jill, as long as you can find your novel — isn’t that it, at the top of a pile — you may need to put down that duster and join us. For an hour or two. Passing you iced tea..

  5. Jeannine,
    I’m so impressed by your discipline! In this corner of the world, distraction is looming. Happy writing!

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