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Gathering of Writers: Part one of the conference

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I have officially attended a conference on writing. I can’t believe it took this long — I am aglow with creative possibility, inspiration, and encouragement. Thanks to the annual Gathering of Writers, sponsored by the Writers’ Center of Indiana and held at Marian University (3200 Cold Spring Road) last Saturday, I now have pages of notes about directions my writing can take, especially poetry.

Things kicked off just after 10:00 a.m. in the Ruth Lilly Student Center with a keynote speech by fiction writer Elizabeth Stuckey-French. She read her speech to the crowd, which wasn’t the approach I was expecting. Though I didn’t want my senses mauled by some over-caffeinated motivational speaker, I wanted a bit more before leading into a day of workshops.

The speech ended up being a minor point. My first workshop, The Prose Poem: Dreaming Inside the Box, led by David Shumate, left me with lots of ideas. I wrote down a collection of everything, from Shumate’s slight surprise that we were all “taking [the writing exercises] much more seriously than [he] would’ve imagined” to his reminder that we not “over-edit [the poem] as the dream is beginning to establish itself.” The group created a few poems by contributing lines we thought of on scraps of paper that went into a hat. I found myself scribbling down lots of ideas that occurred to me while I should’ve been listening, but creativity isn’t always patient.

Read part two of this entry on Thursday.

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