A lot of good things happened to me at the Conference, but I'm wary of writing about them - what if I jinx everything?? But that's crazy talk, so here goes, in no particular order:
1. I met agent Stephen Fraser, of the Jennifer DiChiara Literary Agency, when I introduced him for a workshop, and decided that he was the epitome of a class act. And then he confirmed it by coming up to me in the hall later that day and thanking me for the introduction. This is a kind, witty, knowledgeable, down-to-earth, lovely man.
2. I had a one-on-one critique with an agent who really liked my first 15 pages and asked to see the full manuscript. And - here's a critical piece - the word "besotted" never crossed her lips. Please send good karma my way!!!
3. I had two 5-minute pitch sessions with agents, both of whom asked to see the first 50 pages of my manuscript. More good karma required!!!
4. My three staunch critique group buddies were there too, so we all got to cheer for each other's good news, commiserate for the bad news, and make each other laugh, all of which hugely eased the stress. As did seeing other friends whom I only see at conferences, but of whom I've grown very fond (Yvonne, I'm thinking of you in particular!)
5. I met Sarah Davies, for real this time. We chatted. It was extraordinary. Remember my disappointing encounter with her at the conference I attended in New York last January? How I came away with the feeling that she had no idea who I was? Well. Would you believe that at the very end of this conference, she walked up to me and said, "So, Sue, how is it going?" Doubt me all you want, but it's actually true, and it's the best thing that happened to me all weekend. Because after it happened, I felt a huge weight that I had never realized was there lift from my shoulders. Once it was gone, I realized that the weight was the oppressive, demoralizing feeling that to literary agents, we unpublished writers are nothing but insects, scurrying futilely around in the sand, and that the best we can hope for from them is that they see us long enough to refrain from stepping on us.
This weekend, two agents, Sarah Davies and Stephen Fraser, spoke to me as if I were a human being, unpub or no unpub. And for that reason, whatever else might result from this conference for me, it will forever stand out in my memory.