Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday's Words for July 28, 2010

After three days of traveling, the Ashburys have arrived safely to a place they never would have imagined they would ever be: Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I’ll be honest and tell you that the RWA National Conference is one of the few events that could have compelled us here.

Nothing personal against this destination of choice for many vacationing families. I know that some adults even enjoy coming here, and do so on a regular basis, with no kids in tow. But Disney World has simply never appealed to either of us.

Our drive from Southern Ontario was good. We stopped in West Virginia the first night, and just outside of Savanna the second. Since we had been able to leave a day early, we were able to spend a day and night in St. Augustine. My beloved was thrilled, because he dearly loves the ocean. He got to go and play in the waves several times, and I do mean play. I watched him from the balcony of the small Inn we stayed at, thoroughly enjoying the sight of him jumping the breakers as they rolled in.

The resort here—specifically the Swan and Dolphin Resort—is a beautiful facility. We checked in on Monday, and since we were a few days ahead of any conference events, we spent the day relaxing, and enjoying the pools. They have a “grotto” area that is really nice, with the sound of the waterfall soothing.

We’ve been suffering “sticker shock”, of course. I personally don’t think it’s necessary to charge quite as much for food and beverages as they do. But then, I’m well known for wanting to get good value for my dollar.

Yesterday I went on a “pre-conference” excursion organized by one of the chapters of RWA to which I belong. We were bussed to Tampa, where we were given a tour of MacDill Air Force base. MacDill is home of the 6th Air Mobility Wing. Quoting from the base’s web site: “Our mission is to generate and execute Air Refueling, Airlift and Contingency Response, while providing base support for joint, coalition and interagency partners.”

I must say the airmen and women treated our busload of romance authors with high respect and great courtesy. We got to see a K135 Stratotanker. The pilots and one of the technicians who operates the “boom” were on hand to show us the plane and answer any questions we might have. Here I must confess that some of the finer points were lost on me. Mr. Ashbury would have been very happy to have taken this tour in my place. But it was fascinating for me nonetheless.

We also spent some time with folks from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who provided us with a presentation on their work as “hurricane hunters”; and we had a tour of the Army parachute riggers outfit stationed at MacDill. These service members are extremely skilled in the job they do, and very conscious of and dedicated to the responsibility they have.

Each and every member of the military I was privileged to meet yesterday was a credit to your nation. Young and enthusiastic, they showed endless patience and professionalism as they answered every question put to them, as well as a deep dedication to duty.

Tonight the conference kicks off with the “Literacy Autographing”, an event that benefits literacy programs as all proceeds from the sales of books go to that worthy cause. This will be my first time signing at this event, as this is the first RWA conference I’ve attended as a recognized published author.

There will be speakers I want to hear, and workshops I want to attend. While Mr. Ashbury avails himself of some the sights of this extremely large place, I’ll be doing one of the things I love best: talking with writers and learning more about writing.

This kind of busman’s holiday always works to recharge my creative batteries.


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