A soul, like a body, needs to be nourished. As humans we seek the solace of a cozy place to lay our heads, seeking rejuvenation. In contrast, we also seek a sense of community, of understanding, of acceptance. This is the soul’s need to be a part of something greater than ourselves. These needs are diverse and ever shifting. Our job is to recognize those needs and tend to them.
As a writer, my soul is nourished in many ways. There are days, even among a deluge of rain, that I must venture outside regardless of the discomfort this may cause my body. Solitude too, is one of my soul’s many requirements. I must sit and think. I must get lost in a dream or a story in order to rejuvenate my spirit. My daily meditation practice nurtures me on yet another level .
This past weekend, I fed my soul at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. Though this morning, exhaustion fills every pore of my being, the weekend was quite simply amazing. I listened and learned from writing professionals that I have a deep amount of respect for and thus fueled my soul with knowledge. On more than one occasion, I was touched as keynote speakers reached into their hearts and shared their life experiences with us, creating lasting emotional ties.
I rejoiced in a song with silly lyrics, yet the meaning behind it so crucial to our existence as writers. Conversations with icons in the industry were formulated out of love and respect and a mutual appreciation for our craft. The organizers of the conference, were every bit immersed in the experience as the attendees were. The master of ceremonies was just that, a master of conveying joy and inclusion with gentle reminders of the day ahead.
An evening filled with costume, creativity, and good old fashioned story telling had us rolling with laughter, while creating lasting memories. My first official author signing took place on Saturday evening. To be surrounded by such accomplished authors was a true honor. Yet, even in this situation which could be perceived as daunting and a little frightening, I was comfortable, confident, and nourished. This, I am certain is due to the sheer companionship that Surrey’s conference creates. It was said on multiple occasions, that this particular writer’s conference is like coming home to family.
In an industry filled with competition and long stretches of solitude based writing, it is refreshing to be among friends. It is important to note that not all writer’s conferences have this built in ability to nourish it’s attendees souls. I am told this experience is somewhat exceptional in the conference circuit.
I do not expect you will find nourishment at every spot along your own road. The important thing to remember is to keep seeking until you find what feeds your soul. I suspect it may show itself in a different form for each of us in all varied walks of life. But I do know that it is a crucial part of becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be.
We gathered as writers, some with status, some with mere journal writing in their repertoire. Yet, it was in our equality with one other where the magic existed. We gathered to share, learn, grow, connect and feed our souls and that is exactly what we did. I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the creators, organizers, volunteers, presenters, keynote speakers, and attendees at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, and now I am going to step back into my PJ’s, find some solitude, and recharge from a weekend filled with all the things that make me so proud to be a writer.