Writing in the company of others

books acquired from the New Oceania Creative Writing Conference

This past weekend on the 21st of February I was fortunate enough to attend the New Oceania Creative Writing Conference, which is sponsored by the  University of Hawaii’s Creative Writing department.

It was nice to be able to mull around a university campus on a Saturday morning, chatting with writers of all ages and backgrounds as I waited for the first session of the day to start.  Writing is such a lonely activity that going to such an event, being able to bask in that sense of writerly community, brought immense satisfaction.

My first session, “The Nuts and Bolts of Novel Writing” with Hawaii Pacific University professor and novelist Tyler McMahon was so full of useful tidbits that I ended up filling five whole pages of note paper, and even ventured to request a copy of his notes after the session ended (he said yes; score!).  I may be making a separate post going over my notes from the session!

In the day’s second session we were presented with good advice and a list of resources by Gail Harada on submissions, and were regaled with M. Thomas Gammarino’s varied (and hilarious) experiences with rejections, and his reflections post-publication.

Finally, after lunch (provided generously by our hosts) we headed across the street to enjoy impressive readings by the keynote speakers: champion slam poet Ittai Wong and novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings (who wrote The Descendants, the book upon which that George Clooney movie is based).

Overall, it was a Saturday well-spent, even if I did have to make the long trek to the bus stop in the scorching sun, carrying a heavy bag of books.  I gathered a tiny pile of contacts, talked and talked and talked with a bunch of fascinating people, and felt generally included in the overall experience that is writing in Hawaii.  Lately I’ve come to realize that while I can certainly trudge along all on my own, I feel much healthier and more complete when I’m a part of some sort of community, no matter how small.  We’ve only had two meetings so far, but the Mililani Writing Group has already helped me become a more motivated writer–as evidenced by the creation of this blog.  I hope all this goodness continues!

  • http://www.itsshellyscabaret.com/ Vashelle

    Brandi told me all about it, and I was like “Aww man! I wish I could’ve attended!”

    I love our little writer’s group! You guys inspire me :) And it’s just fun meeting people who feel as strongly about words as we all do.

    • http://tam-lee.com/ Tam Lee

      Yeah, I think you would have liked it!! I took lots of notes which I’ll share with you guys =)

      Yeah, I love our writer’s group too! I was so productive last meeting I just want to do it over and over, ahaha.

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