Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oklahoma wildflowers and OWFI--post conference thoughts


Each year I try to attend the Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc. (OWFI) conference in Oklahoma City.  It takes place the first weekend in May therefore the drive is pleasant and colorful, unless tornado season kicks in early. Wildflowers and green grass color the landscape. This year was no different except the trip home seemed more vivid. Yellow Black-eyed Susan's blanketed the medians and pastures. They were occasionally interrupted with red-orange Indian Paintbrushes and pale pink flowers. I don't know the name of the pink flowers but I imagine it has to be something dainty and feminine.

My favorite section of the three hour drive is through the Arbuckle's where the sides of the hills have been lain bare. Building the interstate years ago uncovered a geological treasure that is studied by scientists from all over the world. The striae of stone emphasizes several geological eras. Often the layers are almost vertical rather than horizontal. Water trickles down the sides from some hidden sources. Boulders, stones, and rocks hang in the air by some magical force. Some are trapped by other stones on the way down. Others collect on the side of the road. The wildflowers grow amid the stones.

Rocks fascinate me. I don't know why nor do I understand it. Perhaps it is because they hold some sort of magical power. Maybe it's simple and it's just because they are so beautiful.

Following the conference, on my way home, the landscape around me seemed more colorful, more tangible, more welcoming. I think it's because my creativity was open and receptive. The photos above were taken at the scenic lookout. It's a mere example of the beauty Oklahoma offers.

The conference! Where to begin--it's always like a reunion. I see people I only see annually. I meet big name authors. I go to workshops and try to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly can. I try to retain everything. Choosing workshops is difficult. At least for me. Laughter is present in every corner. Small groups can be found talking at tables in the lobby and bar. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the hospitality of The Embassy Suites Hotel near the airport. The staff is always kind. They remember us. It's amazing in this age.

This year I served as the Shepherd (guide) for Sarah Henning. A lovely young woman and author. That was a genuine pleasure. She didn't need me much. I met Lee Lofland, a top cop, and Les Edgerton, an ex-con as he describes himself. I learned more about the importance of covers from Brandy Walker. I learned about First Pages. I learned and learned.

Our banquet table was probably the craziest! Lots of fun. Vicky Malone was our leader but Nick Lyon, H.b. Berlow, Tom Barczak, and Les Edgerton stole the show. Arlene Gale and I decided to make it a tradition to sit with each other at the same banquet table.

However, the absolute highlight for me was meeting Andrew E. Kaufman. He's a writer of psychological thrillers that make readers question their sanity. I'm on his "street team" and find it humbling to have actually met him. By the way, I don't think he's crazy. He just writes crazy.

Next year can't come soon enough. One thing I can count on following a conference is a temporary status of Super Writer. That generally doesn't last long for me, but it feels good while it does last. Learn more about OWFI at www.owfi.org

Enjoy these photos from the conference:

Me (Winona Cross), Andrew E. Kaufman, and Brandy Walker

 
 Me (Winona Cross) and Andrew E. Kaufman



Nick Lyon, Tom Barczak, Les Edgerton, and H. b. Berlow



Me (Winona Cross) and Callie Hutton. I'm on Callie's Street Team.






8 comments:

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Great post, Nona! you made me wish I'd been there!

Callie said...

The conference was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed spending time with you. I loved your blog, sounds like you also enjoyed your time there.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Wow lovely! Makes me wish I'd gone too!

Great post.
PamT

Dee Dee said...

Beautiful pictures, Winona. It's hard to beat the beauty ok Oklahoma in the springtime. I had to miss the conference this year. Sounds as if I missed a good one, but I'll be there next year.

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, gorgeous pictures! And, it sounds like you definitely got the most out of the conference. So glad I got to see you there. Stay in that Super Writer mode! :)

Janet K Brown said...

The pics are beautiful. I agree. I love spring & our Texas wild wildflowers. We love those along highway 82 between Nocona & Sherman. It sure was good to see you at OWFI. You're right it's like a friend reunion. I also love meeting new friends. I learned so much from Les Edgerton & Jerry Simmons.

Winona Cross said...

Thanks to everyone who read my latest post. I enjoy reading comments from others, it's much like having a conversation.

Natasha Hanova said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time. OWFI is a great place to network with genuine people.