I went to a one-day conference called Create South. Create is an acronym. It stands for :
C = Carolina
R = Regional
E = Exposition of
A = Art
T = Technology and
E = Education
It is held annually in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
My original motivation to go was to meet some twitter friends in person and maybe learn a few things that might help me with my business. My secondary motivation was to learn more about this world of writers, podcasters, and tech oriented people that I stumbled upon.
I didn't think of it as a vacation. I thought of it as "networking" sort of. I'm terribly shy when it comes to "putting myself out there". I don't as a general rule go to places where I am not going to know anyone. I don't get panic attacks but I think I come close. If I meet someone casually one-on-one then I am fine. So it was with more than a little trepidation that I made the decision to attend. It was a spur of the moment sort of decision. Maybe my subconscious knew I was ready. I'd like to think that.
I did end up getting together with my twitter friend and found out that they are even better in person. Most people are but you never know. I spent most of my time Friday evening talking about art in general and photography specifically. That first evening all by itself was worth the drive. I hadn't talked to anyone about artistic choices, motivation, perspective, composition, or really anything concerning the creative process (except writing) in so long that I don't when the last time even was. I say that I am an artist. But as is true in athletics it is also true in other things that if you don't use certain muscles they will start to get flabby, to atrophy. But, once you start using them again they will regain their old strength provided you keep using them. But the muscle memory is there for the particular sport they were trained in. Photography is my original sport, artistically.
There were lots of people there from a wide variety of disciplines: writers, podcasters, tech people, artists, and just creative people in general. People willing to have an open mind. People looking for others to inspire them. People looking to inspire others. People wanting to engage each other in discussions and in learning.
These are creative, inventive people. Many with tech backgrounds. Self proclaimed "Geeks". So, it turned out that I was not alone in the nervous area. And, I probably wasn't the shyest person there.
If the two friends I walked into Create South with knew that they were my "security blankets" in terms of knowing someone else there and being able to find them and touch base with them every so often as a means of not feeling like I was drowning in a sea of unfamiliar people, then they didn't let on. I can't imagine that they were unaware. They're just really good people. That sentence easily describes every person I came in contact with over the weekend.
I realized as I figured out which presentations I was going to attend that I was most interested in finding out about some of the publishing options available. I had said to my former co-workers that I want to do a book. A knitting book. Now I'm not so sure. I don't know if my heart is really in something like that. I do know I want to improve as a writer. I want to create a story. Not just certain scenes. So, I got a bunch of information on publishing that is really relevant and very interesting. Did I talk about my writing? Not a word. I'm even having a hard time dealing with talking about it this much, here.
I didn't push myself to come out of my shell while I was there. It felt like enough of a stretch just to make the leap to go in the first place. Someone then told me after the fact that I should give one of the presentations next year. On my yarn. Or my dying process. I immediately said that, "No. That's too much. Too big a stretch."
So, I had another discussion, with a different friend today. About my inability to talk about my writing. About how I loved talking about art and photography and creativity. He told me that all of the different creative things I do all come from me. He made me think. Maybe it's not about yarn. Maybe it's not about color. Maybe it's not about photography. Maybe it's not about art in general. Maybe it's not about writing poetry or erotica. Maybe it's about me. Maybe it's about the creative process I go through regardless of which medium I am working in that day. Maybe it's about the ADD that seems to be present in so many of the creative people I have met lately. Maybe it's about learning to function with ADD so that I can be a productive member of society while still keeping those parts of the ADD that make me the creative, scattered, shy to the unknown, uninhibited and open to those I know, crazy person.
Oh, and it was most definitely a vacation. Never underestimate the power of the ocean to fix something you didn't even know was broken. The sunshine was a bonus.
I'm already making plans for the trip down next year. With company in the car.