Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Two Days in Bellevue

This past weekend I decided to kick myself in the ass and took myself to the writers conference in Bellevue, about 10 minutes away from Geneva. Bellevue is right on the lake and it's a beautiful little town.

I have, however, a love-hate relationship with writer's conferences. Or maybe it's a like-hate relationship. Whatever! At one level the romantic in me thrills to the idea of like-minded people--thinkers, writers, those who love words coming together and discussing and growing together, forging literary bonds. Especially in Switzerland where Byron, Shelley (both the Shelleys), and Keats and others got together and talked and discussed and wrote.

Then there is the hate. A group of people geting together to show off their skill with words, to judge others, and to outdo each other in pretentiousness. This is not just writing but where so and so got an MFA, and where they've been published, and where they went to school. And oh yes, having a cool British accent really helps too.
There were a lot of cool British accents at this one but I also found this one of the more useful conferences I've been to (I've been to two actually, so I have no great base of comparision). Or maybe it's because in breaks I sat where the smokers did, shivering in the February cold, watching the rain-washed blue sky and the stark relief of the Mont Blanc flanked by the bristly silhouettes of the Jura. There are worse places :-). So not a total washout, even according to my own little cynical heart.

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