Tears are a good indication that, as a team, you are doing something right. When I first saw one of the 2010 Ontario Writers’ Conference registrants coming up from her Blue Pencil Mentor Session with a pool of un-fallen tears collecting in the corners of her eyes, I was a bit hesitant to ask her what was wrong. And then her face bloomed into one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. When she tried to speak, her breath caught in her throat. She was too happy to form an intelligent sentence.
When she was finally able to communicate to me what was on her mind, I felt another pang of justification for the long hours of planning we put into the conference every year. Her session was with an agent and the agent had asked her to send her manuscript in when it was completed!
And in 2011, I caught a moment of sheer exhilaration as Wayson Choy’s lecture let out. The crowd was silly with childish glee. And there were butterflies everywhere. When Wayson does something, he does it big! I couldn’t count the butterflies and I couldn’t count the smiles. Origami had taken over at the 2011 Ontario Writers’ Conference. (-: It was a sight to behold. And I beamed…because I pictured all those writers going home to their keyboards, setting their origami butterflies in a place of honour…and typing away with a newfound exuberance for the words they create.
That’s what we do this for…to hear success stories from writers who brave the nervous uncertainty of surrounding themselves with industry professionals for the opportunity to make positive changes in their paths to publication. To see the creativity of writers blossom into something bigger than it was when they arrived at the doors in the morning, eager to begin their day.
Every year as we committee members are running around making sure everything is moving as smoothly as possible, we come into contact with writers in the midst of a joyous moment…of discovery, truth, solidarity, success, enlightenment or recognition. Doesn’t matter what it is. If we see that glint on a passing face, the pool of tears collecting in wide-open unblinking eyes…well, we know. We know that the whole year of planning was worth the effort. That’s why we do what we do…as volunteers for a not-for-profit organization, our payback is in knowing that what we gathered together on the conference day has touched the life of a writer.
If you see one of the conference organizers walking around on the day of the conference with a beaming glow on their face, you’ll know they just stumbled across a registrant in the midst of an aha moment of bliss. Their success is our success! We’ll never get tired of seeing the fruits of our labour!
So when you come to the 2012 conference on May 5th, come with an open heart and mind. Come with bubbling potential. Come with hope and nervous wonder and a willingness to believe in the miraculous. We know we’re not going to change the world in any major way…but we certainly hope to bring a little change to your world.
…word by word
Visit the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE YouTube Station – We have a large selection of previous speakers to view at our dedication YouTube channel.
Visit the Ontario Writers’ Conference website to find out about the 2012 conference! We hope to see you there!
The 2012 Ontario Writers’ Conference takes place on Saturday May 5th at Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility in Ajax, Ontario…just minutes from downtown Toronto. All registrants receive FREE entry to the Friday evening FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS. If you cannot make it to the conference, you can still come out Friday evening to the Festival of Authors (Tickets- $20).