Thursday, June 18, 2015

Checking Off My Bucket List

By Darlene Grippo-Sowa

Hello, All.

I was honored and excited to be a scholarship winner to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015. It was a definite bucket list experience for me. I self published a book for my dissertation called Rebuilding the Veil. It is a book on cults, but I had no experience and no idea how to write a book.

The conference was an eye-opening experience. I’ve never met so many incredible, giving, kind, and helpful people in my life, and here there were hundreds in one place. The speakers, authors, agents and fellow writers were kind and supportive beyond my expectation. Before I left for the conference, my husband told me not to get my hopes up and to try to have a good time. I was literally on Cloud 9 the entire time. And I’m a New Yorker - nothing surprises me. 

The authors who came were so giving of their time and knowledge and the staff and attendees were nothing short of incredible. Each workshop was brilliant. I’ve never been to a conference where I could say I learned something at every single event. I was given the opportunity to read the first 32 lines of my manuscript and the author/attendees gave me the best advice and support. I was also asked to submit a manuscript. How I will ever come off that cloud, I have no idea.

One of the best experiences was during a talk about comedy by Robert Spiller, author of The Witch of Agnesi. He said he loved midgets and anything to do with them. I asked a question and made mention that my book was about a very small coroner. “You had me at hello,” he said. I couldn’t have laughed harder! What a great moment.

I also have to add that the Marriott staff were the most kind I’ve ever encountered. I attend about four or five conferences a year. I usually have to tote all my own food due to my 20+ allergies. The hotel staff bent over backwards (and did some flips) to meet my dietary needs. Again, completely blown away. 

This was the best experience and the most fun I have ever had at a conference and I plan to go again and again! I was completely in awe. I will go every year and donate and support the Pikes Peak Writers. Thank you so much for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Darlene Grippo-Sowa
Teller County Deputy Coroner