My attendance at the conference was made possible by the wonderful DFW Writer's Workshop in Euless. Most of my fellow comrades at DFWW write fiction. Being around them on a weekly basis and listening to their tales of ghosts and magic and dystopian worlds has made me a better writer. I am eternally grateful for their feedback and their encouragement.
Okay, enough mushiness, let's go back to the conference...So, I entered an essay into the Mayborn writing competition. The particular essay that I entered was on the verge of being banished to the bowels of my pc after several rejections and close calls at publication. I thought I'd give it one last chance and enter it into the Mayborn. If anything, it might get me selected to be a workshop participant. And it was.
The ten people in my workshop group were awesome. They were generous and thoughtful with their critiques and they made me realize what was missing from this story. Me. Well, a bit of my history that I had never considered as necessary. But now that they've pointed it out, I had a Eureka moment. That's IT!!! I had the secret ingredient of the secret ingredient soup.
So, it was a great surprise on Saturday night that I was selected as one of the winners. Okay, I was a "Runner Up." I didn't receive one of the cash prizes, but my story will be published in next year's Ten Spurs. By next year, I plan to pay my own way to the conference. I will either have a book deal in place or I will seriously pursue my dream of teaching writing in a correctional setting. You may think that is a silly dream, but I've learned that the greatest thing we can do with these 80 odd years we think we've been given is to give other people hope.
Hope. I got a heaping helping of it this weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. I will pay it forward.