I’m loving the mix of people here. There are teachers, there are MFA students, there are retirees, there are folks like me with day jobs that have nothing to do with their writing.
One great thing about the workshop: no name tags. (You can figure out who the writers are by the familiar way they hug each other.) That snootiness I experience with strangers at (ahem) anthropology conferences — people in the hallway drop their eyes to your name tag, realize you’re a nobody, and walk on — doesn’t seem to exist here.
And can I say that these were the nicest people? Of course, I may have been lucky this year, but this was surely the warmest bunch of (then-) strangers I’d ever met at a conference. And I suspect it had a lot to do with the very nature of the conference and its organizers (although of course these participants were special too): laid-back, supportive, excited, friendly. It’s difficult to be shy when people are so welcoming, and soon you find yourself easily going up to other strangers and introducing yourself. The eagerness is infectious.