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Saturday, September 25, 2010
If you missed me last Saturday, I was busy in Indianapolis at the annual conference of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)—a most intense weekend, yet a place where one is right at home.
The schedule offers breakfast at 7, last session ending at 9, and late worship until at least 10. Short breaks throughout the day leave little room to digest the incomparable information offered in sessions on writing, publishing, and career management. For three days one is immersed in the company of some of the brightest minds, most generous hearts, and dearest in-love-with-God spirits one could hope to meet. Worship is both morning and evening, and is likely to draw tears with its passion. Now throw in meals and appointments with editors and agents—when one most wants to have a discerning mind, ears of sponge, and articulate tongue.
At "bedtime" we head to the lobby / lounge area for fellowship and a glass of [INSERT FAVORITE BEVERAGE HERE—mine's Riesling]. We should be too exhausted to function by now. But everyone is so excited to be together that even when we force ourselves to return to our hotel rooms sometime after midnight, we soak up more writer talk, reveling in the companionship, able to encourage one another in a manner unique to ourselves.
We deeply appreciate the support and sacrifices of family members which allow us to be here. Yet we also appreciate one another so much that nary a whiff of competitiveness can be found on site. It might be expected that people struggling to receive a coveted book contract would resent the authors who beat them out. Instead, words of affirmation saturate the air.
On banquet night, when the ballroom was an agreeable blend of tuxedos and formals mixed with Sunday morning casual and evening cocktail dresses, we all applauded those whose work wins recognition for excellence. We stepped into the lobby for a photo, and a circle of friends about to be photographed just happened to all be wearing elegant black and white—except for me. Not wishing to stand out, I said, "Oh, let me take the picture." Someone pulled me back into the group and said, "You can be the rose in the middle."
Such are the people I work with—Wendy and Rosslyn and Keli, Sara and Sarah, Cathy and Kathi and Katie, Christa and Christy, Heather, Erika, Cindy, Jeannie, Jody, Julie, Melanie, Randy and John and Chip and Sandra. Then there's Rachelle and Kristine, my agent and my editor. I would go on for 620 names if I could possibly remember them all. I'm grateful for every single one of them.
My weekend began with a stop to visit Snady for breakfast. Using words to make me cry, Snady later shared The Meeting with the world. We were both sad that she was to miss the conference. But I if she'd gone I'd not have had her all to myself for those 105 minutes she called an hour—the shortest hour of the whole weekend.
My trip home included a treasured but uneventful lunch stop to see my age 98 aunt, who also happens to be a writer. She seemed a little down, for the first time since I've known her, refusing to allow discussion of a one hundredth birthday party in two years. Then Thursday she quietly made her own trip home—to Jesus. I head back to Indiana next week for her funeral.
In days to come, I'll see some of those ACFW loved ones on Twitter and around the blogsphere. Some I'll likely encounter again at a conference or meet. Some I won't meet again until I see them with my aunt.
What unites me to all these dear people is not our love of recording words, but our record of loving The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. He brought us all together in different ways last weekend. His Spirit keeps us together until we make a final trip home.
I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to BuildingHisBody.com comments or e-mail me—my address is
buildingHisbody [plus] @gmail.com.
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo thanks to Keli Gwyn and Wendy Paine Miller.