Saturday, August 01, 2015

"Do you know where you're going?"

Years ago I was a volunteer go-fer at an ATP exhibition match where the guest of honor was none
other than Arthur Ashe. I had the honor to drive the tennis star to the airport afterwards, having been warned that Mr. Ashe wasn't much of a conversationalist.  Ashe kept busy in the back seat reading through a stack of papers he retrieved from his briefcase, looking up on occasion to see where were —which was running late for his flight. At one point I took a wrong turn and had to double back. After not saying a word for thirty minutes, Ashe finally spoke up, asking me, "Do you know where you're going?"

This is a question I often ask myself these days as I do periodic assessments of my progress as a writer and member of the human race. I'm not sure I'm ever happy with the answer, but it's still a good question to ask ourselves from time to time. If you don't like where you're going, there's always time to change directions.

Which we'll do now as we review what's in store for our FWA meetings this month.

  • The River City Writers meet on the second Tuesday of the month, August 11, at 7:00 p.m. in Room D of the SE Branch Library. Group Leader Gregg Golson will speak on the important topic of revision, "How I Polish My Manuscript."
  • Backstory is on the menu at the Ancient City Writers chapter, Saturday, August 15. They meet at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library, US1 and San Carlos, to hear from Nancy Quatrano discuss "The Scoop on Backstory: 10 Tips to Develop and Use it More Effectively." Nancy is a content editor and writer who will tell us how the correct use of backstory can boost your characters from average to riveting.
  • The Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, August 19 at the Orange Park Library at 6:15 p.m. Contact Maureen Jung for more details.
  • Writers by the Sea of Fernandina Beach return to their summer meeting venue of the newly refurbished Fernandina Beach Library on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Members of the Playwrite Group will give a presentation called "Conversations with a Script." Group leader Nadine Vaughan-Williams has more information.
  • Central Florida author Jeanne Moon Farmer has constructed a life with many accomplishments, including 35 years as a teacher, grant writer, and editor—not to mention her three novels and one nonfiction book. Jeanne steps on the stage at the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting, Saturday, August 22 to talk about what she's learned in "This Writing Life." The theme of her talk is "How to do what you love and love what you do." My thanks to Kimberly Smith for filling in for me at last month's meeting, but I'll be there to greet you on the 22nd at the Ponte Vedra Library at 10:30 a.m. The coffee will be hot and waiting to be poured.
  • FWA affiliate, the First Coast Christian Writers, meet each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconett Library.
But wait, there's more:
  • The Florida Authors & Publishers Association Conference is this coming weekend, August 7 - 8 at the Hilton Orlando in Lake Buena Vista.
  • The Florida Heritage Book Festival kicks off on Thursday, September 24 with the Writers Conference starting with a day of critique workshops. Friday presenters include Elizabeth Sims, Mark Powell, Darlyn Finch Kuhn, Jane Wood, Harrison Scott Key, literary agents Jeff and Deborah Herman and a luncheon keynote by Robert Macomber. Read more and register  by clicking here
  • One of the benefits of joining FWA is adding to your publishing credits by submitting an article for FWA's magazine, The Florida Writer. If you're already a member, you should have received  the August issue. It's crammed with outstanding articles and features, including a summary of the results of the mini-conference survey. One of the popular location choices for 2016 was St. Augustine, so on Saturday, February 27, FWA will present a one-day mini-conference in the Ancient City. It will be held at the Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College. Watch for more details as they develop.
  • In the meantime, if you haven't registered for the annual FWA Conference, now is as good a time as any. The conference, October 15 - 18, has moved to the Hilton Orlando-Altamonte Springs. The conference offers a wealth of workshops and more sessions than ever. Agents, acquisition editors and film producers will be on hand to hear your latest project. Check it out here.
  • The Women's Industry Network has extended an invitation to local authors to participate in an Author's Showcase on Friday, August 7 at Suite at St. Johns Town Center. There is no fee to participate, and authors will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their books. Tables and chairs are provided. If interested, contact Myesha Jones at for a registration form.
Time to sign off, but I wish I'd remembered J.R.R. Tolkien's wise words from The Fellowship of the Ring when Arthur Ashe asked me if I knew where I was going. The master of the Ring said, "Not all who wander are lost." That makes me feel much better.


Vic DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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