Yesterday, I told you all about the crazy stuff that happened at the conference in Indianapolis on Saturday, or at least most of it. There were things that I totally forgot about, but I wrote the best of the silliness.
As crazy-funny as Saturday was, that’s how tear-jerking Sunday was. Tears accompany a variety of emotions from joy to pain in a broad spectrum of severity. I went through all of it this past weekend. Actually, it started Saturday morning, when I got to cry with Pegg Thomas over how blessed we were to be at the conference at all. I’d been sick all last year and most of this (still bear the “surprise” that popped up last year), and Pegg had a terrible cancer scare this year, so to be able to give each other a hug was truly a gift from God that causes tears even now.
So, at breakfast Saturday, I had a good ol’ boo-hoo with Pegg and no tissue. Since every breakfast ended with a worship and praise service, and since I always cry during worship and praise services, I should’ve come prepared, but I didn’t. I would’ve had to use my sleeve, if it weren’t for Lena Nelson Dooley. God bless her, she always has tissues.
Sunday morning, the tears were for a different reason.
The group on the left is the “Scribelarians.” I didn’t get to meet all of them, but from left to right, I met: Lisa Gefrides, Linda Samaritoni, Tim Ackers, Gretchen Kuykendall, and Beth Steury. I didn’t get to meet Vanessa Morton in person (second from the right, next to Tim), and the one who’s the center of this story, Cynthia Tooney, didn’t get to come.
Tim contacted me earlier this year saying the Scribelarians wanted to give me something for all the help I’d given them. My first reaction was Huh? I didn’t know him, didn’t know what I’d done to help him, but wow, was I honored!
Story goes like this: I edited Cyn’s book, Birdface, for Port Yonder Press, and apparently she liked what I did for her. Tim told me her critique methods for the group changed afterward, and she credited me for the change. According to him, everyone in the group learned from me indirectly.
Hearing this, and how appreciative they were over something I didn’t even know I’d done for them brought a round of tears from me. I tried to take a picture of the handsome plaque they gave me, but all I got from every angle was a glare. I wish one of us had thought to take a picture while we were together.
Later in the day, I had a class with my newest favorite author, Tosca Lee. Those who read this blog know I was totally blown away by her novel, Demon: a Memoir. She taught a class about making unsympathetic characters sympathetic, and since my WIP, Corporate Ladder, features an unsympathetic character, I wanted to learn this–and I wanted to learn it from her.
I was expecting a class full of practical advice; what I got was an experience that’s probably more common on a psychologist’s couch. Tosca gave us an exercise to get us in touch with our deepest emotions. I’ll share this more with you next week, but mostly she ordered us to write about her prompts. Our pens were never allowed to leave the page even if all we wrote was “I hate this, this is stupid.” Her prompts were along the lines of “what is your earliest memory of betrayal,” “what is your most recent memory of joy.” She went through several emotions, but mostly those of joy and pain. When she asked what our most recent joyful memory was, I thought back to receiving the plaque just that morning.
Then she asked, “what question of your heart did that answer?”
Thunder roared, lightning struck, fireworks crackled and flared and lit up the stormy skies of my heart. One of the questions that’s been hidden in there for so long is Does my work matter?
The waterworks kicked up big-time when I realized the answer.
I wish I’d gotten a picture of Tosca and her autograph on Demon, but my brain just didn’t seem to work the entire weekend. I did, however, get a picture of Frank Peretti, just before he went down and received his Lifetime Achievement Award at the gala I didn’t get to attend:
You can tell it’s a bit blurred. I haven’t gotten used to my new phone/camera yet, and besides, my hands were shaking like crazy! Let me tell you, he’s a terrific guy. I saw him while waiting for the elevators on the first floor. At that time, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt–the same one I’d been seeing the back of all day. I’d always catch sight of him just as he was leaving. We talked while we waited for the elevator and all the way up to my floor. When I left the car, some ladies–all dressed up and lovely, ready for the gala–said, “Did you just ride in an elevator with Frank Peretti?”
I did my squeee! and danced a jig. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Then someone asked: “Did you get a picture?”
No–because my brain had taken a separate vacation for the weekend.
Anyway, I get to our room, and Billy says we have reservations at the Eagle’s Nest, the revolving restaurant at the top of the hotel. I’d just gotten off the elevator with Frank and was still excited about it, totally drained from the different emotions experienced in Tosca’s class, and completely without makeup because I’d cried it off. But that surprise was one of my favorites, because I’d been saying all weekend I wanted to go, and MSB had been checking out every restaurant but that one. Since I was later getting to the room than I said I’d be, I didn’t have much time to beautify–not that I could do anything with the straight, flat hair the meds have left me with and my uber-pale, makeup-free skin.
And of all times for me to remember to get a picture! So, remember the rules: Don’t look at me, look at that handsome hunk of a honey sitting with me:
It was a wonderful night with my treasure, an incredible day of emotion, a delightful weekend of friends and laughter and tears and learning and experiencing. I love going to the ACFW Conference, and MSB and I both love Indy. Can’t wait to go back!