Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm Back! The NFPW Conference, Part I

Attending the National Federation of Press Women's 2007 National Conference and 70th Anniversary Celebration in Richmond, Virginia, this past weekend was a great experience. These are the women (and a few men) who work "in the trenches" of the writing profession, from newspaper columnists to public relations professionals to book authors, and they are an interesting lot indeed! It's apparent that many women keep writing long into old age, so I felt right at home at this conference. I'll tell more later, but for now, here are two highlights of my personal experience:

On Friday evening, September 21, a main feature of the program was the "Bold Women of the Past: Models for the Future" presentation, sponsored by the Illinois Women's Press Association. The commentator and script writer was Marlene Cook, the director Jill Miller, and the coordinator Cecelia Green. The rest of us were models from periods dating from 1880 to the future, and I represented Jane Addams in the 1900-1910 period.

As the oldest model in the group, with no acting or modeling ability and walking problems, I felt a bit worried and insecure. However, I made it down the runway in my long skirt and gray wig (see the picture above). The most interesting characters, in my opinion, were Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas (Illinois) and Julie Slaymaker (Indiana) as Flappers from the 1920-1930 period, Mary Ellen Kearns (Illinois) as a WAVE in full uniform and Cecelia Green (Illinois) as Rosie the Riveter from 1940-1950, and Lisa and Craig Bishop ( South Carolina) as Elvis and Priscilla Presley for 1970-1980. In fact, everyone who participated was wonderful!

The second big event for me was the final banquet and awards presentation on Saturday evening, September 22. I received two national awards from Meg Hunt, NFPW President, a first place award for 2006 contributions to this blog, "Never too Late!" and a third place award for my first book, Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor (Infinity, 2006). Old as I am, it was still a thrill to walk across to receive my award certificates as the cameras flashed. The procession of winners was long, but I felt that I was in good company, especially since I've been writing for only a few years.

So there you have it. I think the lessons I learned included more about the joys of writing, the wonderfully friendly relationships among writers, and the benefits of keeping active past age 70. I'm glad I attended the conference, and I may attend again in Idaho in 2008. I hope all seniors will considering joining groups devoted to their special interests, whatever those interests may be.

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne

Photos: Upper left, a happy winner.
Upper right: With NFPW President Meg Hunt.
Lower left: "Jane Addams" with "Flapper" Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas.

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