The sun is still bright in the Calgary sky as the third, and final day of When Words Collide comes to a close. Many a weary traveler embark on their final journey to the solitude of homes both near and far, and I am no exception. Staring out the window at the passing scenery, I reflect on the people I met, and the conversations I took part in.
As my first WWC, it was an intense but highly anticipated gala of writers and writing. New and upcoming authors were rubbing elbows with industry veterans as the masses flowed across the elevated walkway to crowded rooms. While many were willing to stop and chat when a moment presented itself, many more were rushing to the next workshop with paper and pen in hand. The information that awaited there was illumination in the darkness of doubt, and I could fault no one for wanting to consume every moment. I dallied little in my own travels, learning quickly that getting to a destination faster allowed for more conversation before an event, or provided extra time after. It all depended on where you chose to spend it. Within that small window, I met some well-spoken, and intelligent individuals. Some had written a dozen books, some had written none at all, but everyone had something to contribute.
I met marketing gurus, well versed in the art of Facebook-Fu and Twitter-nomics; Outgoing individuals who could capture your attention, and knew what to do with it. I met a world record-breaking cancer survivor who has done more in his 50’s than most of us will do in our lifetimes. I met paper publishers, I met epublishers, I met overnight sensations, and soon-to-be hopefuls. The one thing that everyone shared was a love for reading, and therefore a love for readers. Many seemed to use writing as a way to meet them, a way to share their passion, and it showed everywhere I went. Books in hand, books on sale, books in conversation, a festival of the written word.
I go over my own notes, taken in a frenzy but still intelligible. I find books I need to read, places I need to go, and ideas I need to pursue. Interspersed amongst the two, and three-lined streams of consciousness, I find names and my thoughts of the people I encountered. I wonder, what new sensation I may have met, what future award winning author I heard speak, and most importantly, what the road ahead held for these scribes.
People told me when I started writing that books are a niche medium, that no one reads when electronic media is so much more engaging. That I was foolish to write a book, and I could expect no one to read it. Yet I walked amongst a mass of individuals this weekend that was but the tip of an iceberg. One island among many of dreams and ambition that stands tall in the mire of doubt that these claims propagate. The celebration and exuberance I witnessed this weekend showed me how wrong these people were, and how foolish I was to entertain the time to listen to them.
The written word is going nowhere but forward, letter by letter.