I had the privilege of attending the 25th Anniversary of Women Writing the West conference in San Antonio, Texas earlier this month. Held in the heart of the city at the Omni La Mansion del Rio, with its old world architecture and true Texas hospitality, made the stay a pleasant get-a-way from the damp and rainy days of Washington’s fall weather.
The historic hotel, once a Catholic boy’s school built in 1853, is now filled with soft lighting, curving portico’s, lush greenery and sequestered courtyards, inviting one to sit, relax and enjoy the evening’s gentle breeze. Met with sunshine and 97º on the first two days, made sightseeing a warm delight. Although, coming back to conference sessions and air-conditioning was a welcomed reprieve from the heat.
I was delighted to meet friends made in Walla Walla in 2018, Carmen Peon, Shanna Hatfield, Julia Bricklin and Krista Rolfzen Soukup at my first WWW conference, and many new friends, Kathleen Morris, Jane Little Botkin, Kathy Sechrist, Linda Jacobs and Claire Naden from around the country, all with the same passion of writing about the West we hold close to our hearts.
It was impossible, not to become caught up in the energy that filled the sessions and award banquets. I was so excited for my friend, Julia Bricklin who won the very first 2019 Downing Award.
Good food, good wine and amazing women had the rooms overflowing with laughter. The speakers shared their wealth of knowledge, giving new and seasoned writers alike a renewed sense of purpose for why we write what we do.
I have attended many conference in my career, but none that compares to Women Writing the West. Here, no one is left alone. No one is ignored. You are welcomed into the fold as if you’ve been a part of the organization for years. There is a sense of collegial support for one another, which goes beyond mere friendliness. They are woman who provide new insights, validate what you are writing, and bring a new way of thinking to the table. Writers are usually on a lonely journey, not in the sense that they are lonely people, but more that they write alone the stories they bring to life. That is why the sense of support received by being a part of Women Writing the West is vitally important.
The highlights of my trip included taking a cruise down the San Antonio River that runs through the center of old town as it leisurely meanders past shops, hotels and restaurants.
An afternoon spent at The Alamo was awe inspiring. Here, on April 21, 1836 the battle of the Revolution secured Texas’s independence from Mexico. A place that lends respect and solemnity not only as a Mission, but for the lives lost so many years ago.
On Sunday morning before departing San Antonio for home a group of conference attendees went on a mission tour. Mass was being held at each mission, so we stood respectfully outside taking in the blending of Hispanic, English and Mariachi Masses. Our group arrived just in time at Mission San Jose, to hear the mariachi mass being, as the brassy melody from trumpets and stately timbre from lively guitars drifted into the mission’s courtyard. It was a great way to end my trip to San Antonio.
As I look forward to the 2020 conference, “Climbing Higher; Endless Vistas, Unlimited Vision” to be held in Colorado Springs, CO, I continue to write. Now that book one, Till My Last Breath in my Desert Hills Trilogy is completed, I have started on book two, Till My Last Day.
Please check back to hear more about their publication. I love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them here.