Hi, everyone, my name is Aruna Gurumurthy and I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be Alice’s guestblogger today and write about the 2016 North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference that took place November 4-6 at the Crabtree Marriott in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Coming from a medical and scientific background, being part of a literary conference seemed pretty daunting to me, at first. A weekend was filled with vibrancy, friendship, and energetic chatter down the Raleigh Marriott’s hallways. “Daunting” was exactly what this experience was NOT!
I was probably the odd woman out, one of a South Asian descent; but that didn’t stop the enthusiast in me from freely interacting with authors, publishers, editors, and the who’s who of North Carolina’s literati. Not to mention, how sweet and approachable the writers were! There may be a hidden sense of “I am greater than you,” but it hardly showed in anyone’s demeanor, and in their desire to help burgeoning authors such as me. I call myself “burgeoning,” but the fact is I was armed with two books to my credit and felt comfortable chatting with everyone. My approach going in was not so much to sell my books, as much as it was to go with the flow, meet people, and form new connections. Connections, that not only result in disseminating thoughts and words, but also diffusing misconceptions about new faces and other races.
At the very outset, I met Dr. James Clark, Professor Emirates at North Carolina State University who led the tailgating session of the conference on Friday, November 4th. He very gracefully walked us through the literary heritage and hall of fame of North Carolina. I actually braced up my courage and asked him at the end if he would be willing to read my book Spark and render a review. And, he very generously did! You know, it’s not so much what impact “one, particular” person has in our lives. It is more about one thing leading to another, and yet another, and the yet another becoming history!
I felt profusely, and positively nourished with lessons on perfecting poems, becoming a PR rockstar and the battle between self- and traditional publishers. But above and beyond the educational aspect of this conference, I was smitten by the pleasant interactions between people, who may or may not have thought and expressed views like me. Whether it was over sips of coffee, or dips of bread, there was an unstoppable mental connection between the attendees that felt like megawatts of power!
A handful of very kind and generous people have helped me get connected to this conference and beyond. I am indebted to Alice Osborn for reading and reviewing my poetry book Spark.
She has been a very approachable person, right from the scratch, and never made me feel uncomfortable about reaching out to a senior author. She introduced the idea of me being a guest blogger, and gave me an opportunity to expand my writing horizons.
Thanks to Ian Malone for recommending this conference to me; and also to the very helpful staff of NCWN: Ed Southern, Charles Fiore, and Salem Dockery!
As I move on in the magic world of writing poems, I am humming away to the beats of Bryan Adams’s “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started…”
Who Am I? Why have I been asked to pen away here? And why should you pay attention to me?
I AM…a daydreamer turned visionary. A premed turned poetess. One who ran away from life, to one who loves life. I am an obsessive Facebooker who will make you a progressive onlooker. I change people’s minds, in a hope to change the world. And, yes, I am a proud mother of two books and a toddler.
After spending a dutiful decade toiling in labs, studying pigs’ cartilages, to human minds; wearing white coats, and what-nots; caring for the elderly with Alzheimer’s, school-drop out teenagers, and young minds with learning disability…I now write.
I woke up one morning, to a mystifying dream: that I had a pen in hand instead of a scalpel. And how peaceful, and unifying that was. How it brought the world together, and made ideas converge, not diverge. Somehow, what followed was nothing less than the spontaneity of Niagara Falls. My thoughts, ideas, and words kept flowing. I had found my true calling. There was no stopping me. What came of this part-cranial, part-verbal spin, is a humble creation.
My poetry book Spark is a vibrant work of art, a manifestation of my mind and it’s many ramifications. It is an original collection of poems. It is A Dream to Dare, A Dream to Live, A Dream to Care…After being part and parcel of many of life’s dulling moments; being nudged, and cornered, shushed, and tarnished, I fight to end modern day evils, such as stigma, dogma, discrimination, violence, and war. I spread the message “love soothes and smooths.”
My poems are a reflection of our society, and a hope for our future. It is my dream to bring change to people’s minds, and ultimately in the world. Spark is my vision, and victory in the modern world.
A seed I sow
A birth I owe
There will be blending of minds
And harmony of many kinds
This world will be one
That is a promise
I make to everyone
You can order my book, Spark, HERE
Check out my Facebook page–Let’s start a conversation!