Saturday morning I got the dogs settled early and headed to Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts for the daylong Write Angles Conference. This was my second year attending this conference. Write Angles is described as a conference put on by writers for writers. I’ve been looking forward to this conference since the program of panels and workshops was announced mid-summer. When registration opened in September, I registered immediately. Room for only 150 attendees at Write Angles.
Arriving early for registration provided time to mingle with other writers – meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Write Angles provides a continental breakfast prior to the start of the Conference. I’m usually so busy talking to other people and perusing the long table of books written by authors presenting at the Conference that I don’t even get over to the food, so I can’t speak for the breakfast. I bought one book before the start of the Conference: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between. (I started reading it as soon as I got home. I think it will be a good resource for my writing.)
The morning session started with a keynote address by Maria Luisa Arroyo. Maria set the tone for the day with her captivating and rousing address. My session choices for the morning were Narrative Non-Fiction and Personal Memoir. Panelists discussed their work, providing examples of their successes and failures and much food-for-thought. By this time, I was feeling pretty pumped!
A sumptuous buffet luncheon offered a break half way through the day and more time to chat with folks met throughout the morning. The luncheon, I can say, was wonderful. The buffet offered a wide variety of choices. I was anxious to head back to the book table in the lobby during the lunch break and purchase books written by two of the panelists I had just heard. They were SOLD OUT. I think every person attending the Memoir session must have run right over and purchased Nancy Rappaport’s book In Her Wake and Alison Smith’s book Name All the Animals. There had been full stacks of both books on the table early in the morning. Darn. (I’ve now ordered them and can’t wait to read their stories.)
Ann Hood was our afternoon keynote speaker. Ann’s talk was both fascinating and riveting as she spoke about her life growing up, career paths taken, her writing career, and personal tragedy. Not another sound could be heard in the room as she delivered her address.
My last session was titled How Agents Think. I had enjoyed this panel last year and chose to repeat it again this year. Two readers read aloud from numerous first page submissions by conference attendees. The agents each responded to the piece after it was read, commenting on its merits and drawbacks. Good to know what agents are looking for.
I left the Conference as I had last year: full of ideas, encouragement, and overwhelmed by so much information. Now, I’m sifting through all the comments and ideas that were discussed and figuring out how to apply these to the book I am writing. It’s a fascinating process.