Meeting Slicers

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.

lunch

friends 2

us

Tomorrow I will continue to meet Slicers. Judy and Michelle are meeting me in Branson. I can’t wait!

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27 thoughts on “Meeting Slicers

  1. Tam says:

    I’m glad I got my hug in early, Elsie! I was going to go over to your table when I noticed half the people were gone and so were you. It looked and felt like a family reunion–how special was this! I wanted to talk with you more, too. How special is it that someone who is shy, begins to write, and a whole new world opens up!!! That’s what writing has done for me, too. Since my retirement, I have spent at least one day or morning for the workshop, but this year, my schedule was with my family on those days. I’m sorry and regret that I missed the next day. If you come next year, I will make sure to meet with you. In the meantime, I will follow your blog, knowing that pen pals still exist.

  2. Elsie, I’m finally getting around to finishing reading slices after my two days of curriculum planning, a book group with fellow teachers this morning, and my final visit to school. I always make a vow to stay away during the month of July. I’ll always remember meeting you and that very comfortable feeling of knowing you immediately. Thanks for sharing breakfast that last morning!

  3. Oh, my-what fun! I saw others’ pictures from the conference and immediately felt a tiny bit jealous of how you all got to meet up together-I will save the date for next year and try to join in as well. I would be so fantastic to meet up with you and other fellow slicers. What a grand time…

  4. I think All Write was a gift to so many. I still chuckle to myself about when you were introducing yourself at dinner and I gasped out loud. As wonderful as sharing online is, there is something very special about meeting someone in person. So glad you have Branson as well. Enjoy!!

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. I love it! I have not made it to All Write yet, but I have wanted to attend. It must have been wonderful to put voices with the stories we read each week. I’d say it must have been great to put faces and personalities with the writing, but I think we get a pretty good sense of that from reading. I’m so glad you went and had such a great time.

    One of these days…
    Cathy

  6. aaah, I’m getting so jealous of all of you who got to meet each other! I’m definitely making room in my plans for All-Write someday… too bad it seems to always conflict with my local Writing Project’s Summer Institutes. I loved the way you pointed out that “There was no awkward pausing, we were friends getting together for a meal.” Isn’t the closeness our words have built amazing?

  7. You said it beautifully! My heart is still soaring with the sharing and laughter of our times together. You brought me joy! I look forward to continuing the friendship through words! 🙂

  8. Terje says:

    I could see you smiling when you were writing this slice. I loved to see the group pictures with all the smiles. I am smiling for all the positive feelings the meeting brought about. Of course I wish I had been there. I will move on to read other reflections on the meeting and conference.

  9. I think that these slices have allowed us to share our feelings and stories with fellow slicers who accept us as we are – no judgments or criticisms, just acceptance. I’m looking forward to our visit tomorrow and getting to know you better.

  10. I started with your slice Elsie and then proceeded to click on all your links to find more All Write reflection slices and after reading and pondering and commenting, I’m finally back. What a whirlwind trip of anticipation and excitement and learning, but what has oozed from each of the reflective posts was the connections made. We have built these strong ties and connections in the comfort (Linda’s word of the day) of our homes and the writing community — and thus we continually learn from each other. This is exactly the type of relationships we need to build in our classrooms so that our students feel connected and are ready to learn from each other in a safe and comfortable place. I loved Robin’s words: “…like getting to step inside the pages of long-favorite book.” Perfect said!

    I loved hearing about your trip – and hope to learn so much more about you tomorrow! More anticipation, but more excitement to come! Just look for the wild and crazy three year olds! 🙂

  11. I love how you connected the writers to their blog. Very thoughtful. I hope to join in one of the future experiences. Writing and sharing everyone’s blog has been a wonderful experience!

  12. I can completely identify with your description at dinner. I, too, am one to sit back in a crowd. But when a group of slicers gets together, it is like a gathering of old friends before words are even spoken. It was so nice to spend time walking and talking and sitting and eating and learning together. Michelle and Judy are in for a treat!

  13. It was really great to get to meet you Elsie! I’m the same way, quiet in new situations or with new people, but it was comfortable being together. It was quite an experience to meet all the people I have been reading so much about…like getting to step inside the pages of long-favorite book.

  14. This was so fun to get your perspective. I’m going through and reading everyone’s slices and it is almost as good as being there. And love that now you get to meet Michelle and Judy. How cool!

  15. Wow…reading your slice makes me feel as though I was right there, in those group shots. How marvelous for everyone that so many slicers were there to enjoy the learning…and each others’ company, Elsie!

  16. How fun!!! I love how the internet (oddly enough) brings us closer together. Can’t wait to read more about your AllWrite experience and hopefully I’ll see you there one day!

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