Seven Quick Takes: A Week's Worth of Fun

My version of vacation is spending a week running around in dress clothes, working as the Volunteer Coordinator/Chief of Minions at the Catholic Writers' Conference.  This year involved a thirteen-hour drive to Somerset, New Jersey, where I and my three Minion friends settled in for a long but delightful week.  We experienced everything from crazy traffic (seriously, NJ, learn how to merge!) to discovering new friends, to picking up a stack of autographed books.

I owe a huge thank-you to the girls for all the help they gave both me and the Guild.  All three worked so very hard that I am in awe.  They kept me sane, filled in for missing volunteers, ran errands, kept long hours on late meals, and still managed to have fun. 

This is a week late-ish, but here's a round of quick takes on the Catholic Writers' Conference, in no particular order.

1. My favorite part of the CMN Trade Show every year is the reception and book signing they hold on Wednesday night.  Who doesn't want a stack of free, signed books?!  There are always a few jewels and new discoveries; this year, some favorites were Lisa Hendey's Chime Travelers series 1 and 2, Father Esposito's Letters of Fire, and new from St. Paul, the translated correspondence of St. Therese of Lisieux's parents!

2. Through a delightful concatenation of events, we enjoyed an impromptu ice cream party with a handful of authors.  Ah, the uses of plasticware and hotel cups!  We then had the fun of listening to Regina Doman and Ann Lewis brainstorming a new project.  At one point three of us Minions were providing research support, and generally greatly enjoying the unique experience.

3.  Thanks to fortuitous circumstances, I was able to meet and chat with the lovely folks at Angelico Press.  Had a great conversation with husband and wife both, and am hoping that the connection will be quite useful.  I have a number of ideas, but two are major projects that will have to wait until I have settled into my new job.

4. Many, many thanks to my spectacular corps of volunteers this year.  They all did a wonderful job!  Traffic was a problem for the training sessions, but happily most people had experience, and I was able to track down and train the others fairly quickly.  I was able to easily fill in the remaining gaps on the schedule, and for the most part, everyone showed up to their shifts on time.  Thanks for your hard work and support of the Guild!

5. Check out the CWG blog and Facebook soon for this year's Minion videos - Amy got the idea to ask the authors what their favorite word is.  The footage turned out wonderfully, and Megan is working on putting the videos together.  We're open to ideas for next year if this becomes a tradition!

6. This was my first year as volunteer coordinator, so there are definitely some things to improve for the future.  I had a few recommendations from others - tech support needs to be better organized, our social media minion needs better wifi and a place to work, and I need to label boxes so we don't lose things!  The pitch sessions were also very haphazard, as I hadn't communicated well with the volunteer running the pitches, but we will definitely work on that next year.  I need to be a little more involved with the presenters' aides, and we'll need to rearrange the registration table procedure next year.  Things to think about.

7. It's a little unrelated to the Writers' Conference, but in the car on the way there, I was blessed to finally receive a job offer.  As of August 17, I will be working as a Database and Special Projects Analyst for the Mission Advancement Office of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, MI.  I'm really excited about the opportunity - great work experience, daily Mass, a chance to do some writing and editing, and it's a manageable distance from home!  I've been telling God for a long time that I would walk whatever path He wanted, if He would show me what it is.  Now He has, and things will fall into place.  They had better, because I have two weeks to get a car and an apartment, and move my life up to Ann Arbor!  St. Joseph, pray for me!