It’s been about a week since I attended BizarroCon, and I guess in some ways I am still “recovering”.
No, not from the beer and liquor that were more than abundant at the Edgefield…well, maybe a little from that. But the experience itself was remarkable.
Oregon, at least the 74 acres of it that I saw over the weekend, is lovely. Even when it’s drizzling and misting. And ruining my hair. Everything was just so damn lush and green and all the fall leaves were damp and vibrant. My Arizonan brain almost couldn’t handle it. I wanted to take photos of many of the trees and the way that the gauzy-gray sunlight shown through the branches and autumn leaves, only to realize it wouldn’t come out the same way I saw it right then. So I just stood back absorbed that moment with my hot toddy.
Thursday afternoon Brooke and I arrived at the airport much too early. We were left with little other choice….drink.
Which was greatly needed as I tend to get a little over anxious and probably needed some smooth tomato-y vodka to calm my nerves.
And to keep Brooke from strangling me.
As a matter of fact let’s have a round of applause for her. What a fucking trooper. Aside from my own random anxious outbursts, she took her vacation time to come to BizarroCon and support me and wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately the bizarros loved her and she liked them too. And it’s hard not to enjoy being around some great people in a great setting where there is always an opportunity to have an adult beverage in hand.
These people don’t fuck around. We dropped off our luggage and went immediately to the bar for happy hour drinks and burgers. Everyone sat around drinking and getting acquainted and discussing the workshops that were to take place the next morning.
After hours of consumption, I elected to turn in, only to be called a wuss by many people. I was then informed by Jeff Burk that the first rule of BizarroCon is that you don’t get to complain about sleep deprivation and that it is part of the experience. Fair enough.
However, i get wicked hang overs. i am a puker. Vomitron 5000. Which I explained to Jeff, who gave me permission to leave the table and go vomit during his workshop if necessary.
How can you argue with such flexibility? You don’t. You just keep drinking.
The next morning’s workshops were fantastic!
I did not throw up until the second one.
Over a breakfast that took just a bit too long to receive, we went around the table discussing each person’s work and what we thought needed work and which parts were just peachy. I haven’t had a writing group since high school. I didn’t realize how helpful constructive criticism is or how much i had missed that sort of gathering of minds and ideas. Some people do not react well to strangers critiquing their work, but I happen to thrive on it. How else am I supposed to know what works and whether or not someone is just blowing smoke up my ass?
So to everyone in that days workshop with me, thanks! You guys were a pleasure to work with.
I was pleased to find that my piece was selected to move on to the second workshop in which all of my skeletal ideas could be fleshed out. And with the amazing method of an amazing person, John Skipp, it wasn’t too hard to find the progression of my story.
Not that i did it alone. Kevin Shamel had a lot of great ideas as to where my story could go, and together I think we found a great direction for it to take.
After countless (I suppose I could count them…but I wont) readings, panels, drinks, lunches, and random discussions, I came away from the Edgefield over flowing with inspiration and drive to really commit to doing what it is that I love to do.
I have always written, even just ranting and nonsense sort of like now. But after meeting with these people and seeing how easily I could transition into really doing something with my words and ideas it sort of solidified the idea that has lingered in the back of my mind for years. This is what i want to do.I just have to work for it. Which I am more than willing to do.
I seem to have had the misconception that everyone is supposed to have figured out what it is they are supposed to do with their lives by the time they are my age. This isn’t true at all. And I consider myself lucky to have realized this now.
Wouldn’t it be great if I had taken notes the way I had planned to do? I could impart all the words of genius I over heard or sat in on during panels. But I didn’t. I sent myself a text at some point during a panel that said: “Make sure every word had to drink the blood of a weaker word to stay in that arena.” Which I believe was stated by Mr. Cody Goodfellow who writes and says amazing things often. Buy his books.
I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. Thank you for being so open, accepting, insightful, and willing to coach me through my work. I can’t wait until next year.
And until then I have much work to do, and look forward to every possible second of it.