I spent the weekend at the Story Circle Network’s Women’s Memoir Conference in Austin. I love writing conferences because I get to be around people who love what I love, and I get to hear stories of all kinds. Sometimes I pick events based on who is presenting. This time, I didn’t know most of the presenters, but I went because I have enjoyed past workshops with Story Circle Network, and this particular conference is their big deal that happens only every other year. Was it time well spent? Absolutely.
I got to hear Gail Straub, Susan Lincoln, and Susan Tweit speak. I was able to attend workshops by Jeanne Guy, Carolyn Scarborough and Amber Lea Starfire. I picked up half a dozen books written by people at this conference, and the one I’ve already read – Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson – knocked me over. Her tale of trying a second time with a husband who had left her once spoke to me, though I’ve never been married. I could feel the desperation and desire in her heart with every attempt she made to save her marriage, and I ached for her, just as I ache for my girlfriends when they tell me their stories in person. Her writing was just that good.
Lots of little things came out of this weekend, including a reconnection with Johnett and Rose, two of my favorite spirits in Austin. But one big thing came out of the weekend.
Reading these words of more than a year ago – words I don’t recall writing – I was struck at the fear within me. I carry a lot of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointing myself, of being disappointed, and of disappointing others. I don’t want to be a person of fear.
As I read that entry again and again, I was reminded of a quote in the little book I kept when I was a kid. It contains the following, which I attributed back then to Katharine Hepburn:
To do what interests you, you have to know what interests you. To know what interests you, you have to listen to your own voice. This weekend I was reminded of that. So that’s what I’m trying to do.