I stand alone in a room of hundreds and snap a picture. We congregate and wait for food and talk and ask how the day is going so far. It’s been an interesting day, so far…
I look around a wonder how, and perhaps more importantly, why all of us find ourselves together in a hotel conference room in a county that shares its name with the state. There’s no mystery, really. Something draws us to the point where we take time away from our families, our jobs, and our yard work responsibilities to gather together, to be in one building and share a communal experience.
A literary agent asked me today if I was enjoying the conference. I answered honestly. In response to the same question posed by another participant, I said, “it’s been uplifting, sometimes painfully so.”
We’re done with our lunches and everyone’s filtering out of the room, hopefully full of food and ready for more. In a few hours we’ll all leave, by car, on foot, maybe a bicycle, and some will need a plane to get home. I’ve got a relatively short drive, but I’m leaving more than a conference, more than a group of people who learned and chatted and ate together. I’m leaving many preconceived opinions behind as well.