Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ragged Edge--Beginning

I walked into Ragged Edge with a knot in my stomach.  Fear and nerves crawled through me the entire morning, and I couldn't shake the slight nausea that washed over me in waves.  As luck would have it (Or as God would bless it), we took the shuttle with a group attending the Ragged Edge. 

It's funny how God works things together.  It's funny how you can make a friend (potentially for life) in a time when you weren't looking for one.

Devin Berglund--a lovely girl--happened to be in that shuttle.  It's simple to say that we spent these last two days of the conference in each other's company.  I'm so glad to have made this connection.

Devin made it easier.  My mom, who had 'come along for the ride', as she put it, walked with us back to Liberty Hall, and spent several minutes being what I needed--my Mama.  When she left, though, it was nice to have someone else to stand with; someone who had felt nerves, but was just as excited as I was.

I promised you all this blog.  I promised you I would tell you what I saw--every bit that I could (without sharing too much).  I'm not sure how to put some of it into words.  I can honestly say that I have never felt so...normal.

Normal, because everyone (mostly) was like me.  We were all there for the same reason.  As we started talking in the hour we had before the conference started, we all began to realize how similar we were.  We all had the same experiences, same feelings and thoughts--same interactions with people who didn't care to get it, and those that tried but couldn't completely understand.
Only some of us were as blessed as I have been--only some at the conference had the loving support of their family or friends.

We talked about our stories--what we've written, what we were working on--we talked genre, authors, books, blogs etc.  I thought I was in heaven!  And then I realized...

I'd only made it to the waiting room.

The lights went dark and a video came on the screen.  It was something called "The Dreamer Cometh" or...something like that.  I watched it, knowing that what came next would be what had made me so nervous-so sick-so excited.  Call what I am about to do hero worship, but I don't care.  I saw my hero walk up onto the stage.

He was everything I expected, the eccentric Ted Dekker.  His hair was styled in that messy way; his shirt was a screen-t that was only tucked in in the front of his jeans.  This, by the way, revealed a studded belt holding up his designer jeans.  Down on his feet, he wore Nike flip flops.

My hero had arrived.  He spoke with a slight accent--evidence of his being raised outside of the good ol' United States.  He has a unique way of talking--always moving and never quite still.  Even when sitting, Ted Dekker moves.  He brought the others up--Steven James (The Pawn), Eric Wilson (Fireproof), Tosca Lee (Demon), and Robert Liparulo (Comes a Horseman).

These people--some I'd never heard of--began telling us of what it means to be a writer.  Telling of the lifestyle we live.  Most of those in the audience heard their words and said "Yes! That's me!  It's so nice to finally feel like I'm not alone--I'm not as weird as I feared I was!"

I'm not going to tell you what they said--I won't be sharing that here.  I didn't record it (though I took notes), but I'm not going to share the experience they asked to be private between us.  All I will tell you, is this was considered the "negative day".  Learning what it means to live the life of a writer.

This is getting long, so I'll jump to the reception.

After all day of being with these people, hearing what they had to say, we had a chance to meet them.  We were given books to have each of them sign--books I'll probably review on here soon.

I met my hero--I talked to him!  Without fainting, stuttering, or sounding like an idiot.  I spoke clearly, got a picture with him, and then let him do my hair when he wouldn't believe that I didn't have product in it to make it the way it is.

I met Tosca Lee--a beautiful woman who is kind and real.  I have a picture with her as well.  She spoke to me like I was someone the same as her--not a wannabe talking to a pro, as it truly was.

Robert Liparulo was holding up the signing line.  Why?  Because he wanted to have a meaningful conversation with each person that passed through the line.

Eric Wilson told me he had a niece named Kelsey whom he missed, and that he loved my "Bazinga" shirt because it stood out.

Steven James smiled and was pleasant--but there was no denying a slightly dry humor hiding beneath the grin.

I left walking on air.  How could it get any better?  How could my life be sweeter?

Then there was day two.  But I will talk about that in the next blog.  For now--I'm in heaven.  I don't want to come home.


Carmen said...

Glad you had such an awesome time!!-Cannot wait to read the continuation!!

Kelsey Keating said...

Thank you, Carmen :)
It truly was amazing!

Dad said...

Glad you had an awesome experience...can't wait to hear the stories when you get home!

Nadeen said...

My mother was always a wanna-be writer. She would have loved to have had this experience. You are fortunate/blessed/lucky - whatever you want to call it.