It’s action packed. I am tired already, but so is everyone else. So much talking. It’s like a night at a disco. I am hoarse in the mornings as I wait for the coffee urns to be declared open. (I’m still an early riser, despite a three-hour time change in the wrong direction.)
I am finding many connections to people I know, but not necessarily people who are in my wheelhouse. Their tastes are quite different; their ambitions are quite different. The connections are not to the writers I feel closest to; they are more the opposite. It’s that same thing I have encountered at other literary conferences and events. I pretend to enjoy myself—love you, love your work—but they really are enjoying it. I remember the shock I felt when I first realized that. Well, at least I’ve learned that much. I vow to not be snarky and instead respect that the audience for the work of the high fallutin’ is huge. There are a lot of people here. I can find my people, because they are most assuredly here somewhere. Live and let live.
Lots of references to books and authors, virtually none of whom I’ve read. Pretty academic. Like, extremely. Lots of teachers. But, I remind myself, I am technically a teacher, too (if only part-time), and technically a teacher means I am a teacher. The nonfiction side seems fascinating. (I kind of wish I’d gone that way, but only kind of.) It’s fun to see the faces of the people behind the pages in my group. I wonder what they make of me: I puled a switcheroo, submitting straightforwardly literary pages to get in, but the opening of a SciFi manuscript (a novel, Red Dot) to workshop. Nobody is radically different from what I imagined. I appear to be the only LGBT person among the 14. The streak remains unbroken. My big goal at this conference is not to land an agent, or secure a famous author blurb, or to learn why British people love comma splices. It is to score a slot in the LGBT reading. Whether I will read from Red Dot or a non-fiction piece I brought remains undecided.
The campus itself is gorgeously rustic—picture barns in fields, where the fields are lush and the barns painted yellow (goldenrod? golden something). Everything is well organized. My roommate last night warned me of his sleep disorder—he sometimes wakes in the night in panic talking about an emergency—and said if I told him everything is OK, he will be fine in about a minute. I let him know that at LitCamp, I (apparently) was screaming in my sleep, so my concerned roommate there woke me up. That gave my new roommate a chuckle and he slept like a baby.
Vermont is hot! But cool at night. Not sleeping terrific, but my standards are low so let’s say I am not bothered. Unless my roommate tells otherwise…writers conference can provoke bouts of screaming. For now, honest-to-god crickets are chirping.