Monday, August 11, 2014

Dispatch #25: Why I Didn't Go
to the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference

by Lupe Fernandez

My brain floats down Yuba River.

Sure I could write that I went camping with my wife and kids along the Yuba River, got a tan, three days of rain, mosquito bites, snorkeling time, met fascinating Sierra County folk and stopped at Farrell's Ice Cream parlor on the way home.

Sure I could write - cue Sad Melody for Violin - that I didn't have enough money to pay conference fees and that I didn't win the WIP award.

Sure I could write about this poor writer who is down to his last quarter and has to decide between a can of tuna or a can of cat food. Four cats. Count 'em. Four.

Yeah, I could write about that.

Or I could write about the choices I made. The choices I made to become the Foreign Correspondent in the Northern Hinderlands. The choices I made to fall in love, get married and be a step-father. I could write about my car breaking down and needing to buy another car suitable for my new family. Finance payments superseded writer conference tuition.

I could write about the big gamble I took to write and suffer the slings and bank statements of this profession. The dice are still rolling.

I'm sure I missed a lot of swell breakout sessions, keynote addresses and manuscript submission opportunities.
I decided to jump in the river and float on an black, rubber doughnut. Two currents ran downstream to the shallow end of algae slimy stones. But a few eddies curled back upon the river and kept me in place, in case I wanted to paddle upstream, buck the rapids and go back to the beginning.

And start over.

I'll be back next year.

The Yuba?

The Conference?

Stay tuned.


  1. Sounds like you're a little regretful about missing the conference.... but it also sounds like you had a productive few days of reflection, which were inspired by the conference in a round about way... and those kind of days are very valuable too! And the time spent with your family is the most precious way to spend time always!

    1. Thanks for reading my post Katherine.
      Yes, I've become a family man, driving a car loaded with camping gear into the mountains in a fatherly-like fashion.
      Who let that happen?
      Fifth Grade Reprobate

  2. Hey Lupe, you need time to refresh, relax, reload, reboot, and all the re's that go with spending time communing with nature and being with family and friends. Mostly likely one missed conference won't break you, or diminish your creative juices. Remember, we all need stuff to write about, and that's what life gives us! Glad you had a lazy river floating time. Blessings, Penny (

    1. I got stung by a bee. I pulled the stinger out of my back.

      Now I have an urge to bzzz..bzzz...and bzzz...bzzzz...
      Worker Drone

  3. Wistfully expressed and beautifully written, Lupe. Nothing more to say!

    1. Thanks Nancy. I saw a snake swallow a fish. Gulp.
      Scales & Fins

  4. Lupe Fernandez, you made me laugh. Me hiciste reir. You do know Spanish?
    You, also, made me sigh. I've never been to a SCBWI Conference. It's still in my to-do list. I don't give up hope. I don't even know how to select the profile. Is there hope?

    Zoraida Rivera

    1. Dear Zoraida,
      I suggest attending one of the major SCBWI conferences at least once in your writing career. It's like a big pep rally.
      Former Mexican-In-Residence


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