“If you are a dreamer, come in…” -Shel Silverstein


I am a risk-taker. In college, when there wasn’t a book club on campus, I signed the papers to create one. When I couldn’t afford to join an amazing-looking writers retreat, I gathered together a group of local creatives and planned one from scratch. In my job as an academic advisor, when a panel of students said they were too scared to ask for help, I typed up a proposal for an outreach program, and I didn’t take the initial “no” as a final answer.

But the week before the Central Coast Writers Conference found my fingers frozen over the registration form. I spent hours jumping up, pacing, convincing myself I shouldn’t go. Convincing myself I should.

All those other things I mentioned, I cared about a lot. But writing? Writing I care about from a deep, longing place. From the 2nd grade Show and Tell when I told a story about my brother getting eaten by a shark on vacation and a boy rose a trembling hand and asked if it was real. From my teen years when I took night classes at the community college so I could get a free period to write. From the time I watched an actor perform a monologue I’d written and the audience laughed at all the right parts.

Caring apparently turns me into a great big coward.

Submitting the registration made me feel sick. Whether from nerves or relief, I still have no idea.

The conference, of course, didn’t end up being scary at all. I met all kinds of writers and took so many notes from experts like writer Mary Weber and agent Laurie McClean that my hand cramped.

The main thing I took away from the weekend was this—I’m missing a piece in my prospective career as a writer that I should have noticed. I’m missing my community. I’m missing my tribe of nerds, idea-lovers, and writers pacing around their living room, staring at their computer screen, and trying to be bold. To gather this tribe, the experts said, you have to tell people about the person behind the writing.

Well, I’ve always been taught to show, not tell.

And so, community of friends, strangers, adventure-seekers, anxious artists, world-changers, fandom nerds, adventurers, belly-laughers, lovers of creepy tales, and those who might also have moments of cowardice before taking a big leap, here, I suppose, we go…

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