The San Miguel Writers Conference has been a little more intense than expected. I’ve had time to ponder food choices and eat consciously, but not much time to blog. Posting blogs has been challenging as internet is hit or miss at my casa. It’s more miss than hit, but at $35 per day for a studio apartment in a clean and safe casa, I can’t complain.
I pulled away from the conference early this afternoon to catch some sun and visit the Jardin. The park in front of the big pink church is always buzzing with family on Saturdays and Sundays, but today was unreal. Today was the start of Carnival. I heard the roaring laughter and screams two blocks away. As I approached, I noticed the park was pinked with confetti. The sidewalks were pinker than the church. Children, teenagers, and a few “grown-ups” chased each other in what looked like a game of tag. Folks selling hollowed out Easter eggs, egg-headed puppets, and bright paper flowers lined the perimeter.
I bought a bag of eggs for 5 pesos. Money exchanged hands just before I was accosted by a band of egg brandishing boys. Three eggs filled with confetti crashed on my head. I didn’t think twice. I ran after them, and amazingly I caught up and crushed an egg on the slowest boy’s head. And then I was attacked from behind and took off running in a different direction. I loved the inclusion, loved the chase. I breathed a sigh of relief after each crack and cascade of paper. I feared being taken for a bad egg and receiving a hit full of flour, mayo, or worse, raw egg.
I went through several bags of confetti eggs and never received any of the nasty sorts. I crushed my fair share for an hour or so, but got the biggest kick out of handing side-lined children their own bags of eggs. It was like I had given the best gift ever, the chance to play. 5 pesos buys a lot of happiness for a kid without enough money for such simple indulgences.
I decided to bring a little happiness back to the conference. My first victim was potential agent, Andy Ross. He’s interested in my manuscript, and while I’m sure egg-smashing breaks professional writerly-code, I let him have it. He liked it so much he asked for another, another egg that is.
Poet, cook-book author, and San Miguel resident, Judyth Hill was my next victim, but only because she requested my services. She was having a tough day and told me that it had been a long time since someone crushed an egg on her head. The ritual cheered her so much, that she too asked for another.
I had three eggs left. Two were designated for a mentor/mentee double-crush between Krista Iverson and me. It is way more fun to give than receive, and I wanted Krista to have the opportunity for both.
The final egg was for potential agent, Kathleen Anderson, of Anderson Literary in New York. She was the first agent I pitched to. I was so nervous that I totally choked, and almost cried. She was kind enough to distract me with questions and small-talk until I got myself back together and finished the pitch. She was amazing, amazing enough to ask to see my manuscript and amazing enough to earn an egg.
Krista, Andy, Kathleen, and I went out to dinner after, as we had one evening before. I’ve learned that agents are people too. Some are much more fun than others. While I may not sign with either, I have conquered the fear of talking about my work. I learned a new tradition to bring home to my grandkids, and I made myself and lots of other kids in the Jardin happy. These are good accomplishments for any new writer. Be true to yourself, and you’ll always have at least have one friend.