No, that’s not a typo. It’s a Conference. Way back in the day, sometime in the 1950s, Paul Green and a bunch of his friends got together and had some drinks and went skinny dipping in Albemarle Sound. As legend goes, he stood and said, Welcome to the first meeting of the North Carolina Writers Conference. And so it began.
This weekend in Asheville, an all volunteer organization is meeting again, and if there’s skinny dipping it will have to be in the hotel pool. It’s gotten kind of formal, with panels and readings and honorees. But it’s really just a meeting of writers–some with published books, some journal editors, some activists and educators–who think it’s worthwhile to know their fellow NC writers better.
There will be panels on mentoring, the old home place in fiction, and a kind of competitive call and response poetry reading that includes the former poet laureate of NC bucking poems with some neighbor poets.
And yes, there will be drinking, but I’m guessing for most of us it won’t be in the heroic vein. We will get to know Ann Deagon, the wonderful feminist poet, a bit better. We will get to know ourselves better. And somewhere down the line we will know we are part of a group that meets every year just to meet. A conference, a confluence, a swimming hole, a front porch, a church, whatever metaphor you choose.