I Didn’t Go To The Writers Conference

I didn’t go to the writers conference.
It’s happening right in my city.
Some say it’s the best writers conference in North America
And dream about it for months
Buying fancy, shiny outfits for it that they post online
Because the writers conference includes cocktail parties and networking events
And they want to look the part.

The only part I know how to look is a short, childlike person
Dressed like a thirteen-year-old boy
So I guess it’s good that I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because seriously… me at a writers conference?

I didn’t go the writers conference
And I had a very good food day while I wasn’t there.
Lamb chops, so tender. Fruit salad, Greek salad, tea cakes.
Even chocolate covered matzah, emblem of my freedom from the writers conference.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because, in the name of all that is holy and likely to spark the messianic age
Would you have gone to that writers conference?
If you wouldn’t have, don’t try to sic it on me.

I didn’t go to the writers conference because it would have been filled with writers.
Isn’t that enough of a reason?

I didn’t go to the writers conference because I don’t have unlimited money
And I’d rather hang out in Ubud this summer
Meeting mystics and healers
And even writers from the other side of the globe.
Surely those writers are better people than these writers
You know, the writers at this writers conference.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
So sue me.
I’m serious: you will never win
It’s a free world, a free country, a free spiritual terrain.
OK, maybe it’s not
But it’s free enough that I don’t have to go to the writers conference
And I’ll take what I can get from this stingy existence.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because maybe, who knows, my writing career will take off
Right here in my living room
Because of some astoundingly wonderful thought
That never would have come to me if I had been at the writers conference.
You know what would have come to me at the writers conference?
A few “free” bags, headphones, and pens
And the feeling that, if only I had been in that workshop and not this one
It would have happened.
It would have happened. It should have.
But instead I sat next to a man with dirty fingernails
And listened to a book talk that made me feel bad about myself
And even about the self I’d have to face in twenty years.
But since I didn’t go to the writers conference
That book talk never occurred!
My future self is already so thankful.

I didn’t go to the writers conference because I’ve already paid a thousand dollars
For a lawyer to look over a book contract that got canned by the publisher days later.
I would have had a post-traumatic stress reaction
If I had written a check to the writers conference.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because whenever I imagined who I would see there
I absolutely had to get into bed, even if I still had my boots on.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because why should this time be different from all the other times?
I never go to that writers conference. Never.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
And instead I ordered the hamachi crudo with smoked grape emulsion
And watched the man with the banjo outside the Harvard Square T station
And wondered why we can’t have global warming
If climate change has to come in some form.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because seriously: why would I go to the writers conference?

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because one of my socks kept slipping into my sneaker
About a month ago, right when I briefly considered going this time.

You think I should have gone to the writers conference?
OK, hotshot, why don’t you go to the writers conference?
Better you than me.

I didn’t go to the writers conference
Because what if it was a really, really bad bladder day
Even worse than usual?
And what if, on my way to the bathroom, a chandelier fell on my head
And hurled me into my next existence right before I was about to find my niche
In this one?

I didn’t go to the writers conference because I wanted to be happy.
I wanted to value the present moment
And not toss it aside into misery because maybe, just maybe
The writers conference would have brought something better into my future.

Not going to the writers conference is a very real thing.
I would even say it’s a gem of a thing
A gem that has been carved and shined
And that draws from thousands of years embedded in our great if struggling earth.

I didn’t go to the writers conference.
I just didn’t.
I am where I am.

And where am I, exactly?
Not at the writers conference.
I have that going for me
And no one can take it away.


Image Credit
: Jared Sluyter on Unsplash.com