The calendar reads July, which means conference season!

For me, at least. As I said more than once this past week, I live for the first full week of July, when the Antioch Writers’ Workshop convenes (Disclaimer: I’ve served as a workfellow for AWW since 2010, and as Assistant Director since August 2014).

AWW Exec Sharon Short greets Nikki Giovanni at her book signing

AWW Exec Sharon Short greets Nikki Giovanni 

AWW 2015 was my seventh year in attendance, and the summer program’s 30th anniversary. From Nikki Giovanni’s moving keynote address on Saturday evening to the participants’ readings on Thursday and the closing group-hug reception at end-of-day Friday, the week nurtured my writing soul.

Saturday’s stand-alone session “From Inspiration to Perspiration” was designed to do just that: inspire writers with the energetic Denise Jacobs and then show them the hard work needed to create good writing through topical breakout sessions by PJ Carlisle (Point of View), Ed Davis (Sensory Image and Detail), Trudy Krisher (Dialogue), and yours truly (Conflict).

During the week, morning craft lectures by Jyotsna Sreenivasan (fiction), Myrna Stone (poetry), and John Grogan (non-fiction) offered our 100+ attendees inspirational and useful writing advice, while the afternoon intensives (David B. Coe, fiction; Laraine Herring, writing jump-start; John Kachuba, creative non-fiction/memoir; Herbert Woodward Martin, poetry; Kristina McBride, Young Writers; Michael Nye, short fiction; and Ann Weisgarber, fiction) created caring new communities of inspired writers who hated to see the week end.

AWW 2015 Workellows & Staff: Lori Fetters Lopez, Matt Garrett, Jan Irvin, Cyndi Pauwels, TJ McGuire, Joanne Huist Smith, AWW Exec Sharon Short (missing: Mindy Hartings)

AWW 2015 Workellows & Staff: Lori Fetters Lopez, Matt Garrett, Jan Irvin, Cyndi Pauwels, TJ McGuire, Joanne Huist Smith, AWW Exec Sharon Short (missing: Mindy Hartings)

But those journalistic, laundry-list sentences don’t begin to describe the warmth offered by each of the faculty members. They each gave of themselves in ways that will create ripples in our literary community for a long, long time. The “Antioch magic” AWW’s Board Chair Rebecca Morean speaks of is very real.

Now, after a too-short break, I’m headed off with my writing partner Lori Fetters Lopez to experience the Midwest Writers’ Workshop at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I’ll be a full participant this time instead of a worker bee (no more coffee to brew or copies to make!), and I’m hoping for a booster shot of the writing love offered at AWW.

#MWW2015, you’ve got a lot to live up to!

About clpauwels

Author; teacher; seeker of truth about life, the universe, and everything
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