Maybe some people feel okay about being an outcast. I'm not one of them.
Since we moved off of Long Island, I have struggled to find my niche. Working from home for 4 years didn't help me do that. We are now in Central New York, Cow Country where they think Hall and Oats is new music and they revel in the scent of cow shit that wafts everywhere.
What is a creative, white-collar, sarcastic Pagan to do in this wholesome, blue-collar, primarily Born Again community?
The Answer: Spend a week in a swanky section of Manhattan touting her writing and hanging with others that are just like her!
It was a life changing event for me. Shout out to my hubby for forwarding me a link on FB. I only had 2 days to get my entire manuscript into one document, throw in some connecting paragraphs so the the editors would have a clue what would eventually connect the dots, and get my submission in.
Then, there was an interview. Eh, that is a strong word. I felt like it was more of a getting-to-know-you conversation between me and one of the editors. We hit it off immediately. He gave me the most constructive criticism I have ever had in my life. I didn't feel at all threatened which is pretty unusual for me. We discussed what my issues were and if he felt that the writers conference could help me. The match was a good one. He knew it, I knew it. He invited me to Manhattan. I literally almost shit myself.
I have asked how many manuscripts they received, the answer, "Hundreds." So, according to the editors, many people were actually told "No". I mean, let's face it, it was a Facebook contest. For all I knew, they took everyone that would pay the money. I still don't know if this is really true, but I prefer to believe that I 'was chosen' and others were not. It gives me confidence where I have none. That some strangers, professionals in the realm of writing, think that "The Flametenders" is good enough or at least better than someone else's story.
So, off I went to The Big Apple. I left my NYC job in November of 2003 and haven't spent any real time there since then. The first day I will admit, I was overwhelmed. Were there always THIS many people here? I was staying at The Bryant Park Hotel- dayum baby. THAT was a blast! "Hello Mrs. Story, how is your day? On your way up to the 10th floor, Mrs Story? Shall I call you a cab, Mrs. Story" Aww man, I could get used to this!
Let's hope that the workshop group is as welcoming to an outcast like me as the hotel staff!
(Stay tuned for more on The Writer's Hotel Conference 2016)