Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Conference Encounters #2


A writing conference is a great place to make friends and influence people, unless you have a twisted tongue like mine. My mouth is always getting me into trouble when it starts stumbling over my teeth. You can read my last week’s encounter HERE!

My mouth gets me into so much trouble when it starts stumbling over my teeth.

This week’s encounters aren’t actually mine. Yea! I won’t give names because the folks involved are all dear people! And the things they said could SO have been me! So let’s just call them Jane and Judy.

First is Judy’s story. During one class early on, the highly accredited teacher instructed half of the group to write a positive description of the room in which we sat and the other half of the room to write a negative version. I sat in the negative version, but held my tongue when she invited volunteers to share their paragraphs. I don’t usually dig to deeply into a negative POV, but it’s necessary sometimes. BTW, this one was mine, just for kicks.

Crammed into a tight space and sitting in a straight-backed chair for hours does nothing for a person’s mood. And neither does pee-colored walls and blackened ceilings. Trying to concentrate on a monotone speaker is hard enough without needing a parka to stave off frigid air. Judging from the coughing around the room, most of the other students froze as well. And yet the crackle of the overworked conditioner assured no soon end to the discomfort.

Judy also sat in the negative section, and she shared her description. Which was My first workshop at the ACFW conferenceactually quite good IMO. But she saw fit to include the presenter in her negative description. Not that I wouldn’t have done that. In fact, ahem, I did, though I didn’t mean what I said. I LOVED this class! But I would NEVER have shared it aloud. (At least not after the crowd ohhhhed when she shared hers!)

Something about the woman looking like death, I think.

To her credit, she gave a caveat that this wasn’t truly about the teacher, but I sat there and thanked the Lord that she got her hand noticed before I put mine in the air.

Jane’s Story begins on Wednesday when I registered – yes me. I knew Jane from some online correspondence and recognized her immediately when I first saw her. Now I was a little over-eager during conference – again, refer to the first encounter story if you need confirmation – so I probably came on a little strong when I explained who I was.

She recognized me again Thursday morning at breakfast when we walked in at the same time. Thursday lunch when we walked out at the same time. And even crossing paths in the hallways. I swear, besides the buds that I came with, I saw her more than anyone else. And each time, I would smile and say hi and ask her how she was doing.

Well by Saturday, it was beginning to be a joke. “I swear, I’m not stalking you!” I promised. After all, she was the one who had a published book and I was just a newbie. By Saturday evening and no less than a dozen encounters with this almost perfect stranger, she finally said, “I don’t get it. I’m constantly seeing you all over the place, yet there are so many people who I actually want to see that I can’t find for the life of me!” Ouch. Giggle. Smile and nod. I bet she didn’t even realize what she said or how that could be taken, but it made me laugh!

So glad I’m not the only one to let my mouth run away from me, but I do have one more story. Hideous. Embarrassing. Oh and I’m definitely the star of that one! Tune in next week!

Your turn: You know you’ve done something like this. What have you said that you wished more than anything you could suck right back in and pretend it hadn’t happened?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

4 thoughts on “Conference Encounters #2

  1. Marji, it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who says things that I wish I hadn’t. Sometimes things just come out differently than what I meant or thought. Then I beat myself up over it for the rest of my life! Occasionally I find I won’t say anything at all for fear of sticking my foot in my mouth–again! Either way, I come out looking like a total and complete idiot! What’s a girl to do? Thanks for sharing…goes to show we all blunder from time to time.


    • Oh you are SO not the only one! But I think the ability to laugh at yourself is part of what joy is all about. And believe me, I have plenty of experience in that area!


  2. Hi Marji,

    I’m glad you had a good time netherless. 🙂 And please share more with us.


    • Unfortunately, I do have another story! 😛 Next Wednesday! Oh and it is a doozie, at least in the my cheeks still get warm when I think about it category.