Storymakers Conference Day 1

Fragments of thoughts bounce around in my brain, but they are slippery – like fish. Just as I think I’ve got a grip on one that might be the beginning of a coherent blog post, my hands close on nothing and I’m left with a blankness which I’m sure was filled with brilliance only a minute ago. (Obviously my thought fish are brightly colored koi.) I shall stop trying to catch them and instead just follow where they swim.

I’ve spent the day at Storymakers Conference. I taught a class solo, using only my voice to convey information about managing finances. Only when the class was over did I realize that we’d been using powerpoint lighting instead of the bright light which was available. In hindsight I’m glad. The dimmer light was more soothing and perhaps made the contemplation of accounting feel less daunting. At some point accounting stopped daunting me. I wonder when that happened.

I was nervous before the presentation, but not during it. Once the words begin to flow, I’m solid and know exactly what to say. Sometimes it ends up being things that I didn’t put into my speaker notes. But the best moment of any presentation is when I say something and I see one of the faces in front of me change. In that moment I know that whatever my words were, they were exactly what they needed to be. A lecture on accounting is short on emotional bonding moments, but hopefully filled with usefulness.

As I walked the halls of the conference, I saw dozens of familiar faces. As I scanned badges I saw dozens of familiar names. This year I’m making an extra effort to attach the names and faces to each other. I’m trying to imprint them into my tired brain so that I’ll be able to recall them when I meet these people again in a context sans name badges. There are so many marvelous people. I want to sit down and talk with all of them for hours. I suppose this is why I spent a large portion of my day sitting in the green room. People filtered in and out and I got to have quick conversations with many of them.

The mass signing was a dismaying event at first, a room packed with tables and people. Gradually they sorted themselves into seated authors and standing attendees. Though often authors would jump up and stand in line to get their books signed. My spot in the room was unfortunately poorly suited for people watching, but I had excellent neighbors. One attendee sought me out with Cobble Stones in hand for me to sign. Another viewed Hold on to Your Horses with such awe, that it revived in me my own love of the book and made me want to finally finish writing the follow up book. More thoughts on that are necessary. I’ve also emerged from today’s conversations with three places to query and a reminder that a friend really would like me to write an article for the magazine where he works. I was also able to gift copies of Cobble Stones to a pair of book bloggers, and they lit up with delight at the gift. Being able to end the day with concrete evidence that my presence improved someone else’s day, that’s a good thing.

And all the thoughts have darted into hiding. Time to sleep now. Another conference day is ahead of me tomorrow.