Friday, November 02, 2012

The Eastern Oregon Word Round-Up

I was undecided about attending, but finally determined I needed to. This is the first time Pendleton has hosted an event like this and I wanted to be in on the opening act! First, the venue was interesting. It was held at the Wildhorse Resort and even though the facilities were varied and the staff was helpful, I didn’t like it. It took ages to get from place to place and you had to hike past cigarette smoke and confusion. Other than that, however, it was GREAT fun and I can’t wait til the next one!

The first two classes I wanted to take, I missed. Thankfully, I didn’t pay for anything, I just decided what I wanted to attend. On the whole, I was glad I missed the first one. Others who DID get to attend said it was badly done. The author didn’t know how to talk and said he wasn’t sure what he was doing! The one on Nature Writing I think I would have liked, but alas—I managed to miss that one as well.

Once I finally figured out where I was, it was too late to attend the Satire writing class (the bad one) and so I browsed the exhibits. Which were great fun! I found a couple of books, including a 1950’s script in book form for The Pajama Game with photos!

Then, I was able to attend an excellent class given by F.I. Goldhaber called ‘What’s right for what you write?” I didn’t realize how much an author lost by having an agent, a bad agent, and publishing the traditional route. I also didn’t realize how the readers are often left out of the publishing picture. Often the books get left behind if they are not thought ‘good enough’ for publication. Even if they might be books the reader wants. Our presenter assured us that publishers feel vampires are a passé subject, so don’t write about them. The presenter ALSO reminded us that readers are not aware of this, so DO keep writing vampire stories if you want! All in all, it was a very short hour of tons of information on writing and becoming an indie author.

Then, I attended a class called ‘Writing the West’. Which took me a great deal of time to find and when I did, I was slightly disappointed. I anticipated it was a class on writing about the west---it wasn’t. Rick Steber is an author who wrote stories set in Eastern Or and areas like ours and he read from those stories. He is a wonderful reader as well as an author, so it was entertaining.  From there I went across the hall to one of the best classes I visited all weekend.

Writing Contemporary Fairy Tales by Ki Russell. She is a new professor at our local community college and I would love to take a class from her. We had a great deal of fun in her class and it was just that. She talked about how to use fairy tale themes in a modern story and was personable and fun. One of her comments, “You are making a brand new world: but it HAS to work.”

I skipped out on the rest of the day, fully intending to come back on Saturday. But, once again, I was late. Not only was I late, I was an hour behind!!!!!! So, I missed a class I really really wanted to take about blog writing and finally figured out where another class was that opened my eyes in a wonderful way. That class was called the Art of Imitating and Shadow writing, by a poet by the name of Jerry Brunoe. Now, I am certain I can write the story for Rod and Rick! Tales of the Mountain Ranch are on the way!!!

The next session I was able to attend was interesting since I was so unaware of the topic. Libraries and Intellectual Freedom. WOW!!! I had no idea librarians ever used to try to ‘be the stop lights’ for the ‘well being of the youth’.  Not all of the librarians thought this way, but it happened. The presenter gave us examples of good and bad and ugly librarian practices and made me very thankful that I have  had good librarians in my past. This was a fascinating class and I was very sad it was only an  hour. It was attended by many librarians from our area and I would have liked to hear how they practice being ‘good librarians’ to their patrons. Libraries are a neutral place in our community and I’m proud to be on the board of a library who stands there.

The last class I attended this weekend was a forum on the future of publishing. This was eye opening. Writing has so many different genres in it and not all of them are geared for e reading. For example, one publisher from Portland publishes mostly non-fiction and although, they do sell them in e format, they sell maybe a couple a month. Which makes sense. If you have a how to book, you would like to be able to haul it around in areas that may not be conducive to an ebook format. Like if you need to look something up and you are outside in dirt or water. One of the authors on the panel was a young woman from Pendleton, Sarah Woodbury. She tried writing and getting published the traditional way and couldn’t. She went indie and now—well, check out her website!

I am really glad I was able to attend this workshop and even more impressed I was able to meet so many authors from the Umatilla County. I had no idea there were so many published writers out here~