Monday, May 18, 2015

LDStorymakers 2015

Sadly another conference for LDStorymakers is already over. For me, it was a two-day whirlwind where catching my breath (and a cold) have been difficult.

This year was vastly different than any other year, for me at least. With all my studying and house-buying coming to a close, it's been a very busy year. Add teaching a class both days of the conference and you can see how 2015 has started off somewhat hectic. But I was able to laugh and have fun as the pseudo-Survivor meme below suggests. Pretty much, I outsmarted my negative self.

This was the first year the Storymakers was held at the Utah Valley Convention Center. It was an awesome location with acrophobia-inducing escalators. Seriously, when you get on an escalator and it takes at least 90 seconds without walking to get to the top, it's really high up there. Rode an elevator once. Wasn't any faster. Other than that (and the spitting soap dispensers), it was a great place for the conference. The main ball room held the 700-ish people. We were then able to go upstairs or downstairs for one of many classes offered. Besides the 2 I taught, I only attended 3. For some reason, I kept falling asleep sitting in any classroom.

Also, the bookstore was awesome. There was so much to choose from. Good thing I only made 3 choices (one of which was the Whitney Award winner for Best Novel of the Year this past Saturday night. Congrats, Sarah Eden!) But it's amazing to go from what I recall seeing in the bookstore in 2010 at the first LDStorymakers conference I attended and compare it to how much it's not only grown, but also features books written by people I've met before they were published. Or friends who were already published but added a few more books over the years. As I was privileged to help out at the bookstore (because Scott and Julie tolerate someone who knows how to work a cash register), I smiled anytime I saw a book from one of my friends pass through the line.

There was a theme around "this is my tribe" from our conference chair, Melanie Jacobson. The theme definitely fit for me. Last year it just wasn't my best year. With the exception of hanging out in the bookstore, I just had lost all my mojo. But this year, I feel revived. Part of that is last year my annual roommate, James Duckett, couldn't make it. After feeling deflated from an agent's remarks, I just didn't have it in me to enjoy Storymakers last year. This year, complete 180. I felt at home the whole weekend. Following James' example of exerting extrovert energy (how's that for alliteration?) I decided to be social. And you know what, I had fun this year. More fun than any other year I've attended.

And as much as the LDS writing community is a tribe, it's also a family. It felt like a family reunion. I don't feel nearly as comfortable around any group of people as I have with my Storymakers family. Especially this year. This year, I felt at home. I had conversations with people I only see once a year (rarely more) and still felt like I was seeing a cousin or other relative I get along with. And as the conference grows, so does this pseudo-family. Every year I meet or talk to someone who hasn't been before or been in the time that I've been going or has been and we've just never crossed paths. This year, I got to meet all three types of people and adding them to my family like Ash Ketchum collecting Pokemon. Okay, maybe not that creepy sounding.

So, if you missed the epicness of LDStorymakers this year, next year's conference was already announced that May 12-14, 2016 at the Utah Valley Convention Center.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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