Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office, IL
My favorite ornament is less than two years old, yet it’s a symbol of many special memories. The one and only collection I have is Christmas ornaments from places my family and I have visited. A recent favorite is an ornament from Monterey, California, which is coincidentally the return location for the 2012 Books & Such client retreat next October.
As I hung this cute little ornament on the Christmas tree this year, a flood of happy images from the 2010 retreat popped into my head. Obvious from the ornament itself are the sea otters. The hotel had plenty of verandas and balconies where guests could watch these little marine mammals play in the ocean, something I did as often as possible between events and workshops.
I was new to the agency at the time of the last retreat, and this ornament is foremost a reminder of the wonderful authors I met and befriended. The fellowship was superb. Imagine being in that glorious setting with a group of people who share the same passion and sense of calling. An energizing atmosphere of family and purpose pervaded the air.
During the morning sessions, everyone gathered to get to know each other or reconnect as well as focus on specific topics beneficial to our clients. Editors, marketing experts, B&S authors, Janet Grant, and Wendy Lawton gave industry updates and cutting-edge instruction to maximize social media efforts, offer tips for book promotion, and inform clients about the in’s and out’s of the publishing process. Following these sessions were smaller workshops where clients could get help with their WIP, improve a skill, and talk with the faculty. I remember thinking this is more than a retreat. It’s a mini-writers conference!
My mouth is actually watering as I think of the excellent meals our group shared and the little coffee bars where small groups could chat during free time and in the evenings. No wonder this ornament is one of my favorites. I hope to add a visit to the world-famous aquarium or a tour of Cannery Row to learn the history behind John Steinbeck’s book, if there is time at the 2012 retreat. I may need to bring home a second Monterey ornament to contain all the new memories.
If you have a special Christmas collection, when did you start acquiring it?