Saturday, September 17, 2011

What I Learned at Story

"Beauty will save the world." ~Fyodor Dostoevsky
If you are connected to me at all on Facebook or Twitter, you are well aware that I have just attended the Story conference in Chicago . . . which from this point forth (at least as far as I have the authority to dictate) will no longer be called the Story "conference," but the Story experience.

There's really no other way to explain it.

I can't tell you what I learned.

Sure, I can recite several new poignant quotes and tidbits of trivial information. (For example, Ed Saxon, producer of Silence of the Lambs, did a cameo as a head in a jar in that film. And his grandmother was a Rockette. And he didn't inherit those genes. And I have the video to prove it. ;)

But what practical information did I learn? What new skill will I be taking home to apply to my craft?

Well. I just don't know.

I do know this:

When I exited that building today (or technically yesterday), I chose to walk back to the hotel, instead of taking a cab. (Okay, so that may be rationalized as a life-saving effort, but there's more . . .)

As I crossed through the less desirable part of town, I didn't see poverty; I saw precious people.

I didn't dwell on the gravel-lined, chain-link fence. But I grinned at a lone, purple flower defying its environment.

I didn't feel fear; I felt the protection of God.

When a passing cab driver yelled obscenities to the horse-drawn carriage that was slowing the pursuit of the American dream, I was reassured by the strength and power and rhythm of slow and steady hooves.

I was lifted by the orange and yellow ruffled flower pinned to lapel of the weathered lady who was carting her life's treasures behind her.

Tonight, as I finally get the chance to rest and reflect, I'm not whining about the industrial glare through my hotel window; I am grateful for the light, casting cross-shaped coronas just for me.

And when I could be snuggling into a comfy hotel pillow, I am choosing to press on, hold my little instrument, and write.

So, what did I learn from the Story experience?

I'm sorry; I can't tell you.

But keep watching, my friends, and I promise, I'll show you.