I’m happy to say many goals were met during my Minnesota trip. Not the least of which was Monkey’s continued state of cover-up. In fact, as far as I know, everyone involved in the whole experience managed to keep their clothes on. You may think this isn’t exactly a noteworthy accomplishment. I say, aim low and you won’t be disappointed. So congratulations to everyone out there who, for the last six days, has remained properly clothed. I’m proud of you, and so is your mom!
I did have a phone conversation in the car on the way home (somewhere in the state of Iowa I’m guessing, judging by the smell of things) that caused me some alarm. It went like this—
Monkey: “We went hiking, Mom.”
Me: “Oh, that sounds like fun.”
Monkey: “We saw a rattle snake.”
Me: “You saw a what?!”
Monkey: “Daddy threw a rock at the snake and hit it.”
Me: “PUT YOUR FATHER ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW!”
Once I quit using words like “venomous beast” and “innocent babies” and “clueless man,” I realized that Kory was actually protecting not only our kids, but other hikers on the trail by convincing Mr. Rattles to slither elsewhere.
Okay, enough about the misadventures of Monkey, Chunky, and Rattle Snake Kory. Time to talk about the conference.
I find it necessary to verb a noun in order to describe the experience. You see, everywhere we went, we entouraged. I attended the conference with two rather famous people, Donita K. Paul and Kimberly Woodhouse. Now, neither of these lovely ladies will toot their own horn. But, as you might suspect, I have no problem tooting.
Donita K. Paul, who happens to be my mother, not only writes great stories that everyone wants to read, but she also has a knack for encouraging other writers, especially young ones. To say she draws people is like saying a black hole has a mild pull.
The Woodhouse family, as you probably know, was on Extreme Home Makeover last year. But even if folks didn’t have the “Haven’t I seen you somewhere? Oh, yeah!” response, Kim would attract people like bees to a flower. She just has one of those personalities that makes you feel accepted and valued even if you’ve only known her for the space of a three floor elevator ride.
So I spent the weekend in the company of greatness, but I’m not just talking about Mom and Kim. I met many gifted authors, a couple friendly and approachable editors, and some psyched-up newbies like myself. I got to pretend to be Susan May Warren for a few minutes at the Mall of America book signing. I got to listen to fantastic teachers like Angela Hunt, John Olson, Janice Thompson, and Randy Ingermanson. And, yes, I managed to coherently pitch Brandy and The Vine despite my tendency to freeze up whenever someone asked about my novel. My proposal will be going out, but I already feel successful and blessed.
I’m back to Mommy in jeans and sandals now. The laundry pile is huge, the kitchen is a mess, and Monkey’s excitement over my homecoming prompted a few outbursts at school that got him in big trouble. But whenever I have a spare second, my mind slips into an inspiration hangover, and I feel ready to tackle my next book project and the next phone call from Monkey’s teacher.