Things I found in my duffel bag while unpacking from West Virginia Writers Conference:
-Six new pens, three new pencils, and 14 bookmarks advertising every type of book, from romance to murder mystery to picture book
-One of my dress shoes. If anyone at Cedar Lakes comes across a high heel, I ... don't need it back, actually. I had to ditch them halfway to the dining hall anyway. Who wears high heels to a lakeside conference that feels so very much like a dreamy summer campground from childhood?
-My room key, about which the conference center was very gracious in allowing me to mail back to them instead of charging me $10. I thought I'd locked the key in the room. Turns out I had, for reasons that escaped me, neatly packed it next to my toothbrush. (Seven hours sleep all weekend, folks. This is what happens.)
-An unpopped bag of popcorn Julee gave me (thanks, Julee!) at two in the morning when I realized I hadn't brought snacks and I was hungry, but then I fell asleep before I managed to locate the microwave
-Hand-outs from some excellent workshops and classes
-Scribbled messages in notebook margins: "Remember chicken poem." "Open with exercise?" "B-fast 7:30." "Change 'second' to 'last' in final poem in FV." (Which I forgot to do.) And my favorite: "Casualties: 111111111" -- I kept track of all the times somebody likened deleting passages from your book to murder. Twice it was me and I don't even like that metaphor.
-One dirty sock. Seriously, between the shoe and the sock, I feel like I ought to check and make sure I came back with both feet!
-A bunch of beads that fell off my flip-flop. But for every bead I managed to find and bring home, I'm sure I left at least four in my room at the lodge.
-So much relaxation, inspiration, and excitement it didn't fit in the duffel bag and I had to carry it in my feet that won't stop skipping and my lips that won't stop smiling and, most importantly, in my pen that won't stop moving.
I can't wait until next summer!