So, what DID I take away with me from the Puget Sound Area's SCBWI conference yesterday? A stack of books, a skosh of motivation and a few good pointers on where to focus my energy.
Justina Chen Headley led a workshop on finding the heart in your story. The workshop was a display of her openness and commitment to baring her own vulnerabilities to tell the story that needs to be told. She spoke of having the courage to get down on paper the real heart of the matters that brought us to the page in the first place. It brought me back to a place I'd been a few months ago. I need to be reminded that writing is dangerous.
About six months ago, I watched the documentary on Bukowski, and the main thing I got from it was the concept of writing being dangerous. According to Bukowski, if a piece of writing isn't dangerous, it's worthless. This prompted me to take take this to my online writer's group and post a challenge that we all write something decidedly dangerous. Some great stuff came from that exercise.
I once had a creative writing teacher in community college who contended that the best stories, the real stories, never get down on paper because we can't get there. I remember making a promise to myself that I would not flinch from writing the real story.
How could I forget, again, about my promise, about Bukowski, about danger? I owe a debt of gratitude to Justina for taking me back to the heart.