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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

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I am tired; my eyeballs ache; my arms are lead weights; and my knees are latex. I've walked hundreds of miles without taking a step. I've been to a writers' conference.

I started out with energy enough, but the airport alone is enough to zap my enthusiasm and turn me into a tired little puddle of travel exhaustion. The trip to Hartford, Connecticut, is a nightmare. We have a 3 hour layover in Detroit, made even longer by the plane getting stuck on the tarmac until Delta is finally able to get FAA clearance to fly in international air space, over Canada. It seems there is too much air traffic for our original flight plan and we are
denied take off.

At least Canada is friendly and will not shoot us down.

We cover a lot of writing miles at the writer's conference, the basics of writing, marketing, speaking, selling and social media. We get a lot of advice on Tweeting and how to make online friends and influence them to buy books. I'm not certain these are the kind of friends I need, but social media is apparently the new wave of marketing.

Are my numerous shortcomings mended by the many miles of techniques and tips? I hope so. I would hate to think that I am walking so many miles only for the blisters.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists annual conference itself is widely attended with about twice as many registered attendees as expected. As the director explained later, she had to double everything at the last minute, but that is a good problem to have.

Dave Barry, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, is the highlight of the conference and gives the funniest acceptance speech in NSNC history. A friendly guy, he mixes with the attendees and lets people make pictures with him, even agrees to be a judge in a silly talent contest after the main program.

We visit some historic places in Hartford, like the Mark Twain house and museum, a picturesque gothic mansion that was considered attractive back in the time it was built, but today stirs images of vampires in the dark corners. Most interesting part to me is a game room, Twain loved to shoot pool, and the master bedroom.

The billiards room is interesting mostly because the small desk in the corner is where Train wrote many of his classics, including Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. The master bedroom has a large bed with a tall carved headboard. Twain slept at the foot of the bed as he said he wanted to look at the headboard that had cost him a fortune to import.

For some reason I had the idea that Twain was an unpretentious man who grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, and worked on a riverboat. So much for that idea as the mansion is anything but simple living.

We have both a dinner and lunch at a mini brewery near the hotel, famous for its architecture as well as its Hooker beer. We found that Hooker beer is not made by hookers, but is named after the city's founder, John Hooker. This seems to be a joke of long-standing in New England. 

We arrive at the airport early for the flight home, a good thing as the captain decides to leave early due to air traffic, which causes us to be re-routed. In spite of scurrying onboard like hungry mice in a granary, we are delayed 45 minutes, a story that is now beginning to be familiar. The smooth flight we are promised turns bumpy, and we arrive late in Atlanta and have to run to make our connection.

The best I can figure out, by the time you consider time lost due to airport waits and take-off delays we could have saved time by driving. Remind me of this the next time I go to a conference.


Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
 
 



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