• Lisa

Results of the Willamette Writers Conference

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

I was aflame on the way to the Airport Sheraton, the place the Willamette Writers Conference is held each year, fully expecting successful meetings with agents and publishers. Thursday August 2nd, opening day, included a cocktail party. I had a marvelous time and met wonderful teachers, literary agents, and of course, writers.

Among them, Paige, a journalist and lovely writer; Lisa Dale Norton, teacher, editor, and writer; and literary agent Angela Rinaldi. Ross Eliot joined us fashionably late, as usual.

Paige talked about processing through writing and her background in journalism. Finding her delightful, I tried to shanghai her into writing an article with me about the Move of God. She hasn’t said “no” yet so stay tuned. Check out her blog for beautifully written commentary.

Lisa Dale Norton author of several books, including her terrific memoir Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills, is related to D.C. muckity-mucks and has made good use of the start her Whitehouse family gave her through hard work, a great education, and talent. She repeatedly told me that memoir, especially memoir about cults is dead. Ouch.

Angela Rinaldi saddled right up to me at the tall bistro table we were sharing. Since agents try to avoid writers at the conference when they are not pitching, the unexpected encounter was a thrill to me and an uncertain situation for her. She joined in our conversation about sexual harassment and the old days we all lived through while we all made sure to drop the names of our projects. Okay, for those who didn't, I put it out there. The next day, when I pitched my project, she asked me to send my work. which is a win at such an event.

The talented Mr. Eliot was as fun as ever and as popular with the ladies. This was especially amusing after hearing a man at a recent party at Ross’ house declare, “I don’t know what the women see in him, he’s not that attractive.” Ross is a fun, charming, uber-knowledgeable, well-traveled guy with too many cool interests to list, a pretty face, and striking sense of presence. Why would women want any of that? (It’s my blog and I’ll report what I want to...report what I want to..). It was fun sharing the event with him and oh, yes, he had a successful conference, too.

With so many classes; workshops; panels; events; breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, and a mimosa brunch with speakers; contests; book signings; and an on-site masseuse, my limited command of English and a ticking clock don’t allow me to tell you what really went down. The fantastic food and wonderful staff made the event a true celebration.

I must say, speakers Chelsea Cain, Charlie Jane Anders, Vivek Shraya, and David Ebershoff were especially memorable. The focus on inclusivity was an unexpected joy. The theme was in fact inclusivity and they surely made that happen.

As a fan of the wonderful movie The Danish Girl, I was thrilled to hear Ebershoff report the remarkable history of the brave woman at the heart of the film and the equally amazing way the book came to be written.

Rather than write all night about the wonderful experiences I had at the conference, oh yeah, all of the five agents and publishers I pitched to want to see my work. I’m pulling together what they want so I should get on that...now.

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