This weekend, I joined the “writingest writers in the U.S.” in Wilmington, North Carolina for the North Carolina Writers Network Conference. We are dubbed the “writingest state” because so many well-known writers have brought their Carolinian stories to the rest of the world. I always enjoy conferences because I get to talk business with people at various stages of their careers and writing different types of work than I do. Writing is such a solitary profession that when one has the chance to press the flesh with others who understand exactly how frustrating it is to determine what genre your book will fall into or who will empathize when your favorite editor has decided to retire from the business or who might have wise advice when you’re unsure what kind of writer’s platform you want to build. Conferences are invaluable to the working writer, though I don’t attend as often as I used to. But who can turn down a conference on the beach?
I drove down with my friend Ron, a really astute and elegant poetry and flash fiction writer, so the conference started long before we arrived at the hotel. At many points during the weekend, he and I talked about our dogs, and because I’ve begun to shop around my book about Izzy, I talked to other writers about their dogs, as well. It dawned on me that almost 99% of the people I talked to had either a dog or a cat (or several) and that pet was an important component of their lives.
On Facebook, I’m friends with lots of writers around the world and we always share our animal stories. Amy Tan lost her little Yorkie last year and her FB group of friends all joined with her in mourning the little guy. Now she has Bobo, who has moved into her heart and shares her travels like Bombo did. Susan Wiggs, well-known romance writer, has both a little guy and a big guy (a Chihuahua named Lennie, and a Doberman named Barkis). A beautiful big white cat “owns” novelist Anne Rice. And Connie Lee Fowler just lost her precious boy, Scout, who was almost 21 years old, and she’s giving extra love to her sun worshiper, Murmur Lee.
For some great shots of writers and their dogs, check out this collection: http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/node/205235 And below, Izzy and I share time at the beach.