When it rains here, it doesn’t mess around.
Our day started with breakfast at the Clover Grill, where we watched a rain that made Saturday’s deluge look like a gentle trickle. It didn’t let up until the drains were overwhelmed and the streets flooded. But the clouds broke, the sun poked through and the water subsided. The last day of Saints and Sinners had started.
And what a choice of panels and readings: from “Meet the Press,” a panel about publishing with small presses to specific panels about craft like “Writing Intimacy, from Sex to Family Dynamics” to a “Dramatic Writing Roundtable.” But we opted for more of the reading series, listening to such terrific writers as Rob Byrnes, Greg Herren, Anne Laughlin, J.M. Redmann and Joe Formichella.
Then we had to lunch to gather strength for our own panel: “Erotica 101: Stripping Away the Fluff and Getting Down to Basics,” featuring me, my Out in Print cohort Bill Holden, Dale Chase and Gavin Atlas. Our original moderator, Steve Berman, had to return home early, but Jeff Mann stepped in to ask us the hard questions. We had a wonderful time answering, even if none of the mikes worked. The audience was small but the grilling was intense, and everyone came away learning something. Even us.
And then, sadly, it was time for the closing party. Awards were given, drinks were poured and goodbyes were said. The latter is the toughest by far. Facebook, texting, phone calls – no technological advance beats seeing your friends in person and basking in each others’ auras. We all look forward to next year before we’re even getting on the plane to leave.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some final thoughts on the conference, community and the privilege of being a writer.