Sherri Lupton Hollister

Learning from Other Writers 

I have been blessed to meet and interact with many wonderful writers. I belong to several writers groups. Recently, the Pamlico Writers Group hosted their fifth annual conference. This is the third year I have been on the steering committee but I have attended all five conferences. Each year we try to have something to appeal to all writers at every level. We also try to introduce new and exciting ideas to our attendees. This year I believe we accomplished so much more.

The conference started with a reception and a chance to speak one-on-one with a publisher. This event has been a success for a couple of years. It provides writers with an opportunity to discuss their work with a professional and learn where to go from there.

This year our keynote speaker was Zelda Lockhart. When we begin the process of choosing a keynote speaker, each member of the steering committee brings a list of names and their research on the person. By a process of discussion and elimination we choose an order to see if they are available and willing to attend for the small fee we offer.

Zelda Lockhart appealed to us in so many ways: her association with a former keynote, Jill McCorkle, her award as Piedmont Laureate and especially her dedication to inspiring others through her LaVenson Press Studios. Everything we read about her and by her made us believe she’d be a fantastic speaker. Boy were we right!

I have never been so moved by a speaker, so effected by their words as I was by Ms. Lockhart. She spoke of the soul of our writing but her words were so dynamic they imprinted themselves on my soul. We each have a unique story to tell in a voice that belongs to no other. There may be others with similar stories but they are not our stories. We each have something to give and someone out there needs to hear our story. 

Zelda also spoke of the truth, giving voice to the truth. What don’t we say in our writing? Why do we hold back a portion, the essence of the story? Is it fear that keeps us silent? How can we break these bonds? To share our truths empowers us and perhaps gives strength and encouragement to others. 

I am a coward. I shy away from revealing too much. Fiction allows me to stick my toes into the murky depths of truth without ripping my skin and exposing the darkness and damage of my heart. Perhaps one day I’ll be brave, one day I embrace the truth and set it free but for now, I’ll just wade in a little way. 


“Here's the thing about don't know if it's good or bad until you have some perspective.” ― Alice Hoffman

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