Stitching and Talking and Swimming and Reading and Boy, Do I Love Slash Pine!

By the time we went to Fairhope, the Slash Piners had become a family of sorts.  You know those really weird, loud families you see at the mall, and you always roll your eyes at them as they pass you?  That’s us.  We went for a conference put on by the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers, and though we went mainly for work and educational purposes, it felt a lot like a vacation.  We went to the bay every night, and even when we were goofing off, it seemed like the conversations always circled back to writing.  Our first full day started bright and early.  We went to a panel in the morning to hear a reading.  Not to speak for the group, but I believe our favorite writer in the panel was a girl named Josie from the University of New Orleans.  Her essay was amazing.  I loved getting to hear writers from outside of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham read their work.  After the reading, we went to Fort Morgan to explore and write.  Fort Morgan is a beautiful historic site, and my favorite part about the space was the little amphitheaters inside the fort.  While sitting in there, Patti read for us (BEST READING EVER), and then we wrote for an hour or so.  I enjoyed having a free writing session instead of having a prompt.  We all took turns reading after the hour, and later left for the hotel.  The next day we led a panel on stitching chapbooks.  We had a decent crowd for the panel, and everyone loved it.  We stitched copies of Be the Heat, and every participant took home a copy (or two!) that they stitched themselves.  I really loved being able to meet new people that were really interested in talking about who we are and what we do in Slash Pine.  The panel went over incredibly well.  We also went to a panel on undergraduates as editors that was led by the folks running Pegasus, a literary magazine out of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC).  It was really interesting, and we later went out for lunch with the students from ABAC.  Our conversations were mostly on authors we loved and what we wrote.  It was a great experience to get to meet them.  We also had a panel where we read our work with some of the MFA students from UA, and it was a wonderful reading.  Overall, I think my favorite part of our trip to Fairhope was growing closer to the other interns.  It was so much fun being with them for a few days to just hang out and go to an awesome conference (and sing showtunes in the van).

-Laura Flowers

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