As I sat in the Kleinert/James Art Center waiting for the Woodstock Writers Festival's Historical Fiction panel to start, a woman sitting next to me complained to her friend sitting in the row behind us.
"I'm feeling so tired. I just couldn't sleep last night. I find myself..just too...I don't know too inspired. I couldn't settle down when I came home from last night's panel," she told her friend. The WWF does have a way of energizing you. The weekend blew by me. Here are a few highlights and advice from esteemed authors.
Philippe Petit, author of "Why Knot?" captivated the Woodstock audience with his self-depricating humor, French accent and passion for knots. Joe Donahue, who I have heard on the WAMC radio, but never seen in person, gave a fantastic juicy interview with Cheryl Strayed, author of "Wild" and "Tiny Beautiful Things" and there were a few serious good laughs. Advice gleened from this discussion:
You have to write what you must write!
Own your place in the world and write into it.
Cheryl Strayed says she writes "fearlessy, open-heartedly, with abandonment, and without seeking approval"
"Don't overburden yourself with too much research. The flight of your imagination won't take off with too much baggage," says Carey Herrison.
"Go where the story takes you!"
"It's what we don't know about our past that makes us write"
I didn't go to the story slam on Thursday night or the breakfast with Abigail Thomas and Bar Scott like I did last year, but I did go to the Friday night cocktail party at Photosensualis, and had fun talking to Fabulous Furniture's Steve Heller, mystery writer Arlene Kay, and met a few Hudson Valley Good Stuff followers too.
If you missed the Woodstock Writers Festival, you can catch all the panels via Webcast via WoodstockWritersFestival.com. It's well worth the small fee to listen to these engaging discussions. I can't wait until the next Woodstock Writers Festival!