Here's just before I left the house Saturday morning. (It's hiding behind my tote there, but my belly's full of egg and cheese casserole, cantalope, and cherry turnover. Mmm.) We joked about "my first day of school," because I had a few butterflies. But despite my excited smile, I was really neither bright-eyed nor bushy-tailed. (That didn't come until after coffee later...)
So knowing my mom and aunt had plans with my daughters (the hubs stayed home for work), thus creating freedom for me, I set off for downtown Omaha.
I parked several blocks from the venue and started out on foot, seeing these beautiful scenes along the way. Funny, the two extremes.
The Fest commenced at Aromas Coffee House, where you could fuel up and peruse the participating authors' titles. I didn't buy any books (shocking!) but had an absolutely nummy... drum roll, please... iced mocha (not shocking!).
Then I walked a block and a half to the Bemis Center, where all hour-long panel discussions took place. Two rooms were set up and, depending upon the topic you wanted to see, you could float between the two. (If you're curious, you can click on the link above and see the discussion topics under events.)
The whole ambience was urban, sophisticated, artsy, liberal. It was a very cool experience. But, though I'd expected it, I learned the genres and topics discussed had more to do with literary fiction and what I'll call "gritty" non-fiction than anything I typically write. That said, there was a lot discussed that didn't resound with me... yet still a whole heckuvalot that did. Regardless of medium or content, much hit on more general writerly themes, and I absorbed it all. I loved sitting there, inconspicuous and quiet, listening. I took gobs of notes and snagged some take-home literature.
Though the authors and panelists were none I'd ever heard of, they're all successful within their niches. It was great to hear their stories of work and success, to see what they've made of their careers. The experience was a definite encouragement that propelled my desires, and assured me of the place I fit into within the literary world.
My hope was that I would get my toes wet, and feel ready to take on a workshop or conference. And I think I'm ready!
I hope everyone had as great a weekend as I did. And I hope you have a great week with lots of writerly accomplishment!
PS. Sorry for the smooshed-together format. I tried to fix it, but when pictures are added it saves and publishes the way it wants to. *sigh*