Saturday, June 04, 2005


Writers are strange birds. We all begin as ducklings before the metaphorical transformation to swans. We love words. Some of us love the spoken word as much as the written word. The emergence of the internet and the plethora of online groups that grew from that first collection of interest-based bulletin boards have created virtual taverns where simulated spirits are downed with cyber conversation. On my way back from Britain, I stopped over in New York City for the Backspace Writer’s Conference and a visit to Book Expo America, the USA’s premier publishing marketplace and conference.

Where BEA was overwhelming in size and scope, the Backspace Writer’s Conference was cozy and competent in providing a physical setting for a virtual tavern where professional advice is poured as generously as idle chatter. The conference brought together several of publishing’s top literary agents, editors, established authors and rising stars—some of whom are not yet published.

Most of the weblationships I’ve built through the years have been through writer’s groups. I never was a pen-pal kind of girl who sought friends among strangers. Looking back, I think a pen pal might have been a good thing during the awkward years of adolescence when my peers were turning into swans and I was still a duckling. In the fiction world I’m still something of a duckling. The promise of the transformation is visible—my neck is lengthening, my feathers are turning—but they’re just not quite there. The online peers who’ve made the transformation—some of whom have molted dozens of times with books of magnificent achievement—dole out encouragement as much as those still itching from the knobby feather buds prickling their skin.

1 comment:

suhad said...

There is a lot to learn from the words of others. Very lovely post indeed. :)