Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coming at it slant: lessons from the llama, the 97-year-old man, and the writers conference

When I took my dog to the vet at Pet Smart for a vaccination booster, I fully expected to encounter the usual sort of household pets—other pups, cats or the occasional guinea pig. But I never anticipated walking in the door with a llama.

A llama that calmly donned hats and glasses for all the photo ops that promptly ensued. Customers, groomers, sales people, vets and assistants abandoned their posts and gathered round to pet (only the neck, please, his owner warned) and pose.

My dog took full advantage of the chaos to try to escape, entangling herself around the end display and me. After we were finally settled in our assigned room, I reflected on how special it was to find myself in just the right place at just the right moment for an encounter with the unexpected.

That’s often the way it is—even for the most diligent of planners among us—the best things sometimes come at us slant, not head-on. As they did at the writers conference I recently attended.

Not having any work in progress to pitch to my agent or an editor, I went expecting to learn about forms I don’t usually do, like poetry and flash fiction. Craft techniques.
And although I did indeed learn much about writing in those workshops, it was the unexpected tidbits about life, delivered from hallways, classrooms, and podiums that ended up latching onto me.

I applied them to the stuck place of my writing, but I suspect they fit anywhere. I leave you with these bits of wisdom. Let me know what you think:

1.     Alton Gansky on not daring to try, or overcoming the fear of rejection: “No one ever hit a homerun from the dugout.” #Stepuptotheplate.

2.     Michelle Medlock Adams on too much self-editing: “Let God define who you are.”

3.     John W., 97 years old: On living life to the fullest: “Don’t act like you are dead until God says you are.”

In the joy of the Lord,



  1. Only you could come up with such a creative title and pull it off. :) Awesome post, Marcia!

  2. Loved this post Marcia! Thank you for the great quotes. Loved the picture of the lama too and John W. I think we all learned a huge lesson from him. So good to see you again. Blessings! (I'll be back!)

    1. Andy Lee, you are almost a fixture there! So good to see you too.

  3. So good to see you there, Marcia. And I love the encouragement to live until God tells you otherwise. Great advice from the voice of experience!

  4. Susan Stilwell--it was special to spend time with you on this journey of life.

  5. Great post, Marcia. Lovely spending time with you at BR.

  6. Love the quote by John W.! So great to see you!


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