SLICE Literary Writer’s Conference 2019 (Brooklyn, New York, September 7-8)
Thanks to a scholarship from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance (MWPA)--the Ilgenfritz Scholarship, WOOHOO!!!--I was able to attend this amazing conference! And it was my first time in New York City! I was able to see bits and pieces of NYC: Grand Central Terminal and Midtown (including Times Square--that's in Midtown, right?), the subway (many times), the New York Public Library, Central Park, bits of Brooklyn the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. It was surreal, actually seeing these iconic places that I’ve previously only read about or seen in so many visual media forms.
But the city was just a backdrop for the real show: the SLICE Literary Conference! From the warm greeting in the lobby of St. Francis College to the opportunities to mingle and met other writers, the atmosphere of the conference was one of inclusiveness and welcome. Most of the learning opportunities were one-hour panels of authors/agents/publishers talking about either the craft side of writing or the business side of writing. It was so helpful to hear about elements of a query letter from a group of agents, or the importance of a platform from a publishing marketing/sales/promotion team, or how authors stay inspired and productive--from the authors themselves.
Highlights of the weekend included a workshop on structure with Ted Thompson (super helpful!!), and author interviews with Mira Jacobs and T Kira Madden. These two amazing writers talked about their process and struggles and how their writing stems from wrestling with the hard questions that they can’t shake. At one point Mira Jacobs said that when she was writing about hurtful experiences, she focused on writing for clarity, not for vindication. “I’m not trying to explain what a monster looks like; I’m trying to explain what love looks like,” she said. As a writer still finding my intentional arcs when writing personal narratives, her words resonated with me, helping me understand how and why emotionally-fraught impulses can be so easy to turn into an expose or vengeance, and how to instead focus on them as opportunities for healing and authenticity.
Now back in Maine, I have a notebook full of notes and a folder full of handouts and a mind full of impressions and memories. This was truly an amazing experience! I’m so grateful that I was given the means and opportunity to attend. Thank you, MWPA!!