BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Press Publish – A Conference for Bloggers

The Heard Museum

The Heard Museum

I feel like I’m part of the “in” crowd. This is a rare feeling for me, so I’m planning to savor it.

“Why do you feel like you’re part of the ‘in’ crowd?” you may ask.

Well, because I was one of the cool kids who got to go to Press Publish last weekend.

“And what’s that?” you wonder.

Only the best little WordPress blogging conference around. Seriously, it was really good. The WordPress genies (I guess they actually work for Automattic… I’m not sure) were everywhere, and they made sure that everything was taken care of.

The venue was beautiful, Phoenix’s own Heard Museum, which is worth a visit even if there isn’t an awesome blogging convention happening there, and the day was perfect for the gourmet outdoor luncheon that was served. You know me, I’m ALL about the food! And man, was it good! From the breakfast spread (they made it sound like there would be a few dried up muffins, but it was so much better than that, even the weird sounding but delicious vegan peanut butter protein squares) to the incredible flour-less chocolate cake with a fine dusting of chili powder served for dessert… YUM. Continue reading


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Open Brain – Pour in Inspiration

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Day one of the three-day writing conference is in the books, and it got off to a great start. There was only one session to attend, but it was a good one (five were offered at the same time, but seeing as I don’t yet have the capacity to make duplicates of myself I had to just choose one). Young adult novelist Nova Ren Suma presented an excellent session on dynamic openings. The only critique was that her presentation was quite short (twenty minutes of the sixty allotted). True, it left time for plenty of q & a, but I would have liked to hear more from her, even if it was just additional examples of strong openings and why they work. In fairness, she did mention that usually this presentation was done as a workshop, rather than lecture, so I’m sure it was difficult to gauge the timing. Still, the content was solid and her insights were valuable. I’ll definitely be thinking more about my endings as I’m crafting my beginnings as a result of this presentation.

After the session there was time to mix and mingle with a wonderful spread of hors d’oeuvres and a live pianist. I caught up with a friend during this time, and had a relaxing time visiting with her and talking about teaching, writing, and the conference. At that point I had to leave, but I’m excited to go back this morning. Today is jam-packed with sessions, many of them specific to the Young Adult genre, my favorite.

I’m anxious to get going, and to see what new sparks of creativity and energy emerge as a result of today’s learning and inspiration.


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When Worlds Collide – Which Face Do I Show?

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I write. Sometimes it comes easily to me and other times I struggle.

I  blog. I don’t take it too seriously, and I allow myself to be totally real on the blog.

I teach. I take it very seriously and sometimes I get frustrated with the current state of education.

I parent. Sometimes it comes easily, and other times I struggle. Sometimes I take it seriously and other times I take it easy.

This week I have the privilege of attending a national writing conference for educators, and the bonus is that I’m attending it on a full scholarship. I feel honored to have been chosen for this award, and I’m excited to mingle with and learn from my fellow writers and educators. The question is, which face do I show today?

Am I the elementary school teacher who happens to teach summer writing workshops at the University? Am I the educator/writer who has been involved with the National Writing Project in various capacities for the past five years? Am I the world-famous blogger and author of BulgingButtons? Am I the aspiring Young Adult novelist who is working on revising her manuscript? Am I the author of articles that have been published both online and in print? Am I the brains behind Soaring Pig Press? Yes. I am. But how do I share any of that with people I meet? Especially when at heart I’m an introvert?

Conferences can be difficult for me. I love them because I always learn a lot, but I’m not naturally outgoing, so the in-between times can be a little awkward for me. I feel like I have an obligation both to myself and to the good people who provided my scholarship to not only take away from the conference, but to contribute to it as well. Each voice that joins the conversation potentially adds to the experience. Each point of view, each anecdote, each shred of advice or encouragement helps to build a valuable and comprehensive learning environment. I feel that I have to be part of that building process. I have to bring something to the table, so to speak.

No, I’m not expected to give a presentation, but I do expect to push myself out of my comfort zone and make some connections at this conference. I will introduce myself as a writer, educator, and blogger, and I will listen to others with an open mind and an open heart. I will learn and I will share what I’ve learned. I will happily accept encouragement, and I will freely share it with others. I feel sure that this conference will be a positive learning experience, and by walking in with that knowledge, it can’t help but be true, no matter which face I happen to be showing.