I fought burn-out and migraines during the FIU Writer's Conference but it was well worth it! I attended sessions held by Frances de Pontes Peebles, Lynne Barrett, Campbell McGrath and the keynote speech by Dennis Lehane, who is very funny! He told the audience to get used to being "mutants" who care about this weird thing called writing and not to expect others to understand (paraphrasing wildly from memory here, but you get the idea!)
The best experience for me, naturally, was the poetry workshop held by FIU professor and poet Campbell McGrath. We discussed various styles of poetry and then he assigned us two poems and then we read them and discussed them in class. He said one of my poems was "terrific" and told me to go home and write some more! When Campbell McGrath tells you that, you dare not disobey!
Lynne Barrett led us through a breakdown of good fiction-writing practices by using Hansel and Gretel as an example of an enduring and effective story. This was a very interesting method which clarified many things in my mind even though I'm not writing fiction right now.
I wish I could have attended all the sessions and events but I wasn't able to--the activities began at 7:30 in the morning and lasted until the evening with breaks for meals. I met many nice people and was very impressed with the level of writing of the participants,