By: Mason J. Torall
I’d never won a scholarship before. Teachers and advisers were always very specific on how to write applications on what to say, and I never won. For the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference I decided that if I didn’t win, that was okay. So I wrote in my own voice in a way that felt natural to me as a writer, and I won. You can imagine my surprise, and my gratitude.
Consisting of three primary days with an optional fourth day prequel, PPWC is packed with over 400 regularly lonesome people who get this rare opportunity to remember that they are not, in fact, alone. Instead, we get to leave the doldrums of our day-to-day lives and submerge alongside kindred creative souls for a few precious moments and take everything we can out of it. It’s all such a whirlwind etched in crystalline clarity in my memory.
The Thursday prequel was my first such course ever and let me tell you, it’s not something to miss. I walked out of that room eight hours wiser and laden with over fifteen pages of notes, and conference hadn’t officially kicked off yet. Dinner on Thursday was spent connecting with old friends and getting introduced to wonderful new ones as we all orbited around the bar and restaurant, and Friday came early.
Now, this was my fifth writing conference and my eighth conference overall, so I’ve done this a few times. With that in mind, I can’t say I’ve ever been around a group of people who not only showed, but who positively radiated welcoming energy. Everyone attends conference with similar umbrellas of interest, from community to ideas, from pitching to networking, to simply observing. It’s all worth it, and you have nothing to fear from your own people.
This conference was also special because it was the first I’ve ever attended without work of
As previously stated, these things are packed. The sessions are loaded with more information than you can possibly acquire in three days, and each regular lunch and dinner had a mind-blowing keynote speaker. They were inspirational, hilarious, personal, dark, and dire, and I loved it. The costume dinner on Friday night had the entire main hall roaring with laughter, and legends of the antics of the many, many writers who drink at BarCon (the fun name for everyone hitting the bar later) spreads like wildfire. After all, it’s where all of the introverts finally get a chance to spread our oft-timid wings.
I have to rein myself in here, because I could truly go on for pages and pages about the many wonders of a writing conference—and of Pikes Peak Writer’s brand in particular—but, if none of what I said gets through to you, let this:
About the Author: A Colorado native, Mason J. Torall is an eclectic hobbyist. When he isn’t writing or working the odd day job, he tests board games with friends, samples Denver’s booming local fare, and bikes the metro area. A huge advocate for sustainable engineering, he spends much of his free time drafting his own engineering designs and training with technical and artistic software. His first novel, The Dark Element, is currently available on Amazon and Kindle, and he is currently working on the sequel. He lives alone in South Denver, where there is still space to think.