ACFW Conference Tears

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.

The Scribelarians Indy 2013Sunday 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.

Tosca Lee and Frank Peretti, ACFW Conference, Indianapolis, IN, 2013

Tosca Lee and Frank Peretti, ACFW Conference, Indianapolis, IN, 2013

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:

Frank Peretti

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:

Eagle's Nest revolving restaurant at the Hyatt in Indy 2013

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!

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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14 Responses to ACFW Conference Tears

  1. contrerassons says:

    You remind us that people are precious and that memories of people are what really last. I cried with you. Thank you for your open heart.

    What is MSB? Another conference? How do you know when they are coming up?
    I think ‘conference’—I’d have to do this, this and this before I leave, and the money and when I get back I would have to find the house through the laundry, and leave the kids…. But you remind me of the people—and that is eternal. It is a conviction. I will add this to my prayer list.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      MSB is “my sweet Billy.” 😀

      I miss out on most of the conferences because I don’t know when they all are. I go to some small ones. ACFW is the only major one I attend and it’s super-expensive. The organization has a paid membership and all the biggest names in our industry belong to it. It’s worth being a member of, but the conferences are expensive. Worth it, but expensive.

      Some of the other good ones are Mount Hermon and Blue Ridge. I don’t know much about them other than they must be fantastic. I may start attending these some time as funds allow.

      You can do a web search of Christian Writing Conferences, even specify it closer to your area. The smaller ones aren’t too expensive and they’re a great place to learn and meet with other writers. They often have experienced author/speakers, agents, and occasionally reps from publishers. Lotsa fun!


  2. Kat Connolly says:

    Aww, Linda – this brought tears to my eyes. God has shown you so much favor in so many little ways. He so delights in his Texan Gal! You can tell! ❤


  3. Wow, the memories. They will last a lifetime, along with your plaque. Nice to know when you touch others, and in some way change lives. Congratulations, Linda!


  4. Lynn Mosher says:

    Wow! You met Mr. P!!! Despite the downside of your trip, you had a great upside! Yay!


  5. Joanne Sher says:

    What a WONDERFUL award/recognition for a wonderful lady. So VERY glad you had so many blessings! Love ya, girl!


  6. K.M. Weiland says:

    I must have missed the email notification on these last two posts. I’ve been waiting to hear your update on the conference. Sounds like it was quite a time!


  7. anemulligan says:

    I’m so glad your honey came to our Pennies dinner and we got to meet him, Linda. And I’m still patting myself on the back for bringing you into Penwrights. You’re a wonderful addition to our family!! Love you, girl!


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