Wednesday, January 10, 2007
FINDING THAT METAPHORICAL GLASS BALL...
6:30 am and 74 degrees.
Here I am. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We were a week out of Honolulu heading toward San Francisco. I always knew these Japanese glass floats could be found on beaches, both in the Pacific Northwest where I was raised, and in Hawaii. In fact, when I was assisting in shark research on Midway Atoll, I found a small one nestled in the sand after a storm.
I knew there had to be some floating around out in the water, but it's a big ocean. I kept my eyes peeled.
TURN THE BOAT AROUND! I cried.
How do we get it?
Hold my heels and dangle me off the side! I said.
I scooped it up.
A treasure. In the middle of the ocean. So unexpected. But I was looking, you see. I was primed for possibilities.
You may think this has nothing to do with the business of writing. But it does. It truly does.
It is the answer to several questions I have been asked.
"Tell me about the use of writers' conferences and which do you recommend." and "How did you get blurbs from Jackie Mitchard and Paul Theroux."
The Maui Writers Conference and Retreat was the best investment I have ever made in my writing career. For those of you on the east coast you may have a large selection of conferences but the intimacy of Maui and the location bring a diverse number of writers, authors, agents and editors together that makes for a unique and unbeatable networking opportunity.
I am fortunate to live in Hawaii. This is my home. I am so grateful to Shannon and John Tullius for putting on this amazing CONFERENCE.
I will talk more about conferences and retreats at some other point but suffice it to say I do not think I would be in this position now without the contacts I made there. That is where I met Jackie Mitchard who has given so generously of her time to students from the Maui conference. I recommend taking a class from Jackie to anyone of any genre. She teaches at various workshops all over the country.
Opportunity. Being in the right place at the right time. Like glass balls.
Is it luck? Good fortune? Or studied planning?
I used to teach riding lessons and have horses. Someone called me to see if I would teach Paul Theroux and his wife how to ride. They knew I was a professional trainer at one time.
I said yes.
We became acquaintances and then friends. A mutual friend let him know I had a manuscript. He offered to trade riding lessons for writing lessons. The rest is history to use one of those diabolical cliches.
He heard my ideas and told me to get busy and write. He read the first draft of LOTTERY and predicted it would my first novel published.
It appears he will be right.
It's all about glass balls.
Looking for them. Spotting them bobbing out in the ocean.
And figuring how to scoop them up.