Friday, July 28, 2006

Greetings from Camp Nerdorama

Leslie, Madelyn, Daphne, Cindy, Kathy, Rachel, Stacy:

I’m home for a few minutes from the writers' workshop because I'm 5 minutes way, and we're having an hour break. In case you're wondering,I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t been discovered yet nor become rich and famous nor has my writing catapulted me to a booking on the Crystal Cathedral Hour of Power, which is the Tonight Show of ministries. Just updating you.

Some people here are scary. Someone snapped at me. (Where's Mad when I need her?) The men are friendlier than the women. Some are very friendly indeed. I don't think there's one nerd left anywhere in Muncie or in the outlying communities because they're all gathered here. And I am one; I admit it. Most people are in their fifties and sixties; therefore, I am feeling rather youthful. This must be how Stacy feels around us. Yes, you too, Rachel.

I couldn't find my room at first (like when I dream I'm back in high school or BSU and can't find my class). As I stood there perplexed, a guy in an offical but faded workshop staff t-shirt stopped in front of me, eating a muffin and drinking juice. We made eye contact, so I said, "Can you tell me where 'Matters of Opinion' is meeting?" He just finished his bite, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know. I'm not part of this."

Huh?

I wanted to say, "Did you attend 30 years ago, save the shirt until today and sneak in without paying? And now you're eating all of our snacks?" I saw this guy throughout the day, and he was always walking around eating and drinking. Maybe he was the official snack taster.

I was intimidated at first because everyone in my class was published many times over. The facilitator's questions were intricate and esoteric, but everyone else seemed to come right back at him with a three part answer and a reference to how they treated that very subject in their last published book which is being considered for a movie. He unloaded one of those tricky babies on me: "Linda, can you tell us . . . . " I'm so proud of myself--I paused, gathered my thoughts, and answered with authority,"Yes."

One panel member spent a lot of the day walking around returning pieces of writing we had turned in before the conference. I was chatting with one of those friendly males when the panel member came up to me and said, "What's your name?" and rifled through the manuscripts while I told him. He said, "Ah yes . . . Linda Crow . . . You're the poet who writes prose." (Can we all have a moment of respectful silence here for my new title: "Poet of Prose"?) I said, "Gee,OK,I guess." I looked at my new friend and shrugged my shoulders. He was impressed, too.

"Yes," said the panel guy, "You wrote that piece about the swan. It was really good." [Insert Debbie Downer "Wah-Waaah" here] I told him I had not written about a swan. He said, "Are you sure?" I told him I was fairly sure. He said, "Oh, I remember now; you wrote about that little quacking chicken."

Another "Huh?" moment.

Still trying to hold on to my new title that was quickly slipping away, my mind raced--had I turned in my chicken chronicles thing? No. I'm pretty sure my chickens never quacked. "Nope," I said. He then said, "Oh, I know now; you wrote about that little girl and that clicker." Sigh. Yes, it was the "Labels" column about Kristin and the label maker, apparently so good it was almost, nearly, somewhat unforgettable.

For one brief, shining moment, I had been the poet who writes prose. Oh well. It was a good day, all in all, but I was glad to get home to see the kids, esp. Kristin, my little quacking chicken.

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