A Tale of Three Wise Women

April 04, 2008

Today’s guest blog is by my friend and fellow writer/editor, Lori. You can meet her, Aubrey and Pam, and many other literary luminaries at the upcoming conference.

Aubrey, Lori, PamThe last weekend in April used to signify my daughter’s birthday was approaching. Now it means the annual Field’s End Writers’ Conference. Aubrey’s birthday is still at the tail end of April; we just have a new way of celebrating it. Last year was our first Field’s End experience. We stayed the night at the Clearwater Casino Resort – a treat for us. Not only did we get meaningful girl time, but Aubrey was especially delighted with the hotel’s accoutrements. We still have the fun cell phone video clips of Aubrey showing off the hotel room. The spinning chair in front of the vanity was particularly exciting.

At the actual conference, Aubrey was initially cowed at being the only young person in a roomful of adults. But the Field’s End participants are a very friendly lot, so Aubrey soon relaxed. We were lucky enough to land at tables with speakers Garth Stein and Robert Dugoni. They helped draw out Aubrey – and everyone else. Bob Dugoni “escorted” Aubrey to the first break-out session. Her workshop tastes ran differently than mine, and she evidently didn’t feel the need to cling to my side the entire day. When we did get together, I was impressed with how well she sat still. An entire day is a long time – thank goodness for Malachy McCourt! Even though she couldn’t remember how to pronounce his name, she asked me recently if he would be there again. Aubrey took away ideas from each speaker, but it was Mr. McCourt’s presentation she found most enthralling. No surprise! Later we had a grand time purchasing books and getting authors’ autographs and personalized messages. What a delight to see Aubrey bloom into a young woman and a creative presence. There are many, many things we learned that day and which remain part of who we are a year later. This year Aubrey told me that she would like to go back to Field’s End for her birthday (and she gets that this means not much else in the way of birthday presents!). So register, we did.

Aubrey’s writing interests are strong and deep, although she’s still not sure she wants to be a writer. But as some of the Field’s End participants reminded us, a writer is not something you become, it’s something you are. Thus, Aubrey is a writer, and a good one. She’s taking honors classes this year (sixth grade) and scored 100 percent on her most recent Reading WASL. Her Writing WASL score was close behind. She counts attending the Young Authors Conference at Skagit Valley College nearly every year during elementary school as one of her writing-related accomplishments. Children’s book author George Shannon is a frequent presenter, so she was excited to “know somebody” at Field’s End last year!My mom, Pam, has never thought of herself as a writer, but she is certainly skilled. She chose (was there much of a choice in those days?!) to be a mom, wife and homemaker. While I was at the UW, she earned her A.A. from Everett Community College. I always knew she was an excellent proofreader and organizer, if you will, of written materials, but I recently realized that she’s also a talented writer. She can deftly describe her own and other people’s feelings and motivations. Mom would disagree (LOL). Once she decides to believe in her skill and channel it to a specific project of her own, look out! For now, she is helping to research and write a book with her brother.

I’m actually writing the children’s chapter-book version of the same story. Although I’m an on-again, off-again kind of fiction writer, I’m still very committed to this story. My preference is to fix and organize words rather than to originate them. That’s the editor in me. My mom recently showed me a progress report from my first-grade teacher. I wanted to be a nurse, teacher, hairstylist and editor. How crazy is that? What six-year-old kid knows what an editor is? I evidently figured it out, and it has stuck with me. My mom plans to join us this year. Aubrey’s okay with sharing a bed with me, although I offered to have her and Grandma bunk together because Grandma’s skinnier than I am and will take up less room. We’ll see what happens.

It’s not long now until we return to the garden of the gods at Kiana Lodge, host to the Field’s End Writers’ Conference. I should ask Aubrey how many days until our adventure begins. She’ll know. Aubrey & Lori at the Field’s End conference

  • This is an amazing story of finding out who you are, especially at a young age.

    These events will shape Aubrey’s future. She can look back and realize how lucky she is to have – not only a great role model and supporter – but a great mom!

    Great story!!

  • Loved your story, Lori! And as someone who’s known Aubrey since she was a much smaller sprout, I’m so impressed with the way she’s blossomed in the last few years. She’s soooooooo lucky to have such an amazing mom, setting such a wonderful example of how to explore her creativity and interact in a grown-up world, bold and fearless. And to be able to share that with your mom to boot! These are the kinds of memories to be cherished for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lori,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I think it’s great that you can spend really memorable times with your mom and daughter, doing what you love.

    I have a 6 yr old daughter and I had never thought about taking her to events like this, but it really makes me think about opening up different worlds for her. Yes, she’s a little young, but her speaking and reading comprehension are advanced for her age. It doesn’t hurt to have a dad who’s an English major.

    If she shows any interest in writing in the future, I now know where we can go. Her birthday is also in April!

    Kind regards,

    Julia May

  • Lori,

    What an amazingly insightful and cool mom you are! I only hoped my mother would see that I was grown-up enough to stretch my creative wings among the adults. Truly age doesn’t matter when it comes to expression, and the joy of connecting people with telling a story.

    I love that you are sharing this time with her so she can look back and feel confident (and so can you) on those days where it might be more ‘trying’. These are the times that refuel our tanks so we can stay resilient.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment in time with us!

    All my best,
    Sylvia Taylor

  • Lori,

    I certainly love the relationship that you have with your daughter. What a treasure chest of memories you are helping to build … not only for her, but also for you.

    How powerful to show her how to find her way creatively in the world and to show her how to spread her own wings and take flight!

    I really like the idea of the writing is WHO you are and not something you do. Words and ideas live inside each of us and I am so grateful to those who are able and willing to invest their time in sharing their inner wisdom through the thoughtful and powerful crafting of words!

    Thank you for sharing your story!


    Zita Gustin

  • Lori, what a beautiful sharing of your daughter’s wonderful reaction to a very grown-up event. I too had wise and wonderful parents such as your self, and some of my best childhood memories are attending conferences where I was ‘by far the youngest’. And always remember how I felt like such a grown – up when I was there.

    The people your daughter is being exposed to and the opportunity to learn from such talendted and gifted people will stay with her for a lifetime.

    I will anxiously await for Aubrey’s first book to be published!

    Best regards,
    Debbie Whitlock

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