This past weekend, I attended a Writer's Conference at The Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs. Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath, led the weekend. I went in an attempt to gain encouragement, perspective, inspiration and tools and skills to hone the craft of creative non-fiction for my own book project. I had high expectations coming in and my expectations were met.
Lauren is a unique and unorthodox author in her late twenties. If you haven't read Lauren's works you really should. She has an amazing conversion experience: she grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home and convered to Christianity in college. What makes her reading so fun for me is three-fold:
(1) she is a great writer
(2) she lives in the city where I grew up and writes a lot about specific places and people from my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia (This makes reading her books that much more fun when you can picture it exactly the way it is).
(3) Because of her Jewish background, she writes a lot about the Jewish roots of Christianity (which, if you know me you know that exploring our Jewish roots and understanding the Jewish context and culture of Scripture is a passion of mine).
This afternoon Lauren and I had a fabulous discussion over lunch as we talked about mutual friends from home, places in Charlottesville that have changed (or remained the same) and other fine things regarding C'ville life.
But this weekend I felt a little...(how should I say this)..."outnumbered." Of the 65 attendees at the conference, 59 of them we women (and most of them over forty). I was not only one of the youngest ones there, I was one of the few males. Let's just say that there was a lot of estrogen in the hall throughout the weekend...though I was secure in my masculinity (Well, at least I think so).
Lots to share, tons to think about and stew over and even more writing exercises to practice on my own. On Friday and Saturday afternoon we were given five hours each day to write, create, pray and write some more. I accomplished quite a bit on the manuscript, which was encouraging and beneficial.
On a slightly different note, on Thursday afternoon I was just booked to be a workshop presenter at a Creative Artists' Retreat in Buena Vista, CO later this year. Needless to say, this weekend gave me some great ideas, tips, exercises and tools to use in that workshop.
If anyone is interested in seeing the notes from the conference, post a comment with your email address and I can send you an email with a Word document attachment...