The Long and Winding Road


I attended the James River Writers Conference for the very first time in 2006. I was just beginning to explore this idea that perhaps I could write something (hesitant to call myself a writer). I was working on my first story (hesitant to call it a novel). Last weekend, nine years later, I attended the conference as a writer who has written two novels and two novellas. I taught a master class, moderated two panels and participated on a third. I was busy preparing to speak and speaking and meeting other authors that I “knew” only in the online world, and so, as often happens in the most significant moments in life, I missed the gravity of this weekend until well after it was over.

As the post-conference quiet settled in and I replayed the memories of the weekend, I found that I also kept getting flashbacks of a nine-years-younger me walking into the same conference full of curiosity and nerves and general uneasiness. I remembered sitting in panels and taking notes and feeling simultaneously amazed and overwhelmed by the depth of knowledge. Nine years later I still have so much to learn, but I am also keenly aware that I have much to share.

Sitting at that first conference I would never have imagined how that first book would turn out (years later it became the idea for Neverending Beginnings), nor would I have any idea that I would embark on a indie publishing journey (was that even a thing in 2006?). If you had told me that I would write a weekly blog that anyone other than my parents and husband would read, that would have seemed like crazy talk. And an article on a USA Today blog– I’m sorry what?, who?, how?

I don’t have any grand answer about how I got from there to here, but my overwhelming sense about it is that is has to do with connections. Connecting with what you are writing. Connecting with readers who love your stories. Connecting with other authors. That’s the journey that started nine years ago and the one that I’m continuing on today.

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7 thoughts on “The Long and Winding Road”

  1. Sigh… What a lovely post, and so nice that you did pause to see it and feel it. Your writing this helped me see that I had, too, had come so far. On a panel, moderating, and board member. And not so green as my first conference all those years ago.

    1. marychrisescobar

      Exactly! It’s easy to miss how much has changed when you’re in the moment. (Also – there’s a little thing about a completed novel and an agent missing from your list of accomplishments in that comment. *wink* )

  2. When you grow too old to “dream” – do you? So far, NO!
    Nor the force to bring them forth –
    But to convince a population, day to day, person by person to read my Memoir;
    I don’t really care if they do!
    It’s personal, it’s about me, my times, my life –
    In all honesty, I couldn’t care less if the first page knocks your sox off –


    “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could;
    So somewhere in my youth or childhood
    I must have done something— good?”
    — The Sound of Music, Oscar Hammerstein

    June 14, 1935, in Roanoke, Virginia was the most momentous day I ever shared with my mother—she had me!
    Dr. Grosclose, whose descriptive name is forever imbedded in my mind, aided and abetted the third Catharine Mary in her effort to deliver the fourth. Not to be redundant, they called me Polly. Flags flew, and the country celebrated Flag Day, a happening the infant would later believe was her own. ”

    I wasn’t even breech!

    So, I’ll need an agent ; I don’t mind sharing ideas with an interesting/interested group, and I hope there are agents out there who will like my product enough to get behind it.
    I think your presentation and marketing are very good, and forty years ago I’d be ready to emulate an approach like yours; but a Memoir is oneself; and mine is nearly whole.

    1. marychrisescobar

      Hi Polly! Thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your writing. It was wonderful to have you in our master class.

      What’s so great about writing and publishing today is that you have SO many choices for how to share your book with the world. Enjoy writing your memoir, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you at some other James River Writers events.

      1. Your discusson group was very worthwhile and you offered
        valuable suggestions to the e-market.
        I think I see myself more as a team participant – ideas playing off one another is a stimulus I could really value and use.
        The memoir is mostly done; that was a solo flight. Now it’s time for a co-pilot!

  3. In a few years, I’ll have to write a reflective post about how you were the first person to welcome me to my first JRW Conference. Great conference this year. Loved your class and learned a lot.

    1. marychrisescobar

      Wow! I don’t think that I realized I was the first person to welcome you – so very cool! I’m so glad we met- always SO excellent to chat business and writing with you. I’m very excited that you enjoyed the conference and our class (You’re so on top of things, I was terrified that we would bore you to tears 🙂 ). See you soon!

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