Don’t forget to Pack Your Paddle: 2015 Catamaran Writers Conference at Pebble Beach

11 Aug

stevensonschool9I have long adored Frances Lefkowitz, author of To Have Not, her memoir of growing up poor in 1970’s San Francisco. It’s a wonderful memoir and it rang particularly true for me, as I had walked the same foggy streets. In her book, Frances treats her mother sympathetically. It’s a book full of life lessons for everyone.

Recently, I noted that Frances would be one of the instructors at a writer’s gathering in Petaluma, where we both live. I went and was finally able to blather to her personally about how much I admire her as a writer. We spent some time in a circle of chairs with our knees bumping as the tiny group soaked up her wonderful (and generous) ideas on writing. In the days that followed I was emboldened to “like” her on Facebook.

So it’s all my fault that I’m now packing my paddle for the Catamaran Writer’s Conference at Pebble Beach, which kicks off this Wednesday.

Because when Frances posted on her Facebook page that there were still a few spots left at the gathering and that she’s be teaching, I decided to plunge in.

Hosted by the Catamaran literary journal, it is a gathering of amazing teachers, publishers, poets and writers all focused on a 4-day sleep-away camp focused on THE WORK. Held at the (very fancy private) Stevenson School, attendees will live in dorm rooms, (no fridges for beer; I asked) take classes, listen to lectures, and share their works in progress. I’m signed up to follow Frances around like a loyal little terrier, as a member of the non-fiction cohort. Each participant submitted up to 10 pages of work in progress.

The group leader then posts all the submissions within each group, you know, so you can read everyone else’s stuff and they can read YOUR STUFF. That’s where it got scary for me, because it looks like a couple of my fellow writer’s are college professors and others have fabulous books I could never write and as I wonder how to sneak beer on campus, I also imagine them busy organizing Power Point presentations about their next opus to share during breaks.

So what am I working on?

I’m finally going to tackle a companion book to Toxic Mom Toolkit that lays out how to go No Contact. My submission to the Catamaran Conference was a Frankenstein-ing-ly-rough cut of a minor chapter entitled, Dead Toxic Mothers: Why Breaking Up Is So Hard To Do.

I feel like a buck-toothed 5th grader, deciding what dress to wear on the first day of 6th grade. I keep wondering what the other writers made of that chapter.  I also wonder if I’ve been terribly spoiled by the toxic mom community, who laugh at all my jokes and totally get the entire Toxic Mom vocabulary and viewpoint. Wish me luck!

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4 Responses to “Don’t forget to Pack Your Paddle: 2015 Catamaran Writers Conference at Pebble Beach”

  1. Claire August 11, 2015 at 5:09 am #

    Good luck! I’m sure you’ll paddle along just fine.

    • collectingjourneys August 11, 2015 at 5:10 am #

      Thank you!

  2. dyane August 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Okay, my new turquoise-loving friend/classmate, I just wrote up a little somethin’ something on my blog last night about how awesome you were yesterday, as tired as I was.

    You were a HIT! I’m so, so happy you’re in my group. C’mon, I bought “Toxic Mom Toolkit” last night and I’m one picky gal when it comes to what I buy for my third child/a.k.a. my Kindle Fire.

    You’re an amazing writer. You were also a lovely speaker. I’d pick you to pinch-hit for me if for some crazy reason I became a teacher and I needed someone to introduce me to our group and lead the discussion if I got caught in traffic.

    Don’t let others’ credentials freak you out too much. (ha, like I should talk – I feel the same way!) Your background and the popularity of your 1st book aren’t too shabby! Not to mention your off-the-hook writing talent and the fact you have such valuable information/encouragement to offer readers through your books! 🙂 You rock!

  3. Elizabeth August 14, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

    They are lucky to have you there.

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