Conch Republic Here I Come!

Former home of Shel Silverstein
Former home of Shel Silverstein

I’m posting early this week because, after 9:00 am tomorrow morning, I’ll be mostly off the internet lifeline for eight days.  I’m headed to the Key West Literary Seminar, and can’t wait.  Not only is Key West one of my favorite places, but the conference promises to be amazing, with gifted writers like Margaret Atwood, Billy Collins, Jennifer Egan, Michael Cunningham, Colson Whitehead, Joyce Carol Oates, and so many more.

The first four days are filled with panels on all things to do with the 2012 theme, “Yet Another World.”  Then the next four days I’ll be in an advanced fiction workshop with Robert Stone.  There’ll be 11 other participants in my particular workshop, and I’m so looking forward to getting their opinions and suggestions on a story I’ve struggled with for about two years.  (yep, for those of you who don’t know, it can take years to perfect 15 – 20 pages of prose.)

I’m also looking forward to catching up with some of the great people I met when I was down there in May for my residency with The Studios of Key West.  By the way, they’re taking applications now for 2012 – 2013 residencies.  If you’re a writer or a visual artist, check it out.  It’s really magical.

I’m honored to have been chosen by KWLS as the Marianne Russo Award winner for emerging writers for 2012, and will read part of the story that won me the award at the open session on Sunday.  Not sure if the dog’s howling when I practice out loud means the story is really good or really bad. (Thank God he won’t be in the audience – I’m hoping most of the folks who are there will refrain from howling.)  I always get nervous when I read in front of a group (there’s something so naked about reading my own work) and this is a big group, so I’m thinking cocktails and xanax beforehand.

A conference is a great way to kick off the year in writing, and where better to be than in sunny Key West with so many fabulous writers?  When I post next I’ll tell you all about it.  Gotta go pack now for my trip to the Conch Republic.

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