What am I Doing Here?

Thornton Ford tells NCWA his experience as we continue the series on conference reflections.

The 2011 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal triumphed on all fronts. The venue provided by Overlake Christian Church gave itself over to conference activities nearly flawlessly. The keynote speaker inspired us. The workshop leaders showed us how to do their stuff and make it our stuff. The editors and agents listened to us and gave us kind guidance.

Our friends encouraged us with love and it was good, plain and simple, to be with them. Adding even more to the experience, national news excitedly told us again and again Jesus was coming for us just in time for dinner Saturday. What more could we possibly want?

Friday morning, after passing the entrance twice, I found the church – or rather, I found the parking lot, and was able to locate the church at its center relatively easily. I was a little nervous as I entered the building because I had appointments with two editors and an agent over the next few hours. My “pitch” or, “elevator speech” was alive and trying to escape.

As I attempted to nail it down, it kept skittering away and then morphed into something else. My printed schedule, which some kind volunteer had emailed to me, was tucked safely into my professional looking leather portfolio. I picked up my name badge and conference packet along with a friendly greeting soon after I walked through the door. My nervousness had morphed too. It was now taking on aspects of terror.

It seems to me that writers by nature tend to be introverted, or at least more introspective than the general population. We turn inward. My first thought was to find a quiet corner and sort things out. You know, people watch for a while. Why was I even here? Why do I put myself in these kinds of situations? But then I spotted Clint Kelly and Judy Bodmer, standing there chatting like everything was normal and under control. And, look, there was coffee and cups and my friend, Paul Malm. Maybe things were going to be okay after all.

Jesus was there all along. He was evident everywhere. Apparently he didn’t feel like waiting ‘til dinner time Saturday.

Stephen King, in his novel, Lisey’s Story, describes a writer character that actually slips into another world at times, in part to escape this one, but more often as a place to learn and explore. There’s mysterious danger in this other place too, including monsters with teeth and drool and a deep, black-water pond, swimming with terrors and fresh ideas. Of course! It is a Stephen King novel.

Maybe we can’t actually enter another world like Stephen King’s character, or immerse ourselves in a black pond full of dangers and adventure, but we can go to the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal each year and encounter the living God through editors, agents, and like-minded people.

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Thornton Ford (Thorn) has a background in marketing, business management, and dental laboratory services. He devotes most of his schedule to his consulting practice, writing and lecturing with emphasis on relationships, young adult friendships, engagement, and early marriage.

Thornton has been a NCWA member since 2008. He and his wife, Judith, live in the Pacific Northwest. His website is Growing Your Young Marriage.

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4 thoughts on “What am I Doing Here?

  1. Thanks for the great review. And thank you for all the great people, like you, who helped make this event a success. Am still amazed at how God worked to bring everything together. He is good.

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  2. I’m glad you pushed past your reservations and made yourself at home at the conference, Thorn. No matter how many times I go to conferences, I’m still nervous during editors and agents appointments, but at least I’ve stopped shaking during them. :o)

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