One of the perks of being a Potomac Review Intern is the opportunity to attend literary festivals and conferences and learn about craft from and network with more experienced writers. Dagem Beede shares his experience this past October at the Frostburg Indie Lit Festival.
We drove through the pompous beginning of Fall. The trees, finishing their cycle of life, pleaded for all the attention as their leaves grew brilliantly orange, making it hard to focus on the road. We–Potomac Review interns Ellie Forder and myself– decided that the road trip alone, despite what awaited us at the end of it, was worth it all. The destination was Frostburg, the Indie Lit Festival, where we were to dive ourselves into the pond of writers and publishers and editors and teachers and aspiring writers alike. I had been waiting for that field trip ever since its announcement. As an aspiring writer, it is of essence to my writing’s growth to dive into the literature society. This was my opportunity to get my feet wet.
Upon arrival in Frostburg, we were unsure of where exactly we had to go, so we decided to park in a city parking garage, which could house not more than forty cars, and walked up the hilly main road. We wandered into a house that creaked under every step, and wandered out again to a jogger in shorts and a sweaty t-shirt, who ended up being the city commissioner. As small as this world is, the city of Frostburg is even smaller. He pointed us to our destination, and we headed there, smiling ruefully.
The festival consisted of workshop sessions where established writers led a discussion based on a topic. These workshops felt like writing classes, but shorter, and more basic. Ellie and I attended different ones according to our writing interests. I was intrigued by the creative nonfiction genre and how it took an actual incident or event and narrated it as a fictional story.
There was also food, it should be mentioned, but not for free. Yes, there were some alcohol. “Grown-up grape juice,” the woman from the table next to ours (the glorious Potomac Review table!) explained, as she squeezed between her table and a wall, balancing her cup and purse.
The world of writing is surely a small one, and also a warm one. Few years in it and you’ll recognize faces more quickly. I might say, though, that this world is getting bigger. More stories are getting out there through the fast lines of the internet. People are carrying more stories, more things are happening in this world.
I can imagine how much of an evolution it is feeling like for the dinosaurs of the literary world, those who’ve been here for a long time, and how much of a revolution it is feeling for the young of us, those merely just dipping our toes in the vast sea of literature to soon find ourselves paddling rapidly.