Home > Life, Writing and Poetry > Perks and Where They Come From

Perks and Where They Come From

I have a question for you. I know. Don’t I always. But this one may be pertinent to you as a writer. I’d really like to figure this out and I’d like someone out there who knows to come to my aid with an answer.

Here’s the backstory in short. Thirteen short months ago I began my entry into the writing world. I began my course work, submitting short pieces here and there and the usual networking on the social side. Later I created a blog; first on MySpace and then here and now also on the Children’s Writer’s Network.

I’ve met writers from all over the world, read more books in an average week than I ever did in the same timeframe as a younger student and in general thoroughly enjoyed my life. I have more ideas for F/NF than there are hours in the day. But, for all that I’m not a memorable writer to the average reader. I doubt any could actually say they’ve read something I written since nothing of mine is as yet in print. That changes next year.

Today, though, in the post, I received an invitation booklet to the AWP Annual conference and Bookfair. For those unfamiliar with the organization, it’s the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. It’s being held in Denver this coming year in the convention center there. Having looked at both the booklet and the site, the event looks to be both impressive and truly helpful for any writer. Would that I could  find a small windfall that would allow me to attend.

But, I digress. There is no true and logical reason why I should be invited to this conference , especially since I’m a member of none of the various writer’s  guilds yet. No one outside my personal circle of writer friends knows me, and I sincerely doubt that they’ve been bandying about my name. I was flattered, I must admit, that anyone thought me appropriate as an attendee.

On what list did they find my name? Did someone suggest me for the convention thinking I would fit right in with such celebrated writers and publishing folk. I really don’t think I write at the same level as the many Pulitzer winners who are slated to speak there or the others who are doing the workshops. Of course, that could be abject terror talking.

In truth, however, it isn’t just this invitation. It’s the many letters and approaches I receive from MFA programs across the country and other opportunities. I’ve spent a fair amount of my life in classrooms, first as a student, then as a teacher, and then again as a student. I love going to school. And if I had the bucks, I’d hop on one of these offers like a heron on a minnow. [Gotcha! Thought I was going for the duck and junebug thing, didn’t ya?]

My personal philosophy is that the reason we walk this earth in the first place is to learn everything we can possibly learn about ourselves and the universe at large. So learning comes naturally to me. And I really would like to take advantage of at least one of these offers of enlightenment, especially the AWP Convention.

But, I also have a problem with identity paranoia. that’s when I’m known to people I don’t know and they’re willing to help me change the direction of my life, to which they obviously have some knowledge.

Each day, whether online or through snail mail, we get tons of offers of professional perks and education advantages, books, videos, audio instruction, you name it. I cannot go a week without a few of these offers arrving in my mail box. But have you ever wondered who put you on the list the sender used to solicit you? Do you actually know that person? What stranger has been rummaging around in your personal history? Think about that for a moment.

I’ll tell you aomething else, too. You see, along with that convention booklet, I received a letter from my bank telling me that I will be getting one of their new VISA cards since my personal history has been so good with them over the last several years. Zero percent interest for the next year, too. How about that? An offer for a great event, and an offer to help me pay for it. All in one day. How much more convenient could that get?

Tempting? You betcha, if it had come last year or the year before. In today’s economy? Not on your life. Yeah, yeah, I know. You have to spend money to make money. That may be true, but you don’t have to borrow it in order to spend it, now do you? So, there you have it.

Begin writing and the world beats down your door to introduce you to all sorts of things and the ways to pay for them. It’s not just us writers, though. Any profession has the same problem or perk situation, let’s call it.

None of us have any semblance of privacy any more. Everything we buy, or sign up for, or deal with a  company  puts us on a consumer tracking system. The question I want answered is, “Who decides the ones that will come to me and when?

The only WHY is that I obviously have an interest or I wouldn’t be where I am, talking to the people I do, and taking additional education if I didn’t need to connect with whomever or whatever in the wherever.

Become a tracker like me for just three months. You might be surprised at what comes in your mail when you really pay attention to it and pay attention to the timing of things arriving. Think back to what you’d been doing lately. And begin asking yourself some hard questions about who, where, when and how. We’ve already talked about the WHY.

Have fun and if you find out who put me up for this perk, let me know. I really would like to thank them. It is tempting, I must say. I know that I would enjoy the Conference immensely. Hmmm. maybe if I…

A bientot,


Categories: Life, Writing and Poetry
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