Curiosity: forget “Cherchez la femme” (Look for the woman.) “Cherchez l’histoire.” (Look for the story.)
It was wonderful to spend the weekend with writers on the Oregon Coast. My “writing buddy” Dian & I went to Oregon Writers Colony Founders Day at Colony House at Rockaway Beach. Fortunately Dian & her husband have a place nearby, so my husband & I stayed overnight with them.
A plaque that reads “Illegitimi non carborundum” hangs over the mantel at Colony House. It’s not real Latin, but the meaning, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” really was the theme of Sunday’s program. In the morning, two local authors, Lori Lake & Randi Platt entertained us with stories–which are funny now– of challenges they overcame to become successful published writers. In workshops after lunch, they urged us–as aspiring writers– to identify & overcome excuses for not writing and to improve our writing craft by “edit weeding” to eliminate passive verbs, overused terms, and bad diction.
About 32 members attended; there was plenty of time to talk with Lori, Randi, and many other OWC members. The hint I heard at a Willamette Writers meeting to ask “What’s your genre?” worked brilliantly. This was only my second OWC event and I had great time. I even sold another four copies of my book!
Everyone I met had wonderful stories to tell. Dnisha said that two of the agents she “pitched” at the recent WW Conference asked her to submit several chapters of her two completed novels. Rosetta & I discovered that she worked at the Southern Pacific offices at #1 Market St. in San Francisco several years after my brief tenure as receptionist in the Law Dept. She also worked in one of the SP control towers and as a dispatcher! Julie was a teacher who, since retiring has written six very successful books for beginning readers. Linda is working on a fascinating memoir of her great-grandmother–who played a key role during the Mexican Revolution–& was quite interested in services that CreateSpace has to offer. Tom drew on his career in chemistry to begin his thriller with the line, “A chemist has to wash his hands before he uses the toilet…”
I needed a little bucking up, since I’ve submitted half-a-dozen short pieces in the last few months and it’s been like dropping rocks into a lake. They’re not even skipping. A couple acknowledged receipt, otherwise it’s been simply silence. Oh, well, I’m working on another one now, for Politics & Prose, in Washington, DC.