Earlier this year, a friend of mine reminded me of a non profit organization she worked with called Cascade Writers. She iterated that I should check it out if I wanted to explore my writing abilities and network with other authors, publishers and editors. Thankfully this once, I listened.
In the last 20 years of working in the background of conventions, organizations and festivals I realized that I cannot remember the last time I attended an event as a spectator! The whole thing was unprecedented and I was worried I would be bored, or ill at ease with all the new people!
I was very surprised just how intense the panel topics were and how many of them were! They included things from beginning in short stories, to sentence structure to editing to decolonizing our stories to avoid toxic tropes. Among it all was a wealth of acceptance, and camaraderie.
People were kind and curious.
I know, I know… I didn’t know what to do either but I did something unprecedented in such a new environment. I made friends. I talked about my ideas. I was listened to and I listened and offered constructive thoughts in turn. It was three days of a creative conversation with like minds with various backgrounds all bringing their own flavor of perspective to the whole experience.
To top off my experience, I was talking with a panelist for the Religion, Faith and Myth in writing discussion. It turned out she was a Christian minister, and I shared I was a Pagan minister. Even in Seattle Washington, in the heart of liberal ideas, I get nervous talking about being a Pagan or Wiccan Minister. Not only was I welcomed as a fellow person of the cloth but invited to work with her on her panel. It was my first panel and I had a BLAST and would do it again in a heart beat. Hopefully we can get a Rabbi to join our discussion and do it again next year!