In my “right mind” at In Your Write Mind
Get there early. I always do. I love the neatly trimmed grass, the vacant buildings, and the echoes in the narrow hallway by the security office. There is an unnatural lure within this campus. As you approach the buildings you are aware of the history standing guard at every darkened window. Once you’re inside the past beckons from the colonnades and courtyards. This is Seton Hill, a school with a fascinating back-story and a passionate future. It’s the home of the Griffins, but more importantly it’s the home of the Writing Popular Fiction Program. Every year, at the end of June, it’s also the home of the In Your Write Mind writers’ conference. This year the conference will start on Thursday, June 25 and will end on Sunday, June 28.
If the weather is nice you can sit outside on one of the swings and catch up on some reading, or let the architecture capture your imagination. Dream of old characters and narratives, conjure up a new storyline, or finish your current work in progress. If it is raining you can go inside and find one of the parlors. Sit in a comfortable antique chair or do what I do and find an equally comfortable rocker. You may want to read, but don’t be surprised if the building steals your thoughts. Daydreaming is not only permissible, it is expected.
The conference starts around noon on Thursday. Guests, experienced people in the industry, will coach a few lessons, share experiences, and maybe accept a pitch or two. Faculty, mentors, and teachers in the program, will conduct sessions on a variety of subjects. WPF graduates will instruct a few more classes.
One night will be devoted to a massive book signing. The annual ball will be held the last night of the conference.
Oh, and don’t miss the ghost tour. It’s usually conducted the first night. The graveyard is particularly interesting and capable of stimulating a few new tales.
Although all of the classes, tours, and book signings are an important part of the conference they are not the attraction that draws me back year after year. I look forward to the discussions outside the classroom. I want to spend time with the people who understand my hopes and dreams. I escape my day job and the goals others want me to achieve.
I belong to this group. Here I am not a childish daydreamer. I am another writer willing to listen and share my achievements and disappointments.
This is what this conference is all about. It’s okay if you’re not part of the Writing Popular Fiction Program and don’t worry about being an introvert.
It’s the condition of most writers, at least the good ones. It’s a natural condition. We spend most of our time in solitude; we feed on it, and find motivation in its seclusion. It’s something we all have in common and recognize in others. It’s an essential part of our character.
Fellow travelers are recognized and accepted. Someone will ask what you write, ask about your current project. How did you hear about In Your Write Mind? We’re glad you’re here.
For me the conference is over before it begins. It always takes me a long time to recover, but part of the recovery process is a renewed resolve to keep writing. I set my sights on next year and return to my isolation and my characters. I am, after all, a writer.
For more information on In Your Write Mind 2015, visit inyourwritemind.setonhill.edu
Story by Ron Shannon for Pennsylvania Bridges