Meeting My Heroes One Conference at a Time

At the Lakefly Writers Conference, I have met writers that I really respect and many that I came to respect by meeting them.
The first year of Lakefly, we had Michael Perry and the Long Beds perform at the Grand. If you don’t have them, go get their CDs and I helped them unload and watched them rehearse and then we went to dinner at Beckets. It was just awesome that I got to go to the concert. Everything else was a gift. After performing at the Grand, they went to Beckets (Perry knows the owner) they performed some more.
The next day, Mike stopped off because Mike Magnuson was speaking. Magnuson was my suggestion for a speaker. I read about him in Perry’s book Population 485 and then picked up some of his books. I snapped a good picture of the two Mikes walking together.
Mike Magnuson is a hero of mine and he lives in Appleton. His books The Fire Gospels and the Right Man for the job are gritty and honest and stuck with me. I also recommend his Lummox: Evolution of a Man. Lakefly gave me the chance to meet him.
We also booked my old college professor at the first conference. Dr. Larry Watson. He has written great books- Montana 1948 and Orchard: A Novel and many more- are very respected works. It was great to see him again. I went up to him to tell him, “You were a great teacher, the best, but a lousy advisor.”
He thanked me after I said he was the best and I was thankful that I did not get a chance for the rest. I was trying to make a joke, but he deserved what I ended up communicating.
This is getting so long, but I must mention John Dedakis. He worked with Wolf Blitzer for many years. He has great stories, good instruction on writing, and is a genuinely good person to boot.

I am a Lakefly

I am a writer. So you know what that means. Exactly. Socially awkward as hell. I am a better communicator as a writer than as a speaker. This is especially poignant as you are reading this and this aint that good either.
Writers conferences are sometimes put on by writers. A crazy thought, but stick with me. So some conferences then are not as friendly. I mean they are friendly, but because I am socially awkward, I need them to be super friendly.
I think the Lakefly Writers Conference is. I think in my role as a volunteer, I am as well. What I am saying is that I rise to the occasion. Or perhaps it is the right environment and it fosters that in me.
Maybe it’s just that I desperately want the conference to succeed. A conference that I help put on is one less that I have to go to and not interact with people.
Actually, though, it’s a great conference. I love interacting with attendees and the speakers.
It has great attendees. I enjoy meeting writers from all over and I like the responsibility of working to make sure it goes well.
This reminds me of a story. We recently had Michael Perry as a speaker and needed to put a lectern on the risers. I told him it was probably heavy (as in he was a speaker, I shouldn’t expect him to lift it).
Mr. Perry said a very Michael Perry thing- “Are we not men?”
A great bonding moment. Unfortunately he was one of my heroes. So I was tongue tied. My response was mumble mumble mumble. Maybe I’m wrong about Lakefly fostering me.
It will for you though.

Lakefly 1st Timer

I found this blog about the Lakefly Writers Conference last year. There is so much pressure to attend a conference. You have to network and learn and conversate and find the darn rooms. We hope that we make the Lakefly as comfortable as possible.

I’m not here… I am driving. To Wisconsin. I am attending the Lakefly Writers’ Conference. And though being around a bunch of strangers makes me a bit anxious, the conference scene is getting familiar to me. I can handle that. I will be meeting a few people I met on Twitter. People I like, that […]

via Nerves… part 2 — Finding Faeries


Lakefly Writers Conference

How would you handle having something to say, getting a book deal, and then writing your version of a story?

On Saturday morning, Jerome Buting, ex-attorney for Steve Attorney, will talk about Jerome Buting writing his book, Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System. A first-time author, Buting said “I wish I had come to this event last year. I would have learned a great deal!” Buting will share the challenges […]

via Jerome Buting at Lakefly Writers Conference — writingwithdixie

Ten Things It Took Me 50 Years To Figure Out…

Great list. Is there a way for 23 year olds to learn this?

So today is my 50th birthday. Fifty. Holy shit! I’d certainly rather be 25 twice and I’m pretty sure that in my mind I’m infinitely 23…but here I am 50. So what has all this time here on earth taught me and how am I a better woman than I was at 23 or 25? If I had to break it down into just ten things, I’d have to go with the following insights.

  1. Life is a roller coaster   Be sure to fasten your seat belt and keep your hands in the cart at all times because as sure as there’s an up, there’s going to be a down. Don’t panic, hold on tight around the sharp curves and enjoy the ride. Everything always works out in the long run. 
  2. Choose your battles   Some things just aren’t worth the drain that they cause on your energy and…

View original post 413 more words

How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century

This is my review for Louis Clark’s chapbook How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century. This is from the Wisconsin Historical Press.

“The story Mr. Clark tells is fascinating. It’s his story of growing up Native American in Wisconsin and facing racism, discrimination, and a difficult childhood. Don’t worry though, Mr. Clark also focuses on humor and love. He reminds me of a priest our church had that told a homily and broke out into song to punctuate his points. Mr. Clark does that with his poetry.”

In full disclosure, I know Mr. Clark. I interviewed him for my YouTube Channel show AuthorShowcase of Oshkosh. Besides being a great guy and family man, he has many stories to tell (he tells many in this book). So I am biased. Yet I think you will find this to be a great book. He weaves poetry in the story of his life and as he tell us, he does it to the real beat of the pow wow drum.

Lakefly Writers Conference

I have been a part of the Lakefly Writers Conference for the last five years now. I’ve spoken at it twice and I want to invite you to come to #lakefly17.

If you are a writer, you need to go to a conference. They do so many things for you. They teach. They create friendships, and they inspire. Everyone I’ve met that has gone to a writers conference leaves with inspiration to write (aggressively/ passionately??). If Oshkosh, Wisconsin is too far away, find another one.

However, I recommend this one. We pride ourselves on being friendly and well-run.

I am also inspired by The Oshkosh Public Library. The director set out on creating a conference to fill a need for writers in the area. The only goal was to support them. Since then, the library and the Lakefly Volunteers have had one goal- to provide quality speakers at a very affordable price.

We have a powerful lineup this year. Nickolas Butler and Jerome Buting will be are keynote speakers. For more information please go to

If you have been to the Lakefly, please let us know and maybe blog about your experience.

Adult Supervision

Adult Supervision

John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In The Eyes, talked about his asperger’s syndrome going undiagnosed. A great book and in it he talks about the adults being the only ones that interacted with him due to his social skills.
People with autism can be challenging. However, as adults, we can handle it. When behaviors get on our nerves, we need to be the ones that keep them from isolation.
Their behaviors are not a choice to be naughty. They can be organic and they can be learned. They may make comments that are insensitive because they cannot predict how it will be taken.
Those behaviors do not need to be ignored. However, we need to make sure the person behind those behaviors are also not ignored. You do not know how important you might be to someone without positive relationships.

Autism-Sensory Overload

Sensory Overload-

Everyone can get frustrated at noise or lights. People with autism are especially sensitive to it. Your mind has the ability to filter out an extraneous sound or a slight flicker to a light. However, a person with autism may not. It may be a trigger for them and it may not be obvious to neuro-typical person.

I have read experiences with kids where they are screaming and crying and it turns out they are upset about a machine in the other room or the flicker of lights. Most often, I think that they are responding to internal stimuli or that it is a behavioral response. They are trying to gain or avoid something. yet it is something to consider.

People with autism may not have a mind that can filter out what is important. They put as much attention to the electric fan going as the sound of your voice. The chair is as important as your face. They take in sensory input and cannot prioritize.

That is why they cannot identify social cues.

Autism- Some Thoughts

(disclaimer: I am going to generalize for simplicity sake. Autism affects every person different. They have their own set of skills and deficits, like everyone).

Remaining calm:
One of the significant problems of autism is the sensory. They do not filter out input the way a typical person does.That is why you will see a person with autism wearing headphones. They are extra sensitive to sounds.

They are extra sensitive to all sensory input.

That is why it is important to be calm when dealing with children with autism. Sometimes this can be impossible, but they do respond to calmness. If you can maintain a low heartbeat, slow breathing and a calm expression, their body will try to match it.

So if you can, sit close to them and remain calm and remain safe, then they will respond. However, you have to use caution. This leaves you open for a hit or bite.

Choose safety first.

After All, we have all been so angry we have wanted to hit someone or something. The thing that stops us is we identify others feelings and we know the social norms.
These are two things children with autism have difficulty with.
If you are upset, you will give off cues. Those cues come at a child with no filter strongly and there body gets even more overloaded.

This is why (and it is hard), as a aprent you should look into respite time. Autism is hard on you health and your marriage. Take help so that you can be at your best.