I just arrived home from the Golden Crown Literary Society annual conference in Las Vegas and what a great event it was. Spending four days with fellow writers, readers, reviewers, and like-minded souls does wonderful things to the mind, body, and spirit. Tucked away in my corner of the Pacific Northwest, I work alone crafting my stories of romance, danger, and all things that go bump in the night. I find great satisfaction and joy in my work and I can’t image a world where I’m not allowed to let my imagination run free. Still, it is a lonely endeavor and I cherish the times I can stand side-by-side with friends who share my passion and understand me like others cannot. No judgment. No competition. No distain. Rather it is open arms, open minds, and open hearts. A lot of laugher and joy sprinkled in as well.
This year was particularly joyful for me. It has been several years since I had an opportunity to attend a GCLS conference and I was sorely missing my friends and the liveliness of the GCLS as a whole. I felt the energy and light the moment I stepped into the room. My heart immediately filled with joy and there was more to come. Great panels. Tremendous learning opportunities. Fantastic Readings. But wait, there was yet more to come.
Friday afternoon, I sat quietly in the back of the large room observing the lively auction for mystery boxes donated in support of the GCLS scholarship fund. It was so much fun to watch. Suddenly, I was no longer alone at the big round table. Dorothy Allison…THE Dorothy Allison…sat down next to me. Several years earlier Dorothy had given a talk during the GCLS gathering in New Orleans. It was a speech that brought me to tears and I’d always wanted to tell her how much it had meant to me. As we sat side-by-side in that big room in Las Vegas, I realized my chance had arrived. Taking a big breath and summoning courage, I introduced myself and proceeded, in a halting fan-girl kind of way, to tell her how her words on that hot afternoon in New Orleans had touched my heart. Gracious as ever, she smiled and thanked me for telling her my story. We spent the next twenty minutes or so chatting about this and that (including purple fur fans and the options of what one can do with said purple fur fans!) It made the whole trip for me.
Friday was a glorious day for me but Saturday brought the best yet. As the 2018 GCLS Trailblazer honoree, Dorothy once more stood before us. Again her words were honest, heartfelt, and courageous. Again, she touched me, and I suspect everyone else in the room, to the very soul. She called us all to action. To be strong. To stand mighty. To speak our truth. I hope I have the chance to sit with Dorothy again and to tell her how once more, she made me cry (in a good way). To tell her how much it meant to take that little bit of her day and sit with me. To tell her how I heard her that Saturday night and that I promise to be strong, to stand mighty, and to speak my truth.