Writers’ Retreat: A Lesson in Happiness

A thing that I wrote at the beginning of August about the most informative/fun weekend of my summer. Yes I know it’s idiotic that I have waited until now to post it.

I spent the weekend hanging out with some crazy/awesome/creative folks at the Post Mortem Press Writers’ Retreat in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was a party, all right. Ten to twelve (who counts?) horror writers together in the same place? I’m surprised the time-continuum didn’t explode. Or something. We spent Thursday – Sunday at this weird old place called the Yellow Springs Motel. We had the whole place to ourselves, which was good because, I mean, horror writers. Loud drinking. Debates about why, exactly, we write (“Because Fuck You!”). If we hadn’t been the only ones there, we would have been by the end of the first night.

Anyway it was four days of writing and talking about writing with some pretty sweet folks — including my Post Mortem Press boss, Eric, and his wife, Stephanie. I serve mainly as a book editor for PMP, though that status will change soon (more on that to come), so it was interesting to see how the writers in our “stable” interact with one another and with us. But honestly, even though I was there as an employee of the press, I considered myself more of a participant on the writing side of things. For the most part, I consider myself a genre writer, and here I am, in the same breathing space with a bunch of genre writers. It was a great opportunity to pick people’s brains and to tell myself “Hey, look, they do it, so can I.”

On the two full days we were there, Eric facilitated discussions centered around our field. It was interesting and informative to get the opinions of people that have been in the field for a long time and also of newbies who have just broken into this crazy novel writing world.

I can’t stress enough how liberating it was for me to spend this time with genre buddies. In a graduate fiction program, sometimes I feel like there isn’t room for genre, or that my fantasy fiction may not be taken seriously by the more old-school members of the faculty. More often than not, it’s just my paranoia that’s the problem–genre fiction is actually a lot more accepted by my graduate program than some. But that paranoia fell away this weekend as I spent time with these weirdos. And that was awesome.

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