Pics from 2013 Chuckanut Writers Conference
Dear Writers: I was delighted to be back at the Chuckanut Writers Conference this year!
As you well know, there’s something special and unique about each writing conference and this one, co-hosted by Village Books and Whatcom Community College delivers its own mix of brilliant faculty, pitching opportunities, and plenty of chances for writers to mingle, including participating in evening open mics on day two of the conference.
Each of the three years of the conference, my role has been different: I was the Emcee the first time out, attended as a Faculty Member last year (read about my talk on storyboarding), and this year was invited back as a Special Guest Presenter to give a morning briefing on how to pitch (you can read the text of my talk in the post Pitching 101). It was truly heartwarming to have writers run up to me throughout both days to report that they’d “done what I said” and had a successful pitching experience. I felt like a proud mama!
While I’ve loved my involvement each year, I have to say that this year was great fun in that I got to actually attend a lot of faculty presentations, which were awesome! Those of you who emcee know that means you spend a lot of time backstage and often cannot hear the speakers, and if you show up to teach, well, then you have to have your act together and work hard to deliver a good class. This year my “job” was over by 9:45 a.m. the first day, so I happily cruised into everyone else’s sessions without that “do I have all my notes and slides in order?” feeling.
This year I enjoyed several standout moments, just of few of which included Garth Stein‘s inspiring opening speech reminding us to aim high, Alice Acheson‘s info-packed presentation on marketing positioning key to any writer’s life, Jeff Bender‘s screamingly funny spin on the Odyssey at the faculty reading, Naseem Rahka‘s moving speech about the Grand Canyon that brought many people to tears, getting some advice on how to position my memoir project Mean Pieces from faculty member, poet and WWU professor Bruce Beasley, a chance to visit with Publisher Gary Luke of Sasquatch Books about my Little Novelist project, seeing so many of my friends and past students (truly, one and the same) at the conference, and reconnecting at the evening faculty reception with conference buddy and talented agent Elizabeth Kracht, in what we have laughingly dubbed our annual “womance.”
A particularly hilarious moment was watching conference chairperson Anna Wolff take a desperate and yet successful flying leap to keep the theater doors from loudly slamming shut during Naseem’s plenary session. Way to go, Anna!
The Chuckanut Writers Conference will be back in June of next year. Hope to see you there!
• Read more from me at Dogpatch Writers Collective, including the latest group critique of Jilanne Hoffman’s story “The Hippocratic Oath,” and don’t miss Hellos from the Hague, a great guest post from Cecile’s Writers, an awesome group of writers and editors those of us at Dogpatch met in the blogosphere.
• My new class, the Little Novelist Workshop, is happening on Saturday, November 2, at WCC Community Education campus in Bellingham. I’m so excited for this class that is designed for a parent/caretaker and girl—age 12 through teens who loves to write. Parents will gain techniques for interacting with their child’s creative writing activity and participate in guided discussions with fellow parents and caretakers. Girls will have fun writing to prompts, gathering in a writing circle of their peers, and reading work aloud. The cost is $59, and registration will begin August 9. Go to http://www.whatcomcommunityed.com or call 360-383-3200 for all class details or to register.
• Join me at the next Open Mic at Village Books on Monday, July 29, 7 p.m., where our optional theme will be Patriots and Politics! Come to hear some great poems and stories, and if you’d like to read, please call Village Books (360-671-2626) ahead of time to sign up to read, as the roster is usually packed! Happy writing, XO Laurel Leigh