Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference

     Since Friday, I've been immersed in the world of nonfiction writing in Grapevine, Texas at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. And this is a mighty good thing. It's not that I think that nonfiction is better than fiction (the same rules of good storytelling apply to both) it's just that I find it fascinating to be around hundreds of people who love to use what's already there to create a story. As one speaker said and I can't ethically quote her according to Roy Peter Clark's talk about truth (I didn't write it down or record it) but it said basically that it would be much easier to write fiction.  Honestly, I can't write fiction.  I've tried, but I think if we dig deep enough, we can find sparkly vampires or Hannibal Lecter in our own back yard or maybe even in our family tree.

     My attendance at the conference was made possible by the wonderful DFW Writer's Workshop in Euless.  Most of my fellow comrades at DFWW write fiction.  Being around them on a weekly basis and listening to their tales of ghosts and magic and dystopian worlds has made me a better writer.  I am eternally grateful for their feedback and their encouragement.

     Okay, enough mushiness, let's go back to the conference...So, I entered an essay into the Mayborn writing competition. The particular essay that I entered was on the verge of being banished to the bowels of my pc after several rejections and close calls at publication.  I thought I'd give it one last chance and enter it into the Mayborn.  If anything, it might get me selected to be a workshop participant.  And it was.

     The ten people in my workshop group were awesome.  They were generous and thoughtful with their critiques and they made me realize what was missing from this story.  Me.  Well, a bit of my history that I had never considered as necessary.  But now that they've pointed it out, I had a Eureka moment.  That's IT!!!  I had the secret ingredient of the secret ingredient soup.

     So, it was a great surprise on Saturday night that I was selected as one of the winners.  Okay, I was a "Runner Up."  I didn't receive one of the cash prizes, but my story will be published in next year's Ten Spurs. By next year, I plan to pay my own way to the conference.  I will either have a book deal in place or I will seriously pursue my dream of teaching writing in a correctional setting.  You may think that is a silly dream, but I've learned that the greatest thing we can do with these 80 odd years we think we've been given is to give other people hope.

     Hope.  I got a heaping helping of it this weekend.  Thanks to everyone who made it possible.  I will pay it forward.

     Peace out.

11 comments:

  1. Congratulations! That's awesome! And to think I knew you when you were just a struggling writer like the rest of us.... :)

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  2. I'm still a struggling writer and I suspect I will always be one. But, I'm a writer and that's the most important thing. Hey, if anyone should be a Superhero, it should be you.

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  3. Big yippee for you! That is such a wonderful accomplished.

    You go girl!

    And I have to say, the fact you want to go and spread all your writing awesomeness in a correctional setting somehow doesn't surprise me one bit.

    You're a kind and generous woman. Whomever you teach will be lucky to have you.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. Now I have to figure out how exactly to do this.

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  4. Congrats, Pamela!!!

    I write both fiction and nonfiction, and I happen to find nonfiction easier because, as you said, you use what's already there to create the story. :)

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  5. Oh, congratulations, Pamela. You deserve it. I'm so glad you didn't give up on that essay...

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  6. Congratulations, Pamela! Thank you for paying it forward.....

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    1. You're welcome. Matt was kind of my first student.

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  7. Good for you, Pamela! And I am not surprised, given the caliber of writing I've read from you thus far.

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