About a year ago, a poet friend in my online writing group proposed organizing a writer’s conference here in Japan. I had long wished for such an event, and I immediately volunteered to participate. I had no idea who would turn up. At worst, I imagined the 20 or so presenters would be attending each others’ workshops. That wouldn’t have been so bad.
Last weekend, the conference was held at Ocha no Mizu Daigaku (Tea Water College) in Tokyo. Although there were only a handful at the first couple of sessions, and only about ten at my reading of Losing Kei, a crowd had gathered by late afternoon.
I was inspired by the talk on playwriting. (I’m going to write a play, just as soon as I finish the pile o’ work I’ve got to do!) And I was happy to meet up with friends and acquaintances that I mostly communicate with via email.
On Sunday, I conducted a fiction writing workshop. Forty people were present. I had only expected about twenty, so I was pleasantly surprised. Participants wrote for ten minutes each on the followng topics:
– a wedding
-at the beach
-“Are you the bastard who keeps telling me I’m drunk?”
Some amazing writing came out of those prompts.
I had to dash off to the airport before the final sessions, which included a planning meeting for next year. Happily, several participants stepped up to volunteer to organize next year’s event. I’m hoping this will be an institution.