Writers' Conference and a Yellow Lab

Today was a very long day for me. The annual writers’ conference was held at our main branch library in the thriving metropolis of Houma, LA. Even though my book has been out for three years, an invitation to sit at a table all day long and peddle my book still appeals to me. That’s not all I was asked to do.

I had the honor of critiquing one chapter each belonging to two aspiring writers. Reading their creations, meeting them, and then being able to encourage them in their writing was a distinct pleasure for me. Very late in the day, appearing on a panel with published children’s authors Sharon Doucet and Terri Dunham was really a treat and almost the highlight of the day.

What was really the highlight of the event was getting to meet a local author, who no longer lives here, but who continues to write about this area from places like New York, New Jersey, and Chesapeake Bay. His name is Ken Wells. Hearing him speak about his current book, a fiction he began in 1986 about our disappearing wetlands, and published in 2006, really inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing. And then chatting with him at the after social about his upcoming book just about put me over the top.

As tired as I am, I probably wont’ be able to sleep due to too much adult stimulation! That’s been an ongoing joke in this household about me any time I get to spend extended amounts of time with other adults, without interruptions by wonderful wee ones.

During my deep conversation with Ken, my cell phone started buzzing in my pocket. I ignored two calls from home, and then decided to break myself away and take the third in case someone lost a hand or something equally as emergent.

“Momma, you’ll never guess the surprise I have for you when you get home.”

Coming from my 12-year-old-son, who’s been playing outdoors with friends all day, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

“Momma, we were rolling up the tent and something jumped on my friend’s back, and you’ll never guess what it was. It’s a golden retriever. I asked everyone around if they knew whose dog it is. No one knows, Momma. So I gave her a flea bath, and guess what? She has no fleas!! And then I took her to the bayou. I threw an old Beanie Baby duck in the bayou, and she swam and got it! She’s a duck dog, Mom. It’s the dog I’ve been dreaming of.”

Oh, brother. I’m a goner.

“Oh, and Mom, she chewed the microphone to my video game system, but she’s being real still right now.”

And then it’s my turn to break my silence, knowing this dog’s fate weighs in the balance, my words on the other side of the scale.

“Son, if that dog chews through the internet cable wires, you might not live to go duck hunting ever again! Someone probably dropped that dog off because she’s hyper and they couldn’t control her in their home any more.”

“But Mom, she’s not being hyper now. She’s just lying there.”

“Son, I don’t want that dog in the house. I don’t know this dog yet. Please, son, take it back outside, and I’ll see it when I get home. Gotta go now!”

When I arrived home, said dog was tied up in the back yard, watching the den window; and as soon as my face appeared in the window, her tail began to wag, but she didn’t even bark. I’m impressed. She’s not straining at the lease, she’s not even whimpering.

Hmmmmm. We might just have ourselves a duck dog!

Sunday is going to hopefully be another landmark day in the life of this bayou dweller. A documentary producer and her cameraman are taking a ride on my boat to see the beautiful side of this rapidly disappearing wetland, to explain through film why the bayou people choose to stay.

If you are really, really good, you will soon have a report and photos of the excursion!

Until then, I remain your faithful


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