Saturday was a jam-packed day.
The first session I attended was Gail Straub’s called The Wedding of Fact and Imagination: The Essential Partnership in Writing Life Story. She talked about ways we can enhance and nurture our creativity like drawing our stories, using photographs and other visual tools, writing in different locations, writing uncensored, and regularly taking time for contemplative spiritual practice. She described writing as being a balance of discipline and surrender. I identify with that.
Next, I took in a session with Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler called Expanding Your Publishing Options: eBooks, PODs, Self-Publishing, Oh My! This was a treasure-trove session filled with information that is especially of interest to me these days.
At lunch time we were inspired and entertained by Susan Lincoln. At one time she had the entire group breathing and humming and creating a sound the likes of which I’ve never heard or imagined before. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m listening to Susan’s Mother Heartas I’m writing this and it’s equally as beautiful.
After lunch I attended a panel session called The Power of the Circle. This was a discussion for anyone facilitating or considering facilitation a Story Circle. I picked up some tips that I’m going to be taking to my own Story Circle. And for the last session of the day I chose to attend Moments of Being: Writing a Spiritual Memoir with Linda Joy Myers. Linda talked about turning points and scenes in writing memoir and we spent time writing and sharing our work with one another.
I had an opportunity to have an interesting conversation with Susan Albert about changes in the publishing industry and the project she’s working on about Laura Ingalls Wilder. A fascinating discussion.
I went out for dinner with another group of dynamic and fun women and then we returned to the hotel for Open Mike. This is one of the highlights of the conference for me when women read pieces they’ve brought with them. Some of the pieces made us laugh, others brought us to tears, they were all unique and touching in their own way. I read a piece called Possibilities that I had written for my writing group. I was blessed afterward by the women I talked to who related to, and were touched by, the piece.
And isn’t that really part of the power of story? We share our stories, not only for ourselves, but for others who may find some nugget to keep with them. As we take time witness the stories of another we find ourselves understanding and relating to the different paths we all walk. We find diversity; we find commonality. We find community.