Do you understand sensory overload? I mean, truly, can you possibly comprehend that moment when your electrical circuits receive more juice than they can handle and they shut down, with breakers tripping, lights dimming? This week, I not only understand this concept, I am living it.
After finishing my manuscript (or so I thought), I began a comprehensive search on writersmarket.com to find the perfect agent. The one who was simply awaiting my story and somehow felt incomplete without it. In my research, I discovered that several of these agents attend major writers’ conferences each year. With breathless excitement, I “googled” the conferences listed. With one exception, every conference had already occurred and the 2005 season of conferences had come to a close. That one exception was Glorieta Christian Writer’s Conference outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I could hardly believe it when the agents I specifically wanted to meet listed Glorieta as a conference they attend. Not only that, but the conference had not yet occurred for this year. The date of my discovery was October 14, 2005. I remember this because it is my sister-in-law’s birthday and my family and I had traveled to St. Augustine to celebrate it with her. Instead, I spent the entire weekend printing, researching, and exploring everything I could find about Glorieta and the conference. This, I breathlessly told my husband, was THE place to be. Oh, and the only place left this year. For whatever purpose, God has placed a supportive and wonderful husband in my life and that husband said, “Go!” So I went.
And now that I’m here, it’s not simply a lack of oxygen or thin air at this altitude of 7500 feet that is getting to me. It’s the information. I have learned more in two and a half days than I have since college. I graduated in 1991. Fourteen years ago. I am exhilarated, energized, and downright giddy about getting home to Florida where I may finally put into practice all the things I’ve learned here. And I still have a day and a half left! Needless to say, I have been humbled and educated this week. And the agents, while polite and extremely informative, are not feeling that incompleteness without my manuscript that I imagined. So while I arrived with a complete manuscript, I am leaving with something altogether different. And the beauty of this knowledge is that it is okay! In fact, it is good. It’s fantastic. As one agent told me today, “You have identified a major flaw and corrected it. You can hardly take anything better than that away from this conference.” Amen!
I now have a clear starting point, a clear genre and clearly defined protagonist, antagonist and villain roles. I long for the time when I can once again sit at my desk at home, not overwhelmed by all that is here, and write. In the meantime, I felt I could at least blog once. My friend and first line editor, Rita, asked me the other night, “When are you going to blog about Glorieta?” It exhausted me to my very core to think about coming back to my hotel room and actually working. Until tonight. Now I’m ready, after my last day of courses, to get back to work, a better informed, better educated writer. And when people ask me what I do? Now I can say with confidence, “I am a writer.”
On a side note, Santa Fe and the surrounding area (which includes Glorieta) is simply beautiful. The Aspen trees are in full fall splendor and their vibrant yellow leaves are like fingertips of sunshine, reaching out to touch all those who pass by. I bask in their golden glow and I am yet again amazed at the creativity my Maker possesses. No dull and boring being could come up with something as striking as brilliant yellow leaves to express his creativity. Indescribable, as Chris Tomlin the musician puts it, is an apt description of God and His glory. He expects so much from us, but just stop and look around. What glory and splendor He gives us freely in return!
I will be home late Sunday night, just in time to take my kids trick or treating on Monday. Maybe once the air thickens and oxygen returns to my brain and I am not as high (literally and figuratively) as I am now, I will be able to make better sense of what I have experienced here.
In the meantime, I will bask in the Aspen Glow.