I had a whirlwind trip to Florida for writing events, and family visits. My 90-year old mother and two brothers live in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and I can’t really travel to the Sunshine State without time to feel the warmth of family.
The primary purpose for my Florida long weekend was to attend, and participate in, the celebration of writing education that is the annual Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference. This year held in Tampa. This 5-day gathering of 12,000 writing students, teachers, lovers of books and writing, and writing luminaries is an immersive experience.
The panel I participated in: “Nothing Happens Nowhere” was a Friday afternoon discussion about setting and the Siren’s call to home in LGBTQ writing. Moderated by author/teacher: Paula Martinac (The Ada Decades) and including panelists/teachers Serkan Gorkemli, Amy Hoffman, and Carter Sickels.
It was an interesting conversation about the intersectionality of themes when focusing on the craft of setting in LGBTQ writing.
I also attended the LGBTQ Writers Caucus, and the room was abuzz with energy and good ideas for increasing the presence of LGBTQ-themed panels for the 2019 AWP conference.
On Sunday in St. Pete, I joined five other lesbian writers to read from our varied works at the fabulous Queen’s Head restaurant/bar. The other authors were Stefani Deoul, Gale Massey, Elizabeth Sims, Alison Soloman, and Rachel Spangler. The event, hosted and moderated by Tiffany Razzano of Wordier Than Thou, a Florida super supporter of all things book related, was well attended by a group of attentive readers on the Queen’s Head patio and was a laugh-filled, collegial gathering of old friends and new. Fellow Bywater Books author, Stefani Deoul worked with Tiffany to organize our time together.
The two reading events were the perfect writer’s life bookends to the dynamics of family.
Come to think of it, I’m very grateful to both my biological and writing families.