It’s Wednesday, which means I’m usually posting a story for Friday Fictioneers, that wild, crazy, and talented group of writers of 100-word fiction. But as tomorrow is Thanksgiving and, possible super-storm allowing, we’ll be traveling to Philadelphia, I’m instead posting a much-requested story about meeting some fellow Friday Fictioneers and going to my first writing conference. I won’t be taking time to read and comment on stories, although I’m thankful for the group, because I want to spend the time with part of our family. I pray that all of you readers who celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow have a blessed day and that those who don’t would take a few minutes to think about the many things for which you can be thankful (and also have a wonderful day!)
Recently, I packed the car with snacks (left Bill with the van, as it has over 182,000 miles on it and we’re babying it), threw my bags in the back, made sure I had my technology bag and tea and headed for Kansas City. I was off to meet someone I’d met online who’d become a friend and to attend my first writers conference in Branson, Missouri. To gild the lily, I was also going to get to meet a number of fellow fiction writers from our weekly Friday Fictioneers group. Life was good.
I love to drive but my trip started out in rather bizarre fashion. I’d borrowed my husband’s GPS rather than go with MapQuest directions, but I knew where MapQuest would have sent me. Garmin sent me 90 degrees in the opposite direction! Yes, I did have to go south at some point, but not until Des Moines. The way I was headed, I could go around the world and never get to Des Moines. I actually pulled over and reset the Garmin, just to be sure. Since she insisted, I decided to live on the edge, bravely going where I had no idea what I was going to see. The most unique part of the trip was going on a four-lane highway where the exits were really streets that came directly into the highway at ninety degree angles.
After my eight hour drive, Rochelle’s husband Jan’s offer of a beer was welcome and meeting Rochelle was great. Unfortunately for all around us, we were a bit like twins separated at birth. Not sure which of us was the evil twin, Skippy, but it didn’t matter. About noon on Saturday, we piled into a car with Kent (fellow Fictioneer) and a friend. We laughed, joked and sang our way to Branson and after dinner, headed over to the OWL (Ozark Writers League) banquet. This is where the fun really started…and this is where Kent’s video was made. Besides meeting and greeting (and being photographed or photographing), we got a tour of the hotel where the banquet was being held. The room we saw was lovely, but so small that there was barely room to fall out of bed on either side without hitting a wall.
Saturday was workshop day. A keynote speech by author and whip-wielder, K.D. McRite, “Don’t Give Me No Stinkin’ Excuses”, blew all our reasons not to write out of the water. The workshop was located on the campus of College of the Ozarks,http://www.cofo.edu/, aka Hard Work U, because students have to work on campus (besides class work), so we went to lunch at their excellent restaurant but, due to the number of people trying to eat, we missed the first half hour of our chosen afternoon breakout session.
Fun over, we headed back to Kansas City. Rochelle and I had decided we’d watch “Red” but unfortunately, for some reason, the technology had decided we wouldn’t. All our blandishments and button-poking failed to get the DVD to play and we finally had to admit defeat.
Sunday morning, we were just chatting away, when I got a text from a friend in Cleveland, warning me of bad weather. About ten minutes later, I got a call from Bill, suggesting I stay until the next day. Now I will generally drive through any sort of weather, but when I looked at the Weather Channel and saw, between me and my destination, multiple lines of green, with centers of red indicating either tornadoes or possible tornadoes, even I decided to wait until later. Fortunately, all the terrible weather had moved out of Illinois by the time I got there and I drove home under a clear sky and full moon. Can’t wait until February for the next OWL meeting.
L-R: Beth, Rochelle, Madison, me, Karen, Russ, Jan, Kent
Kent used his amazing technical skills to put together this short video of our Friday night adventure. (And, no, I didn’t have anything to do with being the first person up!) Thanks, Kent. Hope you enjoy it.