Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back from the Grand Strand

I just returned from the South Carolina Writers Workshop conference at Myrtle Beach, and I'm still recovering. Well, that's not the right term, really. Sounds like I'm "in recovery"-- a detoxing celeb. The conference was 3 days, fabulously organized, and chock full of workshops. It was a working weekend for me-- I gave three workshops ( 7 hours worth), critiqued 11 one-to-one manuscripts, and "hosted" two dinner tables. The best part about Myrtle Beach in October is that it doesn't look like Myrtle Beach-- there aren't that many people around. The place has been devoured by developers and in warmer months is teeming with tourists, but in the off season, you can actually glimpse sea oats and sandpipers beyond the dinosaur putt-putt. Mary Alice Monroe was a terrific keynote speaker. Her novels reflect her ardent love of the environment, especially the low country of SC...I plan to read Sweet Grass soon.

The immensely talented Robert Morgan--of Gap Creek fame-- was there, too. Of course, I'm partial to a writer who has such an uncanny sense of place...especially when that place is the hills of the Carolinas. His latest is a biography of Daniel Boone, which is drawing accolades, and looks to be as absorbing as any of Morgan's novels. "Forget the coonskin cap; he never wore one." Now that's a first line.

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