Monday, July 7, 2008

Party Time!

The ACFW Conference is just a great big bash. A time to hoot and holler, riot and revel, wheedle and wallow with those of like kind. You’ve heard it said numerous times: Nobody gets writers like writers. We share a strange culture, speak the same language. Within this quirky society I’ve found a loving, supportive group of women who’ve become devoted sisters. I met each of them directly or indirectly through the ACFW conference or the ACFW critique groups.

And no wonder. The atmosphere within ACFW is one of fellowship and camaraderie. No one’s a stranger. At my first conference I planted my wallflower roots in a safe corner while trying to take it all in. Suddenly a feisty redhead (waving at Brenda Minton) zoomed in and plucked me. We linked arms and she drew me into her group, making me a part of them for the rest of the day. That same year a soft-spoken, southern belle (blowing a kiss at Kathleen Y’Barbo) handed me her business card and invited me to check out her writer’s group. I went from isolated wallflower to a member of the gang in one incredible day. Amazing!

At conference we meet writers who shine brightly at the top of our field. I know they feel like regular folks, but let’s face it, to us they’re celebrities. We rub shoulders hoping their brilliance will rub off. We get to share smiles, meals, and conversations with the likes of Brandilyn Collins, Francine Rivers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Karen Kingsbury, Karen Ball, James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and many other talented greats. If any of these people have egos, they check them at the door—except for that guy in the kilt who we’ve all learned to overlook (winking at you-know-who).

My favorite part of conference is the elevator conversations. Last year, we rode up to our rooms with a middle-aged couple who were guests of the Marriott. They stared openly then asked if we were part of the writers group that had converged on the hotel. We grinned and nodded. They seemed so awestruck that for those few minutes until the doors opened, we felt like celebrities, too.

My most memorable elevator conversation happened between Lisa Ludwig and Janelle Mowery who happen to co-author cozy mysteries for Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Oblivious to their surroundings, they were engrossed in a discussion about the best place to hide the bones of a murder victim. The non-writers sharing the ride up watched them with astonished looks on their faces then rushed from the car as soon as the doors slid open.

The conference experience? Unforgettable.
The chance to fellowship with weirdoes like yourself? Therapeutic.
The elevator conversations? Priceless!


Anonymous said...

Soft spoken Southern belle? Well, if that doesn't show you how well Marcia Gruver writes fiction, her books will! :D

Love you, girl!

Kathleen Y'Barbo

Janelle said...

Hee hee hee. Ya know, we don't set out to scare the bajeebers out of normals. It just seems to happen when we be ourselves. I do try to pay more attention in elevators now though. LOL.

Marcia Gruver said...

Kathleen, I do declare! You're in denial girl!

Love it, Janelle! You may have coined a new term for non-writers. "Normals."

So guess what that makes us? :D

Susan said...

Oh how I would have loved to have been in that elevator to see the expressions on the faces of the 'Normals.' And somehow I think if Lisa and Janelle had seen the 'Normals' looks, that the fabulous cozy writing duo and (from what I've heard but never experienced first hand) the pair of mischievous little imps would have ratcheted up their discussion. LOL

Janelle said...

I didn't coin the term 'normals'. I think that was Brandilyn Collins. But I do believe that makes us ABnormals. LOL.

And Susan, who in the world made you believe the exaggeration about Lisa and me being mischievous little imps? Imps? US? Couldn't be. We're mischievous little angels. LOL.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hey Marcia,

I just love conference time. I still email many of the people I met at my very FIRST conference, too. Such a fun loving bunch--us slightly ABnormal, deliciously wordy writers!

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