D. Pat Thomas

Writer, Yoga Teacher, Lover of Things Outdoors


Quills 2021

Posted by Pat on September 10, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Quills is the annual conference of the League of Utah Writers. And what a delight it was to reunite, inspire and motivate each other, and listen to advice from those with more experience. The array of subjects covered was vast and eclectic: science fiction, weaponry, independent publishing, travel & eavesdropping, romantic sizzle, branding and comedy, for example.

It is a fundamental truth that writers work alone. No one can share a keyboard or mouse when a scene is being drafted. We have beta readers and critique groups to comment and help, but at the end of the day each gesture of a character, every word chosen, when and how it is written – only the writer working alone can decide these things. This is why Quills has a quiet room for the introvert who gets overwhelmed by busy corridors and rising human voices. That said, there can be too much of a good thing, and many of us had an overload of isolation coming into Quills this year. The joy of being able to chat and laugh and listen was deep and healing.

Writers predictably take notes when attending a conference. When I reviewed mine, one comment stuck out: “The reason to write is allow the reader to process emotions.” Let’s think about that. It is not unusual for a writer to create characters or scenes to process his or her own emotions, to get it out, let it go. In sharing the human experience, the writer evokes in the reader parallel emotional reactions. The feelings, like the ringing of a tuning fork, vibrate in the reader as well. It is a shared experience, a bond. If nothing else, we learned during quarantine that the need to share the human experience is not only deep; it is at the core of who and what we are. Appreciating this truth and its resonance between and among us, made Quills 2021 a towering canyon where the echoes amongst us crystallized and could be clearly heard. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this conference the success that it was.


Categories: Conference Notes, Musings