Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mt Hermon

like to take a tooth pick and throw it into the forest and say "You're home!" ... Mitch Hedberg 
This is a good way to describe how I felt at Mt Herman Writer's Conference last week. Santa Cruz is home. The ferns, bracken, eucalyptus and redwoods make a powerfully pungent memory scent. This combination is unique to the area. Childhood memories flooded. My blog's title is a tribute to the history I have there. Almost paradise again, in a fresh way. 


For the first time in my life, I mingled with a huge group of strangers and felt at home among them. Like I fit. Belonged. I kept thinking the well producing the tears would finally dry up. It never did. A silly smile and leaking eyes became my signature. Happy, grateful, amazed tears. There must be a dried, salt crystal trail where I walked. 


There were seasoned authors, newbies and wannabes. Agents, editors and publishing reps. VIP's and invisible people working behind the scenes. The food was made with love. The complicated schedule honed to manageable. There were old timers who made it welcoming once again. Some had been coming for 26 years. The friendships between them were sweet to observe. 


Everyone had a story to tell. Adultery, intrigue, abuse, memoir, fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, burn survivor, war survivor, etc. It was interesting to hear them pitch whatever they were writing.


My major morning track, the intense one - was with Steve. Not knowing the who's who list, it wasn't until the end that someone whispered he was like THE SIMON COWELL of the publishing world, right underneath Jesus in due reverence. I'm glad I didn't know. But now that I do, it would be a high honor to write something he would enjoy reading. His heart and mind were acutely attuned. He took us deeper. Offered words of life. 


Charlie Peacock and his wife Andi were the special treat. They are lovely people. Charlie is one of the last warrior poets. Easy to imagine him in a kilt and sword. Troubadour. They sort of embrace the L'Abri lifestyle, in Nashville. What they offered was so encouraging to life and to writing. He too, offered words of life. 


The last day, I talked with a 90 year old woman. She had a raggedy story filled with missteps and betrayal, mixed with vibrant living in between the pain. She used a cane, walked shakily, and carried a smile around that lit up the room. 


She was still writing poetry and cramming it unread under her bed. She still wanted to start her memoir and redo a dramatization series on video. 


I'll remember her forever. Her story did not yet have a happily-ever-after ending. But it did, because it will. She is finishing well, pen in hand, still writing her story. 

13 comments:

em said...

that 90 year old woman reminds me of the "Masada" story...she lives with JOY. i wish i could have met her! :)
how old were you when you lived there? little? how cool to go back and remember...
thanks for writing about your trip! i have been checking your blog a few times a day to see when you'd post something. love you. :)

Laurie said...

...thanks for the beautifully painted picture. I love the glimpse into your world and am so happy for you! I love you....

Karen Barnett said...

...And I remember meeting a beautiful first-timer who made the room light up when she smiled! It was a joy and honor to spend time with you. I hope to see you at many conferences in the future. God has great plans for you!

Maureen said...

Welcome back! I missed your words. So glad Mt. Hermon is lodged so beautifully in your mind.

S. Etole said...

Yes ... welcome back. Missed your presence here. Glad you were blessed in your journey.

Steve Laube said...

Kathleen,
Your glowing countenance was a delight to see every morning in our Major Morning track. Your desire to go deeper was only exceeding by your evident love for our Savior.

May you continue to enrich every life you touch, just like you touched mine.

Blessings to you,
Steve
The Steve Laube Agency

nAncY said...

i knew you would love it :-)

shrinkthecamel said...

Maybe next year, I'll get that same feeling??
I was in Santa Cruz with the fam a couple summers ago. I love California. Would seriously love pretending to be a writer for a couple days there.
But for now, I will glom on to your description of the experience!

Anonymous said...

Amen Karen! God has great plans for you.

Kevin

Kathleen said...

Ah, thanks guys. You have all held up my feeble knees and heavy hands at different times. It was a defining moment in time, for sure. I'll never be the same.

L.L. Barkat said...

what a great description of MH. I was glad to be there with you, especially on the bench that evening, especially reading Neruda.

caryjo said...

How neat to see about Mt. Hermon. Been there only twice -- 1970 and 1991 -- and both times pieces stuck in my head and have never left. Glad you were there, and blessed.

A Simple Country Girl said...

Friend, I, too missed you. Not just your words, but you. Have you considered poking holes in your suitcase for next year's trip? I do need a little air. And maybe some water...

Blessings.