For the love of the KWA – A 24-hour, nearly 300 mile odyssey

Spending time with family is important.

Spending time with fellow writers is important.

What happens when the two coincide? Here’s my story:

My new job has me changing schedules every four months. For the first wight, I was still a “newbie” and didn’t get a good shift selection, i.e. I was working weekends. That changed starting with Memorial Day weekend. I missed some family time but since it was only fall and winter, there wasn’t much going on outside of the holidays. I DID miss meetings of the KWA (Kansas Writer’s Association). So, now I can spend time with family when we spend the weekend at our cabin in Oklahoma and attend KWA monthly meetings.

Unless those two events coincide.

Which they did this last weekend.

My options were plentiful. I could have waved goodbye to my wife and mother-in-law on Friday night and joined up on Saturday evening. I could have skipped the family time altogether for a three hour meeting. I opted, perhaps selfishly, for both.

The cabin is about 90 miles from home, barely an hour and a half of driving. Close enough to start enjoying the fun; far enough away to make you feel like you’re getting away. I drove the two aforementioned ladies down on Friday night. We left about 6 pm. We had our usual Friday night dinner (chicken fingers, mother-in-law’s exquisite homemade potato salad, melon) and chilled out for the evening. Saturday morning we’re up. Since I’ve got to leave at a certain time, my wife and I start breakfast to rouse the troops. Biscuits and gravy and cheesy scrambled eggs with fresh rosemary from the garden. I shower and get my things ready. I leave at 11:30 am. I get to the KWA meeting shortly before 1 pm while the board members are still conducting business. The meeting starts filling up. There are more people there than what I have seen in a long time. (Keep in mind, of course, that I haven’t been able to attend in a long time.) It’s an excellent meeting. The discussion is on Sensory & Setting Details. There are brief exercises to drive home the point. There is discussion. It’s what a meeting of writers should be. It ends shortly around 4pm. I stay and chat a bit with a few folks I haven’t seen in a while, grateful that I have the opportunity. I head out. I look at the gas gauge and realize that I will just make it there but will be almost empty for the ride back home on Sunday. I stop and fill up on the turnpike, calling the family to advise my arrival time. I get there, back at the cabin, shortly before 6 pm.

Almost 24 hours. Nearly 300 miles. I got to spend a fun weekend with family (with the exception of going out on the boat on the lake) AND got to spend time with fellow writers. A little work and effort and I got everything I wanted.

It doesn’t always happen that way. You take it when you can get it.

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