Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Favorite Conference

We all attend conferences of one sort or another, don’t we?  Most professionals belong to associations that have annual meetings and even if you aren’t doing a 9-5 job, there’s always Friends of the Library, for instance, or fraternal organizations such as VFW, Elks, or D.A.R., right?

Of all the ones that I go to, though, my absolute favorite is probably the North Carolina Writers Conference. Membership is loosely limited to published writers and such friends of writing as newspaper columnists, archivists, academics, and editors of literary journals. We write fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoirs, poetry, etc. Panels range from scholarly studies on life in NC to misadventures in research. I myself am one of the few who write only crime fiction.  Karen Pullen, shown with me here, is another.  Like me, she finds it delightful to hang out with writers in other fields, especially when some of the more musical members bring out their guitars for an old-fashioned sing-along.

Ours is the oldest writers association in the state, founded at Manteo in 1950 at the instigation of Inglis Fletcher (1879-1969), author of many NC historical novels. There was no air conditioning on Manteo in 1950.  A friend of mine who was at that first meeting told me, rather disapprovingly, that it was so hot that several of the conferees went skinny-dipping in the Albemarle sound.    
Janet Lembke, author of Despicable Species, Dangerous
 Birds, River Time,Virgil's Georgics, etc., etc.
Perversely, the NCWC continues to hold its annual meeting at the hottest time of the year in some of the hottest places around the state.  2012 was no exception.  We met last weekend in New Bern where the Neuse River merges with the Trent to flow into Pamlico Sound. Daytime temperatures ranged from 97 to 101 and the air was so humid, it was like stepping into a sauna whenever we ventured outside.  Amusingly, Janet Lembke, this year’s honoree and pictured here, is the author of Skinny-Dipping, a book that praises the sensual delights of that activity. 

Several of us were sorely tempted to follow the lead of those who first gathered in Manteo.

Blog Archive