Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Packing My Ruby Slippers

... and my stiffened petticoat. But more about that later. 

This morning I'm off to the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. I attended my first ACFW conference in Indy in 2010, so this is a fitting return for me. 

Last time, I likened my journey to Dorothy's adventure-filled visit to the great Wizard of Oz. The beckoning Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where... dreams really do come true.

Earlier this year, I made a list of ten ways I've grown as a writer since then. Of dreams come true, and blessings counted.

On that list, I found life long friends God brought along the writing road. Writers with deep hearts who've cried and belly-laughed with me until our throats hurt. Others with brains so sharp I can only marvel at their knowledge and good counsel. And then, those who've shown such courage, I'm inspired to forget my lilly-livered ways and forge ahead with only a little trembling. 

Together, we've dodged a few flying monkeys and I've even managed to keep my ruby slippers. 

And while I wish I could click my heels and make the magic happen like they do in Oz, there's nothing easy or quick about writing. Not from where I sit. 

There's hours of scribbling and messing with words. Endless hours of learning and then perfecting the craft of writing. And even more hours, I'm glad to say, hours upon hours of reading itself. 

And it's all worth it. 

Nothing longed for comes without hard work. Even the Wizard kept busy behind his hidey-hole curtain, spinning his version of the truth. 

So it makes sense to take time off and celebrate the many months of industry between conferences. 

That's why I've packed a floor length petticoat. And velvet gown with laced bodice. 

It's for costume night, where genres will inspire writers to step into character and don whatever glad-rags fit. Doesn't that sound like fun? The stuff of blue-bird songs? 

It does to me. My inner history nerd thrills at the mention of costumes. I don't even mind the giant chunk of suitcase eaten up by my stiffened petticoat. 

But I'm not wearing period shoes. No siree... I'm strapping on ruby slippers, to salute the road travelled with dear friends. 

Some will be with me at the conference, others a little further away. All of you have played a part in my writing landscape, and I'm blessed to remember how many have prayed for me this year. 

So I'll click my heels in anticipation. Of a friend filled weekend, great workshops, networking... and to cover the tremble in my throat. 

In the words of the Tin Man ... 

I can hardly hear my heart beating.