Author Topic: My 'Found' Notes made while I was at a Writer's Conference Warning W/C 3,541  (Read 3231 times)

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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As some you may know my laptop recently gave up the ghost, at least it seems so right now.

I have become so accustom to having it in the living room for a number of different reason, that I've been feeling lost without it despite the fact I have a perfectly good desktop computer. The thing is, the desktop is in a room far from the living room. That means if someone comes to the door it takes me longer to get there - if I even hear them that is.

Anyway, after of few days of being without the laptop, I remembered I still had my old, very old laptop. It's so old it still runs Windows 95. It had a plastic case, still has most of it actually, but the screen's hinges are broke. When I opened it today, a few more pieces of plastic broke and fell off.

But it turn on and runs!  Actually, that surprised me. What surprised me even more was a sort of day by day blow while I was at a writer's conference in Mendocino, CA.

I've cleaned it up some, corrected misspelled words and hide a couple of name so as not to endanger the innocent (me), but other than that, here it is . . .


            Mendocino Writerís Conference


6/11/98


   Yesterday I had the great good luck to meet three more of my on line friends.

   The day started out rather haphazardly.  After staying up until 3:00 am doing rewrites, I had to get up, finish packing and tote everything downstairs.  After I had taken time for less than a full cup of coffee, not nearly enough to percolate on, and ran to Kinkoís to have the latest rewrite printed out in legible form.  At least I hope itís legible.  So far I havenít had the time or nerve to read over it one last time.  I hope Iím not kidding myself . . . but the time that will tell is fast approaching.

   By the time I returned to Joanís, Kathy (Kagey), was there and they had already loaded all of Joanís & my luggage and whatever into Kathyís Explorer.  

   With Kathy driving and Joan giving directions, there was nothing for me to do but enjoy the ride and the beautiful scenery.  What wonderful scenery it was . . . the word beautiful doesn't do it justice.  I donít remember ever seeing such a wide variety of flowers, all blooming at the same time.  Along the sides of the roads there were red, yellows, oranges, blues, and all the shades in between, flooding the senses.  Even Joan and Kathy who have each lived in CA. for a number of years, said they didnít remember seeing such a profusion of wild flowers in bloom at this time of year before.  

   Joan had planned our road trip to take us along state highways, therefore giving me the chance to see more of the state of which they are so proud.  It didnít take long to see the source of their pride.  There were almost always mountains within view, also rolling hill, some allowed to remain as nature designed them, some cleared and planted as vineyards. We crossed rivers and streams, passed through picturesque small town and villages.  Between Joan and Kathy, many sights of interest were pointed out to me, including but not limited to Jack Londonís house and the vineyards of the Smothers Brothers. I lost count of the number of vineyards we pass during the drive. But I am sure if we had stopped at each one with a sign proclaiming ďWine TastingĒ, we would never have made it to Mendocino, at least not in one day.

   The last several miles into Mendocino were of the extremely twisty, turny persuasion.  The countryside was no less spectacular; it was just closer on one side and farther away on the other.  Farther away often meaning straight down, with me gazing out over the tops of what I soon learned to be extremely tall trees.  

Kathy was even kind enough to turn the car around on this very narrow road did I mention that the road was just wide enough for two cars, with no shoulder no either side?, a couple of times when Joan thought she had spotted an old barn she wanted to take pictures of.  The first time she was mistaken in she had seen, it turned out to be a large rock.  The second time met with more success.  We were rewarded with an old barn; trees hovering closely over it as if to protection from the further ravages of weather and age.  The condition of the wooden sides and the roof showed it had spent more than its share of time storing grains, feed and probably livestock.  But the fact that the weeds and other growth had been cut from the front of the barn, allowing access, I gathered it was still in service, however temporary.

   About thirty more minutes of twisting and turning along the narrow road eventually brought us into the town of Noyo, in the county of Mendocino.  This is where we will visit the College of the Redwoods tomorrow a few hours from now, and begin our writerís conference for real.

   Upon arriving in Noyo, Kathy checked herself and Joan into their room.  Sherri, who I was to share a room with, hadnít arrived yet, so I went along and helped J & K unload and carry their things up to their room.  After checking again to see if Sherri had arrived, I decided to go ahead and check in.  But before going to my room, Kathy and I knew we needed to go to Safeway for a few supplies.  The few supplies took up most of the room vacated by K & Jís luggage. Itís a good thing we unloaded their luggage before go to the store.

   I barely had time to get to my room and begin unpacking and stowing things away when Joan called.  ďHave you logged on to AOL yet?  We need to send e mail letting everyone know where we are.Ē

   Everyone, meaning the writerís board we were all members of and where we had got to know each other. Joan was the only one I had previously met in person. She also kindly invited me to stay at her home both before and after the conference.

   At that point I hadnít even unzipped the laptop case, let alone set it up and attempted to find a local access number.  But other thing could wait, AOL was crying out for our attention.

   Hopefully someone at the college will be able to supply me with the information needed to find the least expensive way for logging onto AOL from here, because by the time I was about ready to give up the attempt to find a local access number for AOL, Sherri came through the door.

   Sherri is a beautiful young lady.  Her auburn hair borders closely on red in sunlight, hair was the first feature I noticed, followed closely by her ready smile and the ability to talk a blue streak.  (This young lady is much like the Energizer Bunny. She just keeps going, and going, and going. Itís easy to see why she has been successful in car sales.  Sheís got the gift gab.

   A few minutes later there is a new voice at the open door I was still deep in the innards of AOL trying for a local access number, and the voice was saying, ďIíve got to meet The Yellow Rose of Texas.Ē  Enters Marcela.  Vibrant, radiant face glowing with the excitement of the day, surely itís the day and excitement of things to come, not the prospect of meeting the Yellow Rose.  Dark brown hair framing a face containing dancing brown eyes and a smile that filled the room with sunshine, the sunshine needed to help roses bloom.  

   After the scurry and flurry of Sherri getting all her things into the room, everyone decided ready or not, the three of us took off to J & Kís room where we were to meet before go to the Melodrama.  On the way we checked Celesteís room, but she had gone on ahead.

   Arriving at J & Kís room we found the door open in welcome and the two of them plus Celeste, sitting on the balcony, talking, sipping and nibbling.  

   Celeste, how to describe her?  The nearest I can come is to say she is a study in contrast.  What you see is not necessarily what you get.  She first appeared to me to be a rather quite young woman, slightly on the shy side.  

        Donít believe it.  I quickly decided she wears this as disguise allowing her to sneak in little unexpected zingers from time to time.   Now donít get me wrong.  Her zingers are not the kind that takes aim with the intention to cause harm.  On the contrary, with a face as sweet and pure as you might expect on an angle, itís the funny, right on target lines you somehow donít expect to hear passing her lips.  This seemingly quite lady has a keen sense of humor and she knows how to use it well.

After we indulged in a little more sipping and nibbling of our own, the six of us still managed to fit in Kathyís Explorer for the trip to the Melodrama.

The Melodrama will have to be described later.  Itís much too early in the am, and Iím way too tired to continue just now.



Day Two
June 12, 1998
Continued from last night

First, the Melodrama.  We had two tables reserved the second row back, tables about twice the size of a silver dollar, with four chairs arranged more or less in their vicinity.  Deb & Sita did not make it to the Melodrama so we had two empty chairs.  

Before the play started, the gentleman that was introducing the play also took the time to find out where some of the people were from.  Of course I called out Texas when the opportunity presented itself.  Somehow I think they might have guessed anyway since I was wearing a western hat.

The Melodrama itself was a great success.  It was the slightly hokey experience that Joan had described to us earlier.  The actors hammed it up purposely, leaving time and space for feed back from the audience.  Everything, including the acting and costuming was over blown and thoroughly enjoyable.  

After the play the actors lined up at the exit to meet and say good-bye to all present.  The only one not in line to shake hands was the piano player who was still tickling the ivories as people left, so I went up and met him first, letting him know how I had enjoyed his enthusiastic renditions and his talent at the ivories.  He told me he had considered working a Texas tune in, but was afraid it would throw the actors off and cause them to forget their lines. Which they did at one point anyway.

As I went down the line shaking hands with the actors, a couple of them committed on my hat and one tried to talk me out of itÖno go.

We all felt as if we were about to starve to death by the time the play was over, so the search for an eatery that was actually open commenced.  Since we were in a very small town and it was a few minutes past 10:00 p.m., this turned out to be quite a challenge.  

We spotted what looked like a nice restaurant, but the near empty parking lot make us wonder if it was open. Kathy drove through the lot and I saw a man coming out of the rear door. Kathy stopped and I called out ďAre yaíll open?Ē  ďClosed,Ē he yelled back. When I rolled my window back up, all the ladies burst out laughing. Thinking I had missed a joke while my attention was diverted, I ask what the joke was.

They laughed even harder. Finally Kathy asked me to repeat what I said to the man, which I did in all innocence. Doing so brought on more laughs, but I think they had about worn themselves out by that time.

Finally Kathy managed to tell me it was my ďYaíllĒ that started it all. But, some of them decided it sounded so friendly, that they were going to start using it.

Lucky for us, even though Noyo is a small town, it has a Dennyís so that is where we ended up since it seemed to be the only place in town with the kitchen still in operation at such an advanced hour of the night for a small town.

After much eating and even more talking we headed back to the motel and to the Hospitality room that Joan and Kathy had been nice enough to provide for the bunch of us.  They had taken a suite, which included extra space and a fridge.  Both of which came in handy when we all wanted to get together for a chat, snacks, or maybe a drink or two.

First thing Thursday morning, well, first thing after showering and getting dressed, Sherri and I headed for J&Kís room where I was privileged to meet Sita and Deborah, both beautiful, warm hearted ladies.  

Sitaís white hair threw me for a moment, because talking to her online I had taken her to be much too young to have gray hair. But it didnít take long for me to realize she was indeed the vibrant, energetic lady I had come to know on the board, full of wit and humor, each dispensed with gleeful abandon.  If youíre not careful, Sitaís size can fool you, she come in a very small, compact package, but you know the old saying about the best things coming in small packages donít you?  Well, it sure holds true in her case.

Deborah has the face of an angle and the disposition to match.  She stands somewhere in the vicinity of 5í 6Ē, medium light brown hair, framing a lovely face with sparkling eyes and a slightly timid smile, but when that smile lets loose, hold on to your hats, because it has the power to knock them off.

Thursday morning, first day of classes, meetings, sessions, or whatever you wish to call them.  I had not signed up for an intensive, so I was afforded the luxury of sleeping in, which I found impossible due to the high degree of anticipation in the air.  Instead, I donned shorts and tennies and set off down the sloping bluff behind the motel, thus to a path along the waterfront.  

The walk proved to be enjoyable and educational.  I checked out  fishing boats, gear stowed on the docks and the varied and sundry plants, mostly flowers growing in profusion along the way. There was also interesting looking shop along the route, most seem to deal with supplies for the boats.  The real exercise part of the walk began when I started the return leg of the trip.  Believe me, around there up hill really means Up Hill!

In the afternoon I went on over to the college even though they were still doing the intensive, in the hope finding someone who could help in the efforts to connect with AOL and thus, connecting to the remainder of our cyber-family.  Although they did try, it was to no avail.

My afternoon at the college was still put to good use, I walked around, located the rooms I would be in the next couple of days, met many nice people and learned a little more about what to expect from the conference.  For one thing, I now know that the next time intensives are offered I will sign up.  Everyone who took the intensives seems to have felt they were well worth the time and effort.

Later in the afternoon, we all went to the Jughandle Farm for the official meet and greet.  Everyone that had not been in an intensive was given their folder containing all the needed info. and name badges.  They provided a large amount of hors-dí-oeuvres and a variety of drinks, both wine and soft drinks.  It didnít take long for others to start identifying the various members of our group. I guess the Fruit Bat Shirts helped, even though not everyone had one. As usual, I was the odd one; I had pressed my transfer on the shirt upside down. So my fruit bat was standing on a limb while everyone elseís was being proper fruit bats and hanging from the limbs.
  
When we entered the old, colonial style house at the farm, we finally found Eric.  Some of us had been a little worried about him because he had originally though he would arrive in the wee hours of the morning.  Due to a delay in starting the journey and it taking longer than he expected, he arrived in the afternoon, tired and sleepy, but made it there all the same.

The only picture I had seen of Eric before was complete with mustache and beard.  The Eric we were greeted by was clean shaven. I felt the need to check his name card before giving him a big hug.  After all, I do have to watch my reputation.

Other than the lack of hair on his face, Eric was much as I had expected, only more so.  Outgoing, very much the poet in his use of words and turning of a phrase.  And oh what a flirt.  I donít think any of the nine ladies felt left out in the sharing of Ericís attention.  The only thing I worry about is that we may have inflated his ego to such a degree that he will begin to live up to his title . . . Eric The Impossible.   Naw, he has his share of good common sense and I suspect he knows how and when to use it.

A little bit later in the afternoon, Anita arrived; our group was then complete.  

Anita, how best to describe such a bundle of energy.  Her personality sends sparks flying in all direction, lighting up the faces of all who are near.  Blond hair, blue eyes are only details tell of what you can see.  Physical details donít even begin to show the beauty of her soul which shines forth and is felt in her caring for the feelings of others and her sense of fun and adventure.  With a screen name such as M*H****, you quickly come to realize it was chosen for the contrast to her reality.  And in this case, it is a total contrast.

 At the farm, after plenty of time for mingling and talking, there was a meeting in what once must have been the parlor.  Chairs were provided for seating as many as possible but it was still necessary for quite a few of the attendees to stand around the edges of the room, they even spilling over in and just outside the entry way.  Suzanne, the organizer of the conference, introduced the many fine people that had a hand in putting everything together and our presenters that would be handling the sessions.  Diane **** did some readings from her book of poetry and one from her husband's.  I felt her poetry was probably good, but it was hard for me to form a real opinion due to her manor of reading, almost a monotone, but with only three tones that she alternated back and forth, line by line.  Due to the lack of sleep the two previous nights and the repetitive tone of her voice, I found it very hard to keep my attention focused and my eyes open.

That evening we all went to The Warf for dinner.  Itís a nice restaurant, good food, and a very understanding and patient staff.  Our waitress was not only able to keep our orders more or less straight; she was kind enough to take pictures with our many cameras, the full conference going contingent of Fruit Bats gathered behind the table. Almost all of us had our cameras along.

After the meal and all our gabbing, we adjourned our togetherness to J& Kís room once more.  Each night I found it hard to actually say Good Night to the rest of the bats and tootle off to bed.  It was clear we had established a routine. Each night we gathered to hash over the happenings of the day, sharing things each had learned and commenting on this, that and the other, as well as new people we had met.

Finally around midnight I made it back to the room Sherri and I shared, but not to sleep.  Sherri must have batteries installed somewhere because it seems she never runs down.  We talked about everything.  



Day Three
June 13, 1998



Today, Oct. 6, 2013

I donít know what happened that I didnít make any notes on this day. Perhaps we became so busy with everything going on that I told myself I would get it down later.

Obviously, later never came.




Left click to enlarge.






  
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 08:04:18 PM by Alice, a Country Gal »
MWC Charity Publications.
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The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

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I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

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I enjoyed this read. Loved the tone and easy style, the characters depicted - never-run-out-girl and flirto-matic-poet. :)

tks

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Thanks Paley, glad you enjoyed.

I almost didn't put this on the board due to all the descriptions of various people mentioned. But it was originally written to share with members of a writer board I was a member of ages ago. Several of the members who didn't attend had ask for us to tell a little about each other as well as about the conference. Thus the descriptions which would have been a big No-No had this been written for any other reason.

 8)
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline bri h

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I enjoyed reading this Alice. I don't know the guys name but he played 'Brooks' in the Shawshank Redemption. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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I enjoyed reading this Alice. I don't know the guys name but he played 'Brooks' in the Shawshank Redemption. B

You're right Brian. James Whitmore.

He was a pleasure to meet and visit with and he fit right in with our bunch of nutty writers.  ;)
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline bri h

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I've seen him in other films and tv stuff. Was he nice in person as he seems on screen?
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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I've seen him in other films and tv stuff. Was he nice in person as he seems on screen?

Nicer.  ;)
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline bri h

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Well I'm glad then. 'They're' always better when they're nice off screen as well as on, IMO.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx