"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Other Activities

Okay, it's safe to come back. I am so over myself now.

My resumption of my writing life was, as ever, entirely humbling.

In connection with that, a week ago today I participated in the Writers' Day conference held on a university campus in the big city. Our splendid keynoter, Jane Yolen chose revision as her topic--one near and dear to my heart.

She presented the 3 R's (or Re's) of Revision: Re-examine, Re-order, and Re-fine.

Furthermore, she offered up a statement that truly spoke to me, because it's my guiding principle:

"All writers should be in a constant state of revision, in our work and in our lives."

In my work, the revision process is near and dear to my heart. For me, it's where the writing comes to life. It's also why I don't receive lengthy revision letters from my editors.

In my career--I go round telling people that the aspect of my job I like the most is the fact that re-invention (or as she said, revision) is always an option. For me, anyway, it's the least boring career I can think of.

As for revising my life--that happens on a regular basis as well. The events of November 7, 2006 spring immediately to mind.

In the course of the conference day, I attended 3 workshops, 2 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. First up was The Plot Thickens: How to Create and Sustain Compelling Fiction. The leader did a fine job, but the exercise was a bit frustrating. We broke into small groups to tangle with an assigned plot. Plotting by committee is very difficult.

Next up was The Art of the Interview: Digging Deeper for the Story. The presenter was a reporter from our state's NPR affiliate, and as a constant listener I'm very familiar with his work. I chose to attend this session thinking it might get me back into my journalism groove. The book I'm not yet currently writing is nonfiction and would involve interviewing. Dan has a lot of experience with highly-charged or emotional topics, which he discussed in addition to laying out the familiar basics of interviews. He led us through the development of his radio story about a very young local Marine killed in Iraq.

I also had a pleasant and informative chat with Dan when we sat at the same table during lunch break. One of those "worlds colliding" moments--he's also a political reporter, covering the State House. (Where I ran into him a couple of times during this busy legislative week.)

My last event of the day was Landscape and Character: A Great Relationship. And a great workshop! Diane Les Becquets was grounded in her approach to the topic and at the same inspirational. Again, there was a small group exercise, but this one worked fantastically well.

In the "worlds colliding" department, also participating in that session was somebody who lobbies at the State House and knew the Chap.

I didn't stay for the readings and stuff at the end of the day.

I'm having a nice, quiet Saturday morning, waiting for Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" to begin. Adam will be a panelist today. Possible spoiler: usually when he turns up, he goes away the winner. (Hope I haven't jinxed him!)

One more thing before signing off...if you don't care about Presidential politics, avert your eyes.

This morning I RSVP'd for a Breakfast with Barack Obama.

For weeks I've been awaiting an event rather more exclusive, and a venue more intimate than the usual university sports arena or high school gym. This one is for legislators only.

I'm taking my camera.

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