Monday, November 21, 2011
We arrived early and grabbed a great table near the entrance to the Exhibitor Area. Directly in front of us were JC Walkup and Penny Morse with a table for Fresh, their beautiful literary magazine. JC is distributing Echoes in the Waynesville, Asheville and Canton areas. She will be glad to sell a copy or two as she says storing them is a nuisance.
Joan Howard, Netwest poet from Hiawassee, GA and writer, quilter and knitter, Barb Haynes who lives in Murphy and is a Netwest member also, rode with me to Asheville. Great travel companions and good caretakers. Little did they know I’d become ill on Saturday afternoon. I missed all the fun on Saturday evening, the open mike readings and the happy hour gathering as I slept in my room.
I can never thank Joan enough for taking the early hours she logged in at the Netwest table. Bright and early Saturday and Sunday, she welcomed writers, handed out brochures and sold books. Our Netwest members came by to pick up their Netwest stickers to attach to their name tags.
Betty Reed manned the table on Friday evening while I had dinner. Barb also filled in when needed. Others who represented Netwest at the table were Mary Ricketson, Susan Anderson, Pamela Warr, Linda Smith, and Rosemary Royston, Program Coordinator. Many thanks to them from me and Netwest members for being there to help when needed. I feel sure all these writers enjoyed the conference because each time I saw them they had big smiles on their faces.
Networking with other writers is an important part of a writing conference. One lady said to me, “Do you think it would be Okay to ask Rob Neufeld to review my book?”
She saw the Asheville Citizen-Times book columnist across the hall. I told her to go for it.
Novelists and non-fiction writers came to find agents and publishers. Poets hoped to find the best place to submit a poetry book. And everyone wanted to chat about writing with other writers.
But I imagine most were looking to learn something from the accomplished faculty that would stay with them and be the spark to push their writing up a notch.
Because I was tied pretty closely to the Netwest Table when I was at the conference, I was delighted so many folks I know dropped by. One of our first visitors was Scott Owens, poet, editor, teacher, and very nice guy. I especially enjoyed meeting Netwest members who have recently joined or even some who have been members for a long time, but I’ve not encountered before. Betty Reed and Pamela Warr are two of those members I had not met, but learned more about them and their writing. Pamela Warr designed our most recent brochure and the new Netwest logo.
Bill Ramsey was promoting the phenomenal literary event, the Blue Ridge Bookfest at Blue Ridge Community College in Henderson County NC. Just a short time ago the first bookfest was a toddler, and now it is running and jumping. Bill says the college has come on board with the volunteers and can guarantee continuity of this well-attended showcase for authors. Netwest was a supporter of the first bookfest, and we have been there to help in any way we can each year. NCWN is a sponsor, too.
Scott Douglas’s Main Street Rag exhibit seemed to always have writers gathered there. I appreciated Scott coming over to chat. He has been quite successful with his small press and publishes some of the best authors in North Carolina. He told me to check out his site to see the books by other presses that he sells. Wouldn’t it be great if Echoes were listed there?
Kevin Watson from Press 53 and Keith Flynn with the Asheville Poetry Review seemed to be popular in the exhibitor’s center. People were talking about Keith’s interesting poetry presentation. His band also played Saturday night for the banquet. I didn’t hear them from my room on the third floor, but I’m sure they were entertaining.
Our own Netwest founder, Nancy Simpson, held a poetry workshop. I heard many compliments on that session. I'm sure those poets came out of that room wanting Nancy's book, Living Above the Frost Line, which has received awards and nominations for awards this past year.
The keynote speaker, Silas House, blew us all away with his talk. But I’ll write more about that in another post.
Ed Southern held a townhall meeting and updated us on the Network. As Ed said, NCWN is not the staff. NCWN is the members. To truly feel a part of this large writers’ network in our state, I think you should attend at least one Fall Conference. I always leave feeling motivated, energized and enthusiastic about my own writing.
I look forward to the next one -- Fall 2013.