Monday, July 20, 2015

The Unexpected Side Benefits of PPWC 2015

By Lin Kobee

Going to Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015 as a scholarship recipient was an exciting experience for me. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could apply for a scholarship, and certainly (wannabe-best-seller that I am) that someone would give me a scholarship if I asked.

I received my scholarship in February, and my life took a serious turn to the left between February and May. I’m now living in New York as a live-in caregiver for a gentleman with Alzheimer’s. What’s truly amazing to me is how the conference not only inspired my writing, but took my left turn with me.
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I met some amazing writers there and I want to mention them all, but two made a deep impression on me, both because of my new job and their kindness and willingness to share aspects of their lives with me.

I was introduced to Angel Smits' work through the Romance Writers Open Panel. I had not read her work before, but I am very excited to find a new author writing contemporary romances set in the West. I also had a chance to speak to her and she is a caring professional who has worked with dementia patients for many years. The advice she offered on my career choice was another invaluable and unexpected gift of the PPWC.

I already knew of Seanan McGuire both through her Newsflesh series and through Carniepunk, an anthology of Carniepunk stories. The first time I saw her, I nearly dropped what I was holding and said, “Oh, my God, you’re one of my favorite authors”. Seanan later included me in a conversation about OCD which changed how I viewed it. I felt that having a different insight into how the mind works will also aid me in my new job, as her writing inspires me to grow in different directions with my own writing. (Although I have no plans to spend much time in swamps or with tape worms.)

I came to the PPWC knowing I would learn about writing, and I did. It was an amazing conference with a variety of teachers of many styles and varieties. The unexpected bonus, for me, was the direct applications to my work life. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn on so many levels. Thank you PPWC for the scholarship and the wonderful conference.

This post by Lin is part of the ongoing series of blogs by PPWC15 scholarship recipients.