Thursday, August 03, 2006

looking back at the Southampton Writers' conference

I've been meaning to post my thoughts on the recent Southampton writes' conference, but haven't had much time due to conferences, so I'll just give you a short breakdown.

Speakers I enjoyed the most: Melissa Banks (Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing) Matthew Klam (Sam the Cat and Other Stories), Megan Wolitzer (This is Your Life), David Rakoff (Fraud), Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury), and Roger Rosenblatt (Children of War).

Frank McCourt gave the intro to the conversation between Gary Trudeau and Roger Rosenblatt, which really made me laugh, and regret that I couldn't make it to his reading.

What I learned from this lecture/reading series? 'Funny' is a difficult thing to do. I have the utmost respect for people who can write well and write funny (even though that wasn't the topic of the conference).

Some of the other writers there are award-winning writers; and yet, despite considering myself a widely read person, I didn't recognize most of the writers there. Again, reinforcement of the lesson to all wannabe writers: there are easier paths to fame and fortune.

This was my first writers' conference. Will I go to this again? I'm not sure; I think it would have been more helpful had they had the workshops like they normally do (but there's a campus buy-out and moving story that I'm sure you can google around and find out about if you're really interested). It's normally a 12-day conference that they shortened to 5 days, and next year it's expected to go back to normal.

Speaking to other wannabe writers, what quality did they like most about the authors? Down-to-earthness (not even sure if that's a word).

Thing I wish I did most? I should have not been so shy and been more open and asked questions. I really wanted to introduce myself and ask Megan Wolitzer some questions, and I had my opportunity when people were standing around outside during one of the breaks chatting, but I lost it, when Matthew Klam started talking to her. I didn't want to be rude and interrupt, and I lost my chance when my cell phone rang. Stupid cell phone

I enjoyed myself though and if I have money next year, I'll probably go back for one of the workshops.


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