I'll admit it. I didn't want to go. It was a wee bit expensive for my current budget, and as far as I was concerned, I didn't need to go. I had an agent, and books coming out of my yin yang all the way until 2009! In my mind if I went it'd be for like, vacation, and everybody knows I've NEVER gone on vacation. When Heather Diane Tipton said, "God shows up at conference," it was ME who said, "Oh yeah? He shows up here everyday for FREE!" Yeah. I was like that.
So I have to beat the bushes for a ride because the engine fell out of old blue. It's something about your engine falling out that makes you NOT want to travel. I get a ride to the airport, and I have to lug a box of books with me. I'm praying desperately for a few kind, sympathetic souls to buy those books because God knows I don't want to take them back home. I mean it. I would have passed out books at the airport to keep from taking them with me.
On the plane I have a "nervous breakdown." Yeah. I know "nervous breakdown" isn't a clinical term and nobody really knows what it is. By that I means it's a very subjective experience. Let's just say mine involved crying incessantly and wanting to run away. And this was on the plane. Thank God it was Camy, Ronie, Dineen and Heather (pretty much in that order) meeting me at the airport. These ladies love me, and laughed when I said, seriously, that I had a ghetto credit card and didn't know if it would work at the hotel. They said it would and pronouced a few blessings on me. And isn't that cool, to have blessings proclaimed on your life.
I get to the hotel and people start loving on me immediately! I have to call out Katy McKenna because she is VERY guilty of pouring out love. She was speaking with someone, spotted me, stop in the middle of her discourse and shot over to me like a bullet out of a gun. The woman made me want to go live with her. And it only got worse after that.
Marilynn Griffith gets to our room and she starts talking like she sees me every day. Right away it's like, "Girl, I'm so glad you're here." And she proceeds to tell me about her own nervous break down. So it's my turn to love and exhort and then there are meetings for Mary and a walk for me, another mini pow wow after my walk and Mary warned me not to sit on the bed because there's like some kind of narcotic in the duvet and you get sucked in. But I sat on the bed, thinking it was safe, and the next thing you know the laptop is on top of me and I'm twisted around with my butt in the air in some kind of coma. That was one comfortable bed.
The next day I attended the editors panel. It didn't matter that I have a book out that's doing well. I left that panel convinced NOBODY would EVER want ANYTHING I write EVER AGAIN. I got depressed. Morose. Then I went to Mindy's Mystery writing chat and left CERTAIN that I could NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES write a mystery. I did EVERYTHING wrong and now EVERYONE would know. Then I went to my room and cried incessantly hating myself for going to that God awful conference.
This prompted me to take a walk and Heather spent a good deal of time speaking to me in soothing tones and telling me Jesus loves me and I could write. When she'd convinced me (nearly) I went back up stairs and cried incessantly because obviously my medication needs adjusting. I felt like I would DIE (@#$% conference!!!!) and started doing what I always do when I think I'm going to die. I prayed the Psalms. Again and again until the wind of the Holy Spirit breezes through the room and tells me to go outside again.
I go, risking Heather thinking I'm psychotic, and she comes to me, and tells me that another poor dear is so depressed she didn't want to come. I stop crying long enough to go help that person, even though I'm completely jacked up. I wouldn't want someone else to feel like I do. So for the next hour or so we break the bread of sorrows together, and love each other just like Jesus would.
Thursday I exhuasted my "episodes" and I felt pretty good after that. I decided to talk to important people since big, weird things were happening with the agency I was with and my publishing house. Those people were a bit of a coup because I didn't have an appointment (Ms. I don't need anything). God was good. He knew I needed to talk with all of those people. So I networked like a fiend!
Ended up Saturday at Lisa Samson's Published Not Popular workshop, and I admit, once again, I started trouble. I joked that I was sitting in the Holy Ghost row (the front) and Marilynn made the mistake of sitting with me. Before Lisa is done I'm crying incessantly, but out of some kind of grateful JOY and then Mary breaks down, and then Lisa and Liz Curtis Higgs and practically everybody and we get a magnificent visitation that makes that little conference room HOLY GROUND. Lisa reminded us that we write out of love and obedience. It's the kind of word from God that strips you of ambition and makes you say, "Yes, Lord." Even if I never earn out my advance. Even if I never get off of food stamps. Even if I never get to buy my husband a new car, or have real medical insurance. I say YES, because I love you, and want to obey you."
Next was the book signing. Lisa, Mary, and I were still a little drunk from the big Holy Spirit move and kind of delirious. The three of us made the mistake of sitting together and we acted a pure fool. Everything was hilarious. Please don't sit by Lisa Samson or Marilynn Griffith if you need to be serious. It won't work.
From there was the Gala and we all got "Fly" in our finest finery. I got to take a picture with Liz Curtis Higgs and she told me not to go to Tattoo school (you had to have been there to understand). I took lots of pictures with women I adore. And the love flowed like wine pouring off the mountains. I know that metaphor doesn't make sense, but it's in Amos(I think), and it's beautiful!
I'm so glad I went. I got so many Jesus kisses that I started thinking He was sweet on me. And thanks to everybody who made it such a wonderful experience for me.
You know who you are.