Sunday, June 11, 2017

Writers Conference Aftermath

Moon over Cedar Lakes last night (Sat, 6/10/17)
My past weekend was dominated by the West Virginia Writers Conference, which is held right here in my county--lucky me! I went over Friday night to register and visit with friends, and came home just before midnight. It was so awesome to spend a long time talking with Lisa Minney, the publisher of Two Lane Livin' magazine which I have been writing for for the past 9 years. I haven't seen her in five years. What a treat to get to know her better. She's an amazing woman.

Saturday I was there by 9:00am, and didn't make it home until almost 3 this morning. I did come home in the evening to get Larry, because he likes these writer people too and the evening get-togethers are great fun.

So we listened to Larry Groce of Mountain Stage playing some of his songs in a concert with his wife and musician extraordinaire (and founder of the WV Music Hall of Fame) Michael Lipton, then headed over to the usual gathering place for talk, stories, poetry reading and more music, along with a little sippin'.

What a great time. It's such a pleasure to connect with so many good people that I often see only at this conference, and a talented group it is. From Joe Limer with his driving, mesmerizing performance poetry to Pete Kosky with his original, unusual, historical (listen here to his song about pioneer Simon Kenton) and sometimes just plain ornery songs to Kirk Judd's powerful poems (listen here to my favorite, My People Was Music) to Crystal Good and her friend Tuesday (never got her last name) giving us a snippet of their in-progress performance piece Redneck Valley Girls (a reclaiming of the word "redneck" for its historical origins in the mines) that includes social commentary, songs, hilarity, and so much more in a rich multilayered, deep-textured piece. I can't wait to see and hear the final product of their collaboration. Here's a video of her performing her poem Black Diamonds in Abu Dhabi.

There was Daniel and Cat and Larry and Dan and George and Cheryl and Sherrell and Suzette and the lady from Seattle who comes every year, and others whose names I cannot remember, all sharing and laughing. I had a part too, telling one of my favorite world folktales, Freedom Bird, because it dovetailed so well with a piece Joe performed, and the ballad Pretty Saro to follow up on a poem by Kirk. What. A. Blast.

We dragged in later than we have in a long time, and I sure felt it this morning! We weren't up until almost 10, and were so tired we decided to take an easy day and take a few things to our Marietta booth and pick up our check for last month's sales. Good choice, I think. (So was the decision to stop for pie and ice cream on the way home.)

I am still filled up with the magic of the conference and all the splendid works I heard. I feel humbled to be able to hang out with such talented people, that's the truth. It makes me more resolved to get myself back to writing more often than I've been doing lately--not blogging which I have no problem doing, but more poetry and stories.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Robin said...

The writer's conference sounds like a lovely time! Wondering if you may have run into a friend of mine who I saw was there too. Larry Schardt with his shock of longish gray hair, mustache, and a big smile, goes around wishing everyone "Peace, Love, and Rock and Roll!"

Granny Sue said...

Robin, yes I did! Didn't get to talk to him, but I sure saw him and exchanged hellos (in his case, Rock & Roll!).

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