Thursday, September 14, 2006

After the Conference....

As Carol Cross explains, it is not expensive to belong to Southern Illinois Writers Guild--if you don't like to read, that is. Of course, almost all writers do love to read and need to read to perfect their craft. And being around writers with books to sell is a terrible temptation to people like me. As much as I tout libraries, I still love owning books. I like to mark them, take notes, re-read them, loan them, look at them on the shelf, and cherish them.

So after a SIWG conference like Saturday's, I not only come home inspired and with my brain buzzing with new information and ideas, I also have a new stack of books to peruse. I find it hard to get much else done because the temptation to buy the books is replaced with the temptation to devour them--whether I really have time to read or not. Some are for Christmas gifts, so those need to be wrapped.

Jon Musgrave had a few copies of his newest book The Bloody Vendetta shipped down overnight, and they were delivered to the conference, where I got my preordered one hot off the press with his inscription that I got the first copy. That was a thrill. Years ago I read the Milo Erwin book, but I am eager to read Jon's updated information combined with his. The rest of Jon's books were to arrive today, and he was probably already signing them somewhere as he will be this Saturday at the Women's Health Conference at our SIWG table there. We were at the same table yesterday with Deb Tucker at Club Day at John A. Logan College. We had two students become new members of SIWG!

One of our presenters at the conference was Doris Wenzel, who co-authored Ten Sisters, the story of her siblings and her, who were separated for many many years. Some of the children went to Cunningham Children's Home, where my friend and former co-worker Bunny Wolfe worked raising donations and educating about the home. Because of Bunny, I get the home's newsletter. I am sorry to say I've never donated, because Gerald and I naturally have given for years to the Baptist Children's Home through our church. But the book made me think again what I think every time I get the newsletter: I need to make a donation to this important place. I learned a great deal from the book about the resilience of children and of the pain of being separated from siblings. I am eager to see the PBS documentary about the sisters next spring. I loved the picture book version of the adult book called Ten Little Sisters.

I traded books with Wendy Culver, and that too was a sad story without the happy ending of the ten sisters. I started to read Velma Crow's book, which is a Bible study, but I realized I needed more time to concentrate on that type of reading.

Tonight I can barely stand to put down The Advocate, a murder mystery by Bill O'Shea, who is donating all his profits to CASA and women and children's shelters. Interestingly he has a four-year-old character named Michael, who echoes the superior ability to take care of himself that the ten sisters exhibited. Bill, who once worked as policeman in Chicago, intrigued us with The Foot Post, a few years back. Now living in Southern Illinois and volunteering with CASA, this private detective is an extraordinarily compassionate man who is raising awareness of sexual predators through his writing. I like to watch Bill interact with people. His empathy and skill with others' emotions is impressive. He always makes me feel understood and cared for. If you get a chance to have him sign a book for you, I am sure he will make you feel the same way. And you can also feel good about where your money is going to help children.

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