As some of you may know, when I’m not participating in creative writing challenges, I support myself as a professional writer and editor. Well, this past weekend I attended the Editors’ Association of Canada’s annual conference, held this year at the Lord Nelson hotel in the lovely city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In fact, I am hanging out in Halifax for a few more days. And as I am without my all my reference books, I thought I would offer an overview of the conference in lieu of my more traditional Monday grammar post.
The first thing I have to say is that Haligonians are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Actually, scratch that. Nova Scotians in general are fabulous people. If you ever get a chance to visit this province, you won’t be disappointed. The restaurants and brew pubs alone make it worth the trip!
Okay, so let’s talk about the conference. There was such a diverse selection of sessions to attend that sometimes I had to flip a coin to decide where I was going next. I attended a panel on the use of social media in the publishing industry, a workshop on writing regional dialogue (featuring the charming and talented Lesley Crewe), a session on making the most of meetings (which was way more interesting than it sounds — no really!), a session on building a good working relationship between an editor and a memoirist, a panel on the perils and rewards of being a regional publisher, and a feisty panel on political writing. I learned something from each session that I plan on carrying with me into all my future work, both professional and recreational. My only complaint was wishing some of the sessions could have gone longer.
In between the sessions on Sunday, one of our members, James Harbeck, conducted “word tastings,” in which he had us sample some different words and then discussed similarities and differences, echoes (words that the word in question makes you think of), etymology, collocations (words that “go” with the word in question), and more. If you’re like me and that sort of thing makes you so excited people look at you funny, you should check out James’ blog Sesquiotica. (In fact, I think his most recent post talks about the origins of Haligonian.)
On top of all that, we had two wonderful keynote speakers. The first was Robert MacNeil, who you may know from the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, or from one of his novels. He is something of a Canadian icon and he also happens to be a fantastic speaker. The second speaker was Donna Morrissey, a Canadian author with a wicked stage presence and a great deal of depth. I am eagerly looking forward to reading her latest book The Deception of Livvy Higgs.
But finally, and most importantly, the highlight of the weekend was by far all the wonderful people I got to meet. If you don’t know any editors, you might be surprised to find out how much fun they are to hang out with. I’m proud to find myself in such great company — and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference.