Learning for Life

May 11, 2023 by Gency Brown

Hello fellow readers, writers and other creative types and welcome to The Little Brown Cabin.

I learned a few things last week. I made the drive to my old stomping grounds in Oklahoma to attend a writer’s conference and visit family. These conferences are always fun and informative if you go into them with an open mind. Family is always fun.

This was my second time to attend Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. https://www.owfi.org While there weren’t as many classes that fit my writing this time, I attended workshops about creating a middle grade novel, social media marketing, and getting yourself unstuck as an author. I learned from each presenter. It’s all about writing, after all.

The most engaging speaker for me was Becca Syme of https://betterfasteracademy.com/ Her system of recognizing and working with your strengths is mind blowing. I attended three of her sessions, and she only completed one. She gave us all her slide presentations and two of her books so we could do it on our own. It’s not that she is a poor speaker who can’t control her time. It’s that she is so passionate about helping authors be all they can be, she gets wound up on a topic and finds it hard to stop. I think her teachings could help us in most phases of life.

An added pleasure was being able to spend time with my editor. We have a plan for getting my debut novel, A Right Fine Life, published in the next few months. I learned about working on the galley edits and getting the manuscript back to her as quickly as possible. Now it is in the proofreading stage and as she said, “Now we wait.” It’s another step toward publication completed.

The friend travelling with me on this adventure enjoyed the sights of Oklahoma City as I attended the conference. Though I’m the one from that area, she actually explored landmarks I had never visited. Isn’t that the way it is? We travel around the world but don’t visit beautiful places right around us. When will we learn?

On Sunday, I spent time with my uncle going over some genealogy information about our family tree. He said he never knew his paternal grandfather and farther back, so a lot of what he was seeing in the folder was new for him. When he heard I was leaving it with him, he was excited that he could show it to his friends there in the VA Center. He told me stories of his childhood and the house where he was born. In a recent talk, I told him I was learning to fly fish. His eyes got big, and he offered me one of his rods and a reel he had purchased when he was in Japan during the Korean War. I told him I was on my way down to pick them up from his son and he smiled.

The next morning my friend, my cousin, and I were in the water. Fishing. It was so much fun that we didn’t stop until mid-afternoon. The next day we stayed out until 7pm. We all caught fish and released! Oh Boy did I ever learn a lot those two days? About fly-fishing for sure, but also about enjoying friends and family. I didn’t use my uncle’s rod or reel on this trip. That’s too much a treasure for me right now. We fished a different creek each day, and it reminded me how beautiful it is to be out in the woods enjoying nature. There’s nothing like standing in the middle of a cool creek, listening to the birds, seeing a doe and her fawn sharing the water with us thirty yards away. I also learned, or remembered, that Oklahoma red dirt when wet is as slippery as greasy owl poop as my granddaddy would have said. Yes, I fell in that mud trying to climb up the embankment and out of the creek. No, I didn’t get a photo of that, but I learned the waders can go through the washer on gentle cycle and survive. My wading boots weigh an extra half pound with all that red mud caked on them. Glorious. Just a great learning experience of a week.

With my next blog, I’ll start sharing about my novel every so often. Introducing my characters, their locations, and what drives each one. That will hopefully lead you to want to learn more and get a copy when the book comes out. I’ll share the release date as soon as I get it. Thanks for spending time with me at The Little Brown Cabin.