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    Tuesday
    Jun072011

    A weekend in Bear River

    Just emerged into the Real World after a five-day immersion in the Bear River Writer's Conference, in Northern Michigan near the property where Hemingway spent his teenage years. It was, as it was last year, a phenomenal experience. Inspiring, encouraging, supportive, educational... I worked for three days with a group of extraordinarily talented writers, going over new work and offering each other thoughts on how it could be strengthened, as well as where it really sang. But the best part, for someone like me who spends so much of my writing year in isolation, plugging along with little or no contact with other writers, was simply to be surrounded by people who know exactly what I'm talking about when I say I'm struggling with a structural problem, or find my dialogue clunky - and can offer useful suggestions about how to move ahead. 

    My prized memory that I will take away from the workshop is a comment that I got from one of the other participants, who, after reading the beginning chapter of Amaline (which is full of orphan children and refers to a considerable amount of suffering), said:  "I really loved it - so much that I overcame my biology and kept on reading."

    This, folks, is someone I want to hire to blurb my book when it's finished. I'm still shooting for something more along the lines of "I came, I wept, I peed my pants," but I'll take it. I'll definitely take it.

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