WHAT I HEARD
I give my students an assignment called "What I Heard." They're meant to watch a video, attend a talk or listen to a podcast that is relevant to what we’re studying and report to the class how it helped them to learn and grow.
SCWA presented two incredible opportunities last month. Our virtual conference had 50 registrants and took on issues like whether to pursue self, hybrid, indie or traditional publication. What I heard there was a community glad for the expertise being offered to help further their craft and career.
Our Pawley's Island annual conference had 95 attendees and included the classic Slushfest where panelists offered honest feedback on some hopeful authors' first pages. The event also featured the youngest and only Black female poet laureate of Alabama, Ashley M. Jones, whose Sunday keynote included moving passages from her poems and received a standing ovation.
What I heard at Pawley's Island was how excited people were to be back in person, sharing their ideas, sharing the same spaces, learning craft and practice and professionalism.
What I heard in October was a community reunited around our shared passion: writing.
When we go into community, we are fully human, and as humans, we are tasked with trying to make sense of the world around us. As writers, we do that sense-making on the page. We write our way through confusion, questioning, learning, feeling, understanding, contextualizing, and catharsis. Many of us come to the page to rage, or weep, to dream, hope, or ponder.
As writers, we do our sense-making with words and words have power.
I hope we'll each consider the terms and sentiments we use when describing ourselves and others. I hope we'll reach for love. I hope that we'll be glad for the chance to read, hear, learn, empathize, and maybe even change when presented with opportunities.
What I heard this month was that we are here, in SCWA, to learn. And learning will change us, it should change us. For the better.
President, SCWA Board of Directors