Friday, September 2, 2016


The Secret Portal at ACFW—Lenora Worth

A lot of writers, editors, agents and industry people congregated at the Omni Hotel and Resort in downtown Nashville last week for the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference. It was great to see so many friends and get such wonderful hugs, but our MC Brandilyn Collins warned us about the “normals” out there. We needed to remember they might not get some of our conversations.

Writers are used to “normals.” I call them civilians. They are the non-writers who can’t understand why we grill people we’ve just met with all sorts of pointed questions. Especially if one of those people has a profession that we find fascinating.

So we knew to behave and try not to discuss interesting plot twists in the elevator or in the bathroom. And we couldn’t get too giddy or scream too very loud if we got a nice contract on the next book.

I was fine with all of that. But Brandilyn also mentioned the strange elevators at the Omni. We had one wing that had floors One through Thirteen. My husband and I were on the thirteenth floor. Okay, I was also fine with that. But then it got weird. The other set of elevators went from One to Four and then skipped a few floors and went on up way too high for me. Brandilyn called it the Alternate Universe and asked for stories about it. What went on in this strange gap where the elevator didn’t stop? Was it a secret portal? An empty space? A place of horrors beyond imagination? I had a story but I was always too tired at night to sit down and write it.

But I know what that AU was all about. It’s the Author’s Universe. It’s the land where Alice goes down the rabbit hole and the Hobbit Frodo finds that ring. It’s where Romeo meets Juliet and Scarlett first sees Rhett Butler. It’s the place where happy endings collide with chilling suspense stories.

It’s the place of alliterations and allegories and action and adventure. It’s the place where irony meets reality and reality turns into a fantasy. This place is a place of lost dreams and broken faith, a place of hope and redemption and restoration and reformation. It’s a place where, as Ted Dekker suggested, we write to find ourselves. Or we write to lose ourselves. It’s the place where transformation meets meditation and where “methanoia” (a kind of rendering that Ted also mentioned) meets method and structure and plot and a transformation takes place right before our eyes. It’s the place where we do find ourselves in every word we write and we do lose ourselves in deep point-of-view and hard-to-write plots.


It’s the place where our imaginations go to find the truth, where our minds go to find the perfect plot and the perfect pitch. It’s a magical, enlightening, encouraging, and entertaining place. It’s a world where writers go to learn craft and tell their tales. It’s a well and it’s a mountain. It’s a train and it’s a plane. It’s a deep ocean and a sunny meadow.

It is the stuff of dreams.


Or at least, that’s how I see it. While we were there, learning and praying and meeting and greeting and seeing and being seen, our imaginations went straight to that Alternate Universe and made it our Authors’ Universe.

And I loved every minute of it. If you were there, what do you think about the AU? Did you fall down the rabbit hole or find that all-important ring? Or did you go all sci-fi and get beamed up? I hope that you found something great at ACFW. And I hope you came away with your imagination intact and your heart ready for all of the possibilities!

Here are a few more pictures from my adventures!
         
        
                                                       
      
     
And look for what my imagination created, out in October:



18 comments:

Scraproni: Adventures of Single Woman said...

For me reading fiction is my alternate universe that i can escape the stresses of life or painful realities or meet people that are great friends or keep hope alive for a single lady. Looking forward to your october release to continue the lakeside visit

Cate Nolan said...

And some of us were just home. :(

But I've been to that AU and it's a strange yet beautiful place.

Welcome back to reality, Lenora.

Debby Giusti said...

Lenora, how are things in your area of the world...the real universe? Hope you didn't have storm damage. Praying for all in the path of Hermine!

So good seeing you at ACFW!

Love your new cover...I must read that story. :)

I was on floor 7 at the Nashville Omni and didn't have to ride the "wierd" elevator, although having to swipe our room keys before the elevator would work was a bit strange. Sometimes the keys would NOT work. I worried we would be locked in the elevator, riding up and down, with the doors never opening. Is that the suspense author in me? Hmmm? Thinking up a story line and titles...Death in the Elevator...Ride to Nowhere...Locked In...

Lenora said...

Yes. Thank you!! Reading is surely that way!!

Lenora said...

Thanks. Good to be back. Ready to get going!!

Lenora said...

We are safe, Debby. Prayers for those who are in the direct path!! Yes, those elevators were strange. I stood in one alone one night and argued with it to move or let me out!! scary!!

Deb Kastner said...

I love how Brandilyn always comes up with those freaky "what if's." And I love your explanation, Lenora. Going to those missing floors today! But it's scary, because I write contemporaries.

Lenora said...

Yes, scary. Those invisible floors and that creepy elevator were writer's fodder for sure. I guess you and I can always bring in a fireman or a cowboy to save the day! It was good to see you, Deb! Now back to work!

Jill Kemerer said...

Too funny, Lenora! I didn't know there were two banks of elevators, and I was late to meet a friend. I panicked, texting her, "I can't get up to the 18th floor!" It was really weird!!

Terri Reed said...

Wonderfully written post Lenora! I was so bummed to miss the conference. It sounds like it was fabulous.

Lenora said...

Jill, I can understand your panic. I never went to that side since the elevators already kept me nervous. That happened to me in a Dallas hotel. I could not find the fifth floor where a friend was waiting. So weird. ;)

Lenora said...

Terri, the conference was great. I attended four really good workshops on mostly trying to stay balanced and avoid burn-out. Talked to some nice people and had a really good time overall. Came home with my husband's grumpy cold, however. Not fun. I literally have no voice. That is amazing, huh???

The LI party was great. It was fun to see everyone there, too! Missed those who couldn't be there!

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm glad you had such a good time at the conference, Lenora. I missed seeing everyone. Perhaps next year...

CatMom said...

Loved your post, Elnora, and it was wonderful seeing you last week at the conference!
I did actually have a crazy elevator experience on one of the "normal" elevators, LOL. A man (not an ACFW attendee) and I were in the elevator, and for some reason it would NOT take us to our floors. We ended up riding it up and down several times before it finally stopped at my floor (and I'm assuming he then made it to his floor---hopefully!).
I came home exhausted but SO ready to dive back in and work hard---and not ride any elevators for a while. ;)
Hugs, Patti Jo

Lenora said...

I hope so, Keli!!

Lenora said...

I don't blame you, Patty Jo. But I'm glad you are ready to get going!! That's why we love our conferences!!

Linda Goodnight said...

Fun post, Miss Lenora. This, to me, was one of the best ACFW conferences I've attended. I don't know why. I didn't attend many workshops but the ones I slipped into met me with something I needed to hear. And I loved seeing old pals and meeting new ones. I felt energized and revived in a way I needed. All in all, maybe it WAS the AU!

Lenora said...

I agree, Linda. It was great to gat a hug from you. Wish we'd had more time to visit. But we are blessed to know about the AU!! The Lord lives there, guiding us!!