Guess where I was on the weekend…
Come on, give it a shot.
I’ll give you a hint: I was in FREAKIN’ Texas, baby. TEXAS!
Yup, you read that correctly. I hopped on a plane Thursday morning and spent the weekend at the Dallas Fort Worth Writers’ Conference (http://dfwwritersconference.org/) in Hurst, Texas.
“Why’d you go all the way to Texas when there’s a perfectly good conference twenty minutes from where you live?” you might ask. Well, the answer is two-fold: I thought it would be really cool to travel somewhere I’d never been, and I wanted to meet my agent.
“But why not New York?” Have you seen the price of anything in New York? I didn’t win the lottery here, people. I still need to feed and clothe my family as well as keep a roof over their heads.
Besides, Texas was awesome. Seriously awesome.
Oh, and did I mention I got to meet my agent?
I know many writers never meet their agents in person in this increasingly digital age, but I guess I’m a little old-fashioned. If I’m going to have a relationship with someone (albeit a long distance business one), I kinda want to meet them. I don’t mean I went with the intent of “interviewing” her to make sure we were a good fit – we figured that out during our first phone call – but to confirm all those positive vibes I’ve been getting from our correspondences.
And let’s face it, being able to say, “Oh, I had lunch/drinks/went to the world’s largest Honky Tonk with my agent,” is a pretty good conversation stopper at work the following week. I may have added “New York” and/or “literary” in front of agent, or not. Okay, maybe. Seriously, it’s a cool thing to be able to say, right?
Don’t worry, I did more than network, drink, and attend workshops while in the Lonestar State. In fact, I looked upon my trip as sort of a cultural expedition. Texas is about as different from Vancouver as you can get while still remaining on the same continent, so I figured I’d be on the lookout for, and appreciate, some of those differences.
Here’s what I learned in Texas:
- Jodi Thomas (http://www.jodithomas.com/) is absolutely hilarious and should be on every author’s list of people to take a class from (especially when she talks about killing hitch-hikers and burying them in Walmart construction sites);
- everything, including the toilet stalls at the airport, is bigger in Texas;
- a restaurant bill is sometimes referred to as a “ticket;”
- one should not mix Bellini’s and Long Islands if one wants to avoid a hangover the next morning;
- Billy Bob’s Texas is the world’s largest Honky Tonk, and has a real live bull riding ring INSIDE THE BAR;
- one should never step on a swarm of fire ants;
- I like guacamole if it is fresh;
- the train between Fort Worth and Dallas does not run on Sundays;
- thirty-two degrees Celsius is actually quite pleasant with a stiff breeze and no humidity;
- most authors take 99% of their “knocks” before getting published;
- the truly brave are the ones who get up that 100th time;
- if a sauce is called, “Inferno” it is not likely mild and should be eaten in small amounts;
- some roller coasters are NOT fun; and,
- I have the best, and most wonderful, agent on the planet.
I’m sure I learned a few other things (like how to launch a successful social media campaign, and the latest scoop on the changing face of publishing), but the bulleted list contains the things that really stand out for me. Especially that last one.
I want to thank the organizers and volunteers of DFWCon for putting on such a great conference. I also want to thank every Texan I met for being so open and caring toward the crazy Canadian wandering in their midst.
Oh, and Becky? You’re the best.