AG: Delaware Days
I'm just back from Delaware where I spent the better part of the week talking to budding writers and as usual, I enjoyed every moment of it. (Well, everything except the air travel. Out of the five legs of the trip three were delayed, a connecting flight missed, and my blood pressure tested. I have a new tagline for the carrier: “We’ll get you to your destination…someday.”)
The Delaware Christian Writer’s Conference went well, expertly handled by John Riddle. The seminar is one of the newest and brightest stars in the thickly populated writer’s-conference constellation and I’m hoping for a return invite. The people who put on such conferences don’t receive enough credit. The amount of work and risk is great and most of it happens behind the scenes.
The thing about an author teaching at such a conference is the irony. On the one hand, folk like me love to hang with writers. Writers understand each other. They see the odd character traits and overlook them, mostly because they have the same quirks. Yet on the other hand, the writer-teacher is raising up his/her own competition. Usually, I’m teaching in the fiction track and I stand before people who are going to pitch ideas, prepare proposals, pen novels that will compete with mine and may even cost me a contract.
I don’t care.
From a business point of view, training your competition makes little sense, but writing for the Kingdom is different. It’s not just business. Not in the long run. My “competition” is less rivalry than family, sharing the same beliefs and serving the same God. Why wouldn’t I lend a hand by lecturing, conferring and sharing?
Joy fills me when I see one of my students make it. I know the difficulty that must be overcome and the discipline it takes to sail against the odds. When I look in the faces of the conferees I see the Longing. The Longing is difficult to describe. It defies definition but every writer knows what it is, what it feels like. When I see the Longing in the students my own Longing comes back to life, filled again with a new vim and vinegar and ready to string words together again.
So the invitations to teach come and I go and when I fly home (or sit for hours in an airport waiting) I cash a check that isn’t counted in dollars, but in the renewal of a sometimes weary writer’s soul.
Alton Gansky lives and writes and flies out of California. Visit his web site at www.altongansky.com.