Write Canada 2011: Better Late Than Never

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Phew. I returned home late Saturday evening from my first Christian Writing Conference–exhausted, exhilarated, and emotionally charged.

My, oh, my. That was two weeks ago.

After unpacking, I caught some zees, fired off emails to new writing buddies, poured over a trunk load of reading material and read two books.

After arriving at the Guelph Bible Conference grounds in Guelph, Ontario, I was waved into an oasis by towering trees that lined both sides of the winding driveway. Ah, peace and tranquility. A place to rejuvenate. The perfect location to forget about the busyness of life.A greeter extended an arm, almost shoving the palm of her hand against my car’s windshield. I depressed the black button on the armrest and down came the driver’s window.

“Good morning,” said a perky voice, “is this your first time attending Write Canada?”

I grinned. “As a matter of fact, it is.”

“Will you be staying on site?”

I stalled for time, inspecting my nails, well aware that off-site guests were required to park a ten minute walk away.

I shook my head from side-to-side. “N-No. I’m staying—

The lady poked her head through the window, turned her head and pointed towards the overflow parking lot. “You’ll have to park over there. Unless—

I sat forward and gripped the steering wheel. “Unless what?”

“You have a disability.”

My eyebrows rose. “Oh, I do.”

Empathy flooded her chocolate-brown eyes.

I cleared my throat. “Well…I am wearing high-heeled shoes and if I have to walk all that way I will be disabled.” I sucked in a breath wondering if she would let me through. Or, would she scowl, click her tongue in disgust and banish me from the grounds.

A smile curled her top lip. “All right then. Drive around to the back of the last building.”

I blew out a blast of hot air. “Thank you. Thank you—

I yanked on the button and the window slid up before she had a change of heart.

I parked the car, climbed out and gazed at the clear cobalt sky. A perfect start to the weekend.

A burgundy car rolled in beside mine. A warm breeze floated into a petite woman’s open window. “Is-is it okay to park here?” she asked.

I smirked. Another newbie had arrived. I mustered a tone of authority. “Of course you can park here.”

A brilliant idea lodged in my brain. I had a mission to complete.

I don’t enjoy being alone and I’m certain the other first timers must be feeling the same way. Hmm…I’ll band together enough newbies and help them and myself overcome this fear. Besides, there’s safety in numbers, I thought.

I threw back my shoulders. “Hi. My name is Tracy.”

“I’m Arlene.” She chest heaved, relieved.

The mother hen had collected her first newbie chick. By the end of the conference I had amassed an army.

For the next three days I ran ragged–so much for peace and tranquility.

I dashed from one workshop to the next. Squeezed in facility and critique appointments. Purchased books. Overcame my fear of writing. That is, after listening to outstanding motivational speakers who presented God-inspired tales.

I mustn’t forget to mention the aroma wafting out into the halls that lured me into a banquet room fit for a queen. The food was delicious. Oh, and I slept a few hours a night.

For me, the highlight was meeting so many talented writers. Not only did I receive encouragement, but God’s love radiated like a beacon of light. Not one person bragged about their accomplishments. Their humility blew me away. And I made a slew of new friends.

Thank you Write Canada for such an amazing conference. This was the best investment I’ve made in quite some time.

I’m now revved up, ready and raring to write.

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About Tracy Campbell

Tracy Campbell is a published artist of calendars, wrapping paper, and gift cards, and as an author of how-to-paint magazine articles, her happy heart sings again sharing the work of her hands through "Calm Coloring: Faith, Hope & Love (Art and Soul Therapy for Kids-At-Heart)". When Tracy's not writing, she loves to sharpen pencils, flip open paint lids, and yank off marker caps to create whimsical works of art just for ewe. Customers say her art is sweet and so warm the designs might leap off the page and land right in your heart. She lives with her hubby and fur baby in Wasaga Beach (the Canadian tourist town known for having the longest freshwater beach in the world). Tracy is also a rare breed dog owner, chocoholic, motorcycle mamma, antique lover, and a collector of roosters and sheep (thankfully, not live ones).

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