Friday, July 18, 2008

PNWA conference

Hello from Seattle! I'm here for the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association summer conference, and I'm busy beyond belief. I registered for this conference because my essay was chosen as a finalist in the Adult Short Topic--Essay divison and a quick look at the presentations and benefits of attending convinced me to fly to Seattle. In preparing for this event and now living it, the contest has faded to the background and I'm looking forward to meeting an editor and an agent: both seem like good matches for my work. The presentations are also very interesting--enough so that I'm not tempted to play hookie to go see more of Seattle or take a nap. (There's a three-hour time difference that I'm coping with reasonably well.)

Books are the thing here. Hardly anyone is talking about articles. Romance, Fantasy, and Thriller writers are everywhere and I haven't met any Travel Essayists yet. Just about everyone is interested in trading book ideas, and this is good practice for stating our ideas concisely. Mine, of course, changes everytime I say it, but it is basically an essay about Cape May, NJ, through the months and seasons narrated by me, one of the last baby boomers to enter middle age. Everyone who visits Cape May knows that it has a rich Victorian heritage, but most don't know about all the other historical, cultural, and natural histories that go along with the region. People I talk to who are familiar with Cape May are always surprised when I tell them that the area was first settled by whalers in the 1600s, it was a prime target during WWII because of its proximity to major ports up the Delaware River, and that it hosts the World Series of Birding. So that's my quick description and it seems to interest most people I talk to. Whether it interests the agent I meet tomorrow remains to be seen. That's the Cape May Point Lighthouse above, by the way. (I don't have any pictures of Seattle!)

The article writing doesn't stop while I'm in Seattle. I just submitted revisions to my cranberry article for Edible Jersey late last night, and my World War II at the Twin Capes and Holidays at the Twin Capes articles were submitted to Twin Capes Traveller (the ferry magazine) hours before I left New Jersey. I'm not doing much actual writing while in Seattle, but I'm gathering steam for when I return home.

It's almost 6am and I've been up for an hour already. I should take a nap since I have to be coherent and charming until 10:30 tonight. I'm dealing with the time difference reasonably well.

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