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THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF THE DOLDRUMS AT WHEN WORDS COLLIDE

I was so happy to be invited to participate at When Words Collide, a fabulous writing and reading festival for lovers of words held at the Carriage House in Calgary Aug. 9 -11.

My first day, I was part of a Humourous Readings panel, and Eve of Destruction, a panel on writing strong female characters. (See cute photos on Facebook.)

My last panel was on Sunday morning. When I saw the title, Getting Past the Middle Doldrums in Novel Writing, I thought, “Yes! I should sign up for this. It might be helpful with the middle sections of my next Lulu Malone mystery.”

I imagined a small koffee klatch of maybe five or six authors sitting around, moaning and kvetching about the middle sections of novels. Should be fun. I would be in good company.

Instead, just before I left for the Carriage House on Sunday morning, I thought I should maybe check out the other authors on the panel. (I have no idea why I didn’t think to do this before. I will come up with some great excuse, like evacuating seniors from the neighbourhood care centre, or rescuing puppies from bad people, or maybe catering a huge crowd at a last moment as a favour to a friend. Instead, I have nothing. Just didn’t think.)

I was somewhat horrified to see that I was on a panel with Patricia Briggs, D.B. Jackson, and Dave Duncan. The Big Names at the Festival. A big panel in a big room. And then there was me. Moi. Although one of my books (Rebel Women: Achievements Beyond the Ordinary) is a Canadian bestseller, and my first Lulu Malone mystery, Deadly Dues, has been well received, I was way out of my league here.

I imagined them going to the organizers and saying, “We have sold millions of books. Who is this little ms nobody on the panel with us? Dump her, or we walk.”

Luckily, my years in improv have given me a lot of creative courage and wild ideas. I asked to go first in the introductions, and basically presented myself as an impostor, having accidentally landed on this panel (true) and that, being stuck in the muddle in the middle (as the subtitle to the panel labeled it) I was looking forward to great guidance from my fellow panelists. For some reason, the audience of about 100 people found this quite hilarious. The stars must have been aligned.

The star panelists were very kind. They did not scorn me or mock me. (Well, maybe one did, but I am sure he didn’t mean it.) Instead, we all seemed to work together well, and I was just grateful to get out of there alive without having disgraced myself.

Later, in the authors’ market room, as I sat chatting with a gorgeous self-published fantasy author, at least six people approached me, saying (and I swear every single person used this exact phrase …. could my mother have paid them to do this?) “You were HILARIOUS on that panel!”

Big sigh of relief. I survived. And I also have some great notes for getting out of the muddle in the middle.

Onward!

Comments (2)

2 Responses to “THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF THE DOLDRUMS AT WHEN WORDS COLLIDE”

  1. Mary (Cane) Mulholland says:

    Hi Linda,
    I started to wonder what had become of you, Googled your name and voila!
    We roomed together at Banff . Do you remember? I have been thinking fondly of those heady days because my daughter, Miranda, who is a musician, just had a 2-week residency at the now Banff Centre. She loved it. I got out my memorabilia from there and remembered our acting, voice and movement classes. Do you remember Mary Pirie and John Bayliss? Both now sadly deceased. Irene Protheroe? Dr. Hodge?
    Congratulations on your acting and writing careers! I taught drama in England and then here in Guelph, Ontario, at the university and high school levels, ending my teaching career as a high school librarian.
    I remember you as very witty, self-effacing and funny.
    Feel free to write back or not, as you wish. Best regards, Mary

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Mary,
    I have replied to you but I think my email went astray. Please get in touch again.
    Linda

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