We came from all directions dragging our baggage stuffed with the tattered egos, unrealized dreams and the belief that we may never write again. Some are close to quitting, yet others are hoping to begin. We carried our wounded souls looking for those who would hoist us from despair and support us while we recovered and learned to laugh, dream and once again put words on the pages we were meant to write.
We desperately sought the laughter, camaraderie and electrically charged air of others like ourselves. We were in need.
Recognizing family was easy — they are those who came seeking similar affirmation of who they are. The bodies, the faces, the ethnicity, the coloring may have differed, but we knew none of that mattered, we were with family.
“These are my people,” could be heard over and over again. “This is where I was meant to be.”
After attending five times I shouldn’t be surprised, and yet I am. How can this place, so many physical miles from where I live, feel so much like where I belong? How can these people who look nothing like me, feel so like my family?
I have never attended any other conference where the attitude of the attendees actually infiltrates the air. You walk and breathe support, love, hope, admiration, curiosity and absolute acceptance of who you are.
Information is not considered wealth to be hoarded, but rather fertilizer to help young writers grow into who they were meant to be. Laughter is treated as food for more laughter, and no one leaves hungry. Encouragement is offered by all to all. Belief in others isn’t written as a rule to be observed, but exists in every step taken, as if planted in the very ground we walk. Impossible stories of success are shared.
We leave recharged, reinvigorated and ready to write the stories in our hearts, in our minds, and the ones that live inside our souls. We have new friends, so many memories, bags full of encouragement and a belief in our abilities to do great things.
Writing still doesn’t come easy. It is elusive. But the belief in our ability has been seated in our minds, hearts and souls. There was laughter, excitement, encouragement, creative nourishment and support for all. No attendee leaves untouched, or unchanged.
The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Worship of 2016 was the best so far. I should know. I’ve been to five. On or around December 1, 2017, 11 a.m. Eastern time you will find me sitting in front of my computer, credit card in hand, ready to register for the 2018 EBWW experience. April 5-8, 2018 I will once again be found in Dayton, Ohio, back with my family in the most supportive, positive, life-enriching environment I’ve ever experienced.
Thank you, Erma, for opening the door.
— Wanda Argersinger
Wanda Argersinger writes from the beaches of the Florida Panhandle, while trying to stay out of the sun and enjoying a top-notch margarita or two. Her humor is shared on her blog, books and publications near and far. You can read more about her life In the land of confusion on her website.