Friday, August 5, 2011

Willamette Writers Conference and Computer Sex

Welcome to the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon

Group Consult Room

This morning I cursed my alarm at 5:45am, groped my way into the shower, pulled on the clothes I'd picked out the night before, and shuffled out to the car. The 6:45 traffic was light and I arrived at the Airport Convention Center in no time. I clumped down the hall to the PDX room and checked out my "Staff" vest, searched for a stop-watch, and signed in at the volunteer desk, all before that morning cup of Starbucks.

It was fun meeting agents when I didn't have to pitch to them. I was stationed in the Group Consult area and all I had to do is smile and use my outside voice to say, "Attention: five minute warning, five minutes," and "Time is up, time is up." It amazed me that all the people who came in to give their pitch to the agents looked calm. No one clutched their chests and crumpled to the floor (although we had been trained on the procedure to follow, should that happen. My feeling was it was more likely to happen in the one-on-one consult area.)
Author Hallie Ephron gives advice to attendee

In the afternoon, I attended two workshops, both given by Hallie Ephron, author of Come and Find Me and Never Tell a Lie. She is a fabulous speaker. Between sessions, I opened my notebook and attempted to jot down some notes before I forgot them. It was not my intention to overhear Sara Mikulic and Jocelyn Lindsay. It just happened. I didn't know the subject because I'd actually been trying to tune them out, but there are times a word or two will jump out at you. In this case, I heard Jocelyn say several words, as though she were making a list, and one of the items was "computer sex."

I thought she was deliberating on possible plot points for her book. My pen dropped and I glanced over at them. "Computer sex? Is that in your current work-in-progress?"

They both stared at me.

"I heard you say computer sex."

They eyed each other before swinging their gazes back to me. Several seconds ticked by.

Heat traveled up my neck. "Sorry, I shouldn't have interrupted," I said. "I just couldn't help but hear you say it."

I picked up my pen just as Jocelyn said, "Computer science. Science."

"Computer science?'"

She nodded and they both burst out in fits of chuckles.


I don't know. I'll bet Jocelyn is, right now, mapping out a book about a computer science instructor falling in love with his computer.

Um, it was very nice to meet you, Sara and Jocelyn.


  1. Ashling,

    It is probably a good thing they were writers. Would have been really bad if it had been a couple of nuns.

  2. Actually, what about a computer falling in love with the workaholic author? It could either be a tragic tale of romance woe or a psycho techno thriller like Basic Instict only with a Mac.

    But what a great way to open a conversation. Next time I'm in a room full of strangers I'm going to turn to the person next to me and say "So, about that computer sex. . . "

  3. Jocelyn,

    It apparently works best in a group of writers. I was relieved to know you were staring at me because you couldn't figure out where I got the "computer sex."

    See you at the Vancouver Writers Mixer.


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