This year’s Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference begins with the Gypsy poetry slam tomorrow night. Workshops follow on the weekend.
At last year’s conference, we at KaBooM had just launched our book, When the Bough Breaks. We led a panel discussion that was well attended, well received, and really fired us up for a season of selling the book and making ourselves available to other writers. It was a wonderful, busy, exhilarating time, a very “put yourself out there” time.
Just prior to the conference, this week I’ve been re-discovering singer-songwriter Emily Haines, whose musical work spans many groups and moods. For example, she’s appeared with the Canadian band Metric on David Letterman, and has a solo album of her own called “Knives Don’t Have Your Back.” I’ve been enjoying her pure voice accompanied often only by her piano playing. And then there’s a Youtube video that captures her reflections on how much she needed a writing retreat in Buenos Aires.
The tone of that video is completely affirming. And I’m remembering a line from an interview she gave in 2007. When asked about role models, she said: “everybody needs people to inspire them. The most valuable make you want to be more yourself, not more like them.”
So at this year’s KWWC, I’m in a very different place, and am looking for …. well… I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for. But since that’s the great thing about a conference, my plan is to be open to the deep, warm-hearted, generous, creative people who make themselves available to complete writing strangers, for just this eye blink of time that a two-day conference represents. In my imagination, I’m polishing a tuning fork when I write these words, thinking of the satisfying hummmmm that reverberates when a tone is adjusted and reaches that instant it’s in tune.
The two notes echo back and forth off each other and vibrate out into the wider air, moving out of the essential “tuning” period and out into the larger world.