I took my camera to the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, hoping to get a few photographs of Dayton, Ohio, since it's a town I'd never visited before.
Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to get out and about.
Fortunately, I was able to grab some portraits of some beautifully different people, in furtherance of number 16 on my life list: photograph 1000 faces.
Like Billy, shown above. I met Billy while waiting at the gate for my flight out of Houston to Dayton. He had just left Afghanistan, after spending three years on a military tour of duty there, and he was on his way home to Mississippi. And he was, not to put too fine a point on it, quietly freaking out. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do next," he said, looking nervously at me.
"Dude, this is an exciting time for you. You've got a whole new future to make, just for yourself."
He looked at me skeptically.
When I asked if I could take his picture, he protested, but I insisted and he relented. "I look awful," he said. "I've been traveling for 28 hours straight."
"You look beautiful," I responded, and took the picture.
Hang in there, Billy. I hope things are going well for you so far.
One of the first people I met was Deb, during registration.
"Your hair is stunning," I said.
"Thanks," she responded with a smile. "I've only recently allowed it to go all white."
Definitely her colour, don't you think?
Matt is the director of the conference. See that calm, kind, never-to-be-ruffled expression of his? That's how this man is all the time. Just being around him felt like taking a deep breath.
Matt's lovely wife, Teresa. She's responsible for getting me to come to the conference in the first place.
Thanks so much, Teresa -- I had such a great time. Seriously, I owe you.
This is Robin, who sat down right in front during one of my sessions of my talk. He was wearing this awesome chunky sweater, and specs, and a beard, and he looked just so ... writerly. I told him as much, and a couple of people in the room agreed. Awesome. He thanked me, and then mentioned he left his pipe and suede elbow patches at home.
Robin also happens to be the author of Smart Dad, Dumb Dad -- and tells me he is a master of parody. Which makes me wonder: was he really writerly, or was he just parodying writerly people?
Pat, star of her own one-woman show, Hair Theater. Is she not radiant? This woman is all about giving, and sharing, and celebrating people, and she's a firm believer that by being kind, you automatically become physically beautiful. I love her style.
Before dinner on Friday night, I ran down to the hotel lobby bar for a quick drink (not rum this time, I'm afraid), and bumped into Dave. Dave is the author of Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals -- and you know how I love a journal. He is SUCH an interesting guy -- but the best part: he's also the founder of Globejotter Tours, which is, as he puts it, "a travel adventure and creative writing workshop rolled into one." This year, in October? They're going to Vietnam. Man, I am so tempted to go. In case I don't, though, feel free to sign up here, and then email me daily about your trip, so I can live vicariously through you.
And finally, Yvonne, author of What Could Go Wrong? Lessons from Living On The Edge. A couple of awesome facts about Yvonne: she's an adoptive mom (like me!) and an identical twin -- and she had some really cool stories about how she and her twin, even though they don't live near each other, often buy the same clothes, and call each other at the same time (resulting in busy signals), and if something bad happens to one sister, the other sister feels depressed without knowing why.
So cool. Always wanted an identical twin ...
Anyway. Amazing stories, aren't they? I so loved connecting with them all and am so grateful to all of them for allowing me to take their photographs.
And with that, have a great weekend, friends.