Friday, January 24, 2014

Writers Conference Weekend: Geared up, Sold Out, Go!

Roland Lazenby teaching in 2013.
It's Roanoke Regional Writers Conference weekend and I think everything's done. We've sold out again; the weather is cold but clear; the teachers all seem to be healthy and flu-free; a few stragglers are trying to squeeze their way in after putting off registering; and I'm pumped.

Greg Trafidlo
There's not much different this year than we've presented before, which tells me that our format is working. Several years ago we stopped trying to be an academic conference and settled on trying to create a strong network of writers in this region. We seem to have had some success at that. This is not to say there is nothing to learn in the classes at the RRWC because there is. It's being taught by pros to pros and in any given classroom--where ideas fly around--the students know as much as the teachers in general, but require some specifics in a certain area.

The most significant regret about the conference for me is that I never get to go to class and just sit there and listen. There's simply too much to do, so I've been to one full class that I didn't teach in seven years. I'm going to try to squeeze in a couple this year. We have some very good fiction writers/teachers who know their stuff and I need their info.

One treat we have in store for those attending tonight is that Greg Trafidlo, our official trubador, will perform two original songs, written specifically for the conference. Greg can be really funny with his lyrics and I can't want for the writers to here this one:

The Letter

You’ve no idea/ how much time I spent
To make the edits/ you wanted sent
You laughed and called it rubbish / nothing you would  publish
My contract/ went through your shredder

I thought I did/ a worthy job
You skewered me/ like a shish kabob
Why are you so rude? / Now I’m eating kitty food
Our bond’s/ officially severed

Your registered letter
Said I couldn’t send my songs anymore 
I took a ver-bal beatin’/ You said I should be greetin’/ at the Wal-Mart store……………..Anyway…

I got a lawyer. We will sue
I bet you’d turn down/ Shakespeare too
No longer your amigo, / to compensate my ego
I reject/ your rejection letter
(Repeat and fade)

If you're coming to Hollins tonight or tomorrow, please say "hello" to me. And enjoy the conference. I sure will.

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