Attending the All Write conference allowed me to learn from professionals I have admired, but that’s not the highlight of those conference days. When I think back on what I remember the most, it has to be meeting those I think of as my friends who write.
I left early Wednesday morning from my father-in-laws home which is just west of St. Louis. I figured it would take me about seven hours. As I drove, my heart would begin to pound from the sheer anticipation of the next two days when I thought about who I would be meeting. The miles flew by and before I knew it I was in Warsaw.
Just after I had checked in, I was hauling my luggage to the room when I noticed someone appeared to be having difficulty with the key in the lock. A hotel staff member helped her out just as I reached the door. She turned, looked at me, and said, “I know you.” Then she disappeared down the hall. My mind raced, I decided that had to be Nanc from Two Years and Finishing Strong. I deposited my stuff in the room then went wandering down the hall to see if I could find her. I didn’t, so I returned to my room for a few minutes. The next time I stepped into the hall, she was there and it was Nanc. We hugged, chatted, and planned to meet to check in at the conference together.
We were about to leave the registration when Nanc spotted Ruth. What an exciting moment for me! Plus Mary Helen (Book Savors) and Deb G. (Delivering Reading Passion) were also there. More hugs all around! This was just the beginning of a perpetual smile on my face.
Mary Helen chauffeured us to the restaurant where the Slicers and Tweeps were gathering. Here is where I need to confess, I am not a particularly outgoing personality. In new situations or with new people, I will sit back and observe, deciding whether or not this is something I want to participate in. I didn’t have to do that last week. I already knew so much about the people that surrounded me. I wanted to know more, so questions were asked and answered. There was no awkward pausing, we were friends getting together for a meal. So much happy chatter surrounded us. At times the noise level reached a school cafeteria din. I kept expecting a reprimand. Fortunately none came. I sat across from Betsy and Robin and discovered they were teammates. Hopefully their friend, Tina will be convinced to join in the slicing world. Ramona was beside me with Nanc next to her. Cathy was at the other end. That was just our table. There were more tables filled with friends from cyberspace.
I tried to relax, I knew I would have two more days with Linda, Christy, Bonnie, Mary Helen, and Ruth. I didn’t know this was my only opportunity to visit with Tam. I am so sad that we only shared a hug with a few words. Next year (I hope there will be a next year) we must talk.
I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to spend time with so many fellow Slicers. I cannot thank Ruth and Mary Helen enough for hanging out with us out-of-towners. This experience was a highlight in my life. I’m sure the people back home are sick of me talking about my new (but really you are not new) friends.
Here are a few group shots. Is that really me with Slicing friends? Yes! Wow! I never would have believed it.