We got into the city that night just in time to attend the launch of Spring, the SWG magazine that showcases the work of emerging writers. Thirteen of the contributors read. Some of them I knew, some I didn't. Strong, confident readings by all. Spring is close to my heart as it was one of my first publication credits and at its launch years ago I gave my first public reading. At the time I wasn't sure if I could stand there and read my work to a room full of real writers. That was many many readings ago, but I remember it so clearly. I remember clearly the established writers who came up to chat with me after. That meant so much. It's all up to you now, one said. That stuck with me.
The conference itself started at 1 pm on Friday. It was tough to choose between concurrent sessions, as they all looked tempting. Some highlights from the conference (aka the sessions I attended), listed chronologically:
- Harold Johnson's remarkable talk comparing and contrasting the oral and written traditions.
- The talk about the impact of location on writing given by Gail Bowen, Gerry Hill and Barbara Klar.
- The talk on regional and non-regional writing given by Robert Calder and Trevor Herriot.
- The talk on poetry, the long and short forms, given by Robert Kroetsch and Hilary Clark.
- The reading by Robert Kroetsch of poems from his forthcoming collection. So smart and sobering and so funny.
- The fun open mic with a side effects theme hosted by Gerry Hill.
Some of the most valuable things I took away from this conference are not bloggable. Things that came out of the conversations at meals, the exchanges at receptions, the connections and reconnections between sessions. I learned so much. Thanks to all.