I was surprised at how much the writing conference felt like camp. Camp, of course, does have its positives: being outside, the games and chatting with new friends. But there’s also the other side, with the tiny beds, cafeteria food and Kumbaya energy.
Each writer is placed into a focused group for the week with whom generative work is shared and discussed every morning. However in the evening, all of the groups come together to attend readings where each writer takes a turn in presenting their work to an audience. And this is where the groups become competitive, trying to outcheer one another. For me it had the opposite effect, as the hoots and hollers did not appear to be about supporting the writer, but in trying to win some kind of enthusiasm badge.
It was an odd tenor for me, given that writers tend toward introversion, which maybe was the point, a chance to be kids again. But I couldn’t help but think it’s time for me shout out, “Seriously!?” and see what they do with that. But I didn’t. I was afraid of censure. And even now, in writing about this, I think about that.