Month: December 2009

I’ll always miss Gambier, Ohio

Continuing with the Best of 2009 Challenge

December 6 Workshop or conference. Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?

Alright, this post is a cheat in a lot of ways. First, I only went to one workshop this year: the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Second, I already blogged about that here and here.

But in a nutshell: it was amazing.

(Also, because I can never say it enough, THANK YOU to everyone who donated to help me afford the KRWW. It was a huge help. Y’all got my thank you letters afterwards, right?)

While at the KRWW, I met an incredible group of writers, some of whom I still keep in touch with and am lucky enough to call my friends: Aurora, Zara, Celeste, Paul, Joe, and Julia. Oh, and my instructor Geeta Kothari! Searches for her name lead a decent number of people to my blog, so for those of you who are curious, yes, she is fantastic. Both as a writer and as a teacher. (And a knitter, and a dog lover!)

I wrote almost as much as I learned. And I wrote a lot:

I hardly slept, lol, but that hardly mattered. I spent almost all day of every day of that week writing, and though I may have complained, the truth was, I loved it. There’s something about disconnecting from the world that lets you plug in to yourself.

So yeah. I’d love to go back someday, and try out other writing workshops/conferences, but I think I’ll wait till my savings account recovers from its recent… abuse.

Did any of y’all go to workshops or conferences this year? Do non-writers even do that? I guess maybe for work… but are those fun?

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"Literature," Twilight, and everything in between

Continuing with the Best of 2009 Challenge

December 4 Book. What book – fiction or non – touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

Hmm. This is a tough one. I read a lot of great books this year.

  • The Secret Life of Bees was the first book I’ve read and really thought, I wish I’d written this.
  • For all its flaws, Twilight totally engrossed me, and was the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of convincing me that I should be writing for readers my age and younger, instead of writing “Literature.”
  • The Host was just awesome.
  • I made a deal with Andy and now he gets to pick every other book I read. This year that included Ray Bradbury’s classic collection of scifi short stories The Martian Chronicles, which was excellent.
  • Bad Things Happen (by Harry Dolan, one of the original Amazon Breakthrough Novel contestants) and Motherless Brooklyn (another of Andy’s picks) rekindled my love for murder mysteries.

There were many, many more. And thanks to our public library system (you should be a member of yours!) and some discount books I bought over Thanksgiving, I look forward to 2010 being another great year of reading.

What did you read this year? Books, short stories, backs of cereal boxes? As a writer, I’m always interested in “what the kids are into these days.”

(I already know at least one of Sonja’s answers! We’ve been emailing about her love of John Irving.)

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Take a trip (in photos)

So… It’s December… Wow…

Where did the year go?!

(Or rather, where did I go this year?)

To round out 2009, 20 Something Bloggers is running a Best of 2009 Challenge, in which every day of December is assigned a topic, and bloggers are supposed to write about their best [whatever the topic is] of 2009.

Yesterday was supposed to be “Trip,” but yesterday I was kind of busy (submitting my first partial ever!). So I’m just going to do yesterday today. Also, rather than pick one trip, I’m going to pick one photo from each trip.

Rules schmules.

Chicago:

Day 2 - Millenium and Grant Park 038

New Orleans:

Day 4 airboat swamp tour 063

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina:

Day 3 and Golf 010

Yankee Stadium, NYC:

Yankees game 019

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland:

Dublin Day 1 021

Hoover Dam, Las Vegas (ish), Nevada:

Hoover Dam 031

Holy cow! I took a lot of trips this year. And that doesn’t even include trips back to Houston (my home) or Rochester (Andy’s home). No wonder my savings account is depleted…

Ah well. Honestly, travel is one of the very few things I will happily spend money on for myself. I would much rather fill my life with experiences than my house with things. So by that standard, 2009 was a year well spent.

What was your best trip of 2009? Tell me in the comments, or if you’re participating in the challenge, leave your link!

Also, be sure to check out other bloggers’ Best of 2009 posts!

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