Directions to the La Jolla Writer’s Conference by Mark E. Becker

I came to San Diego in the middle of my night.  I was a newbie, flying the redeye from     Tallahassee, but I got there, just the same.  The first night, I had to stay at another hotel.  The HALO conference had not finished blowing up the parking lot and making the world safe from terrorists and disasters, so I had to stay elsewhere.  I was OK with that.  I was in pursuit of my destiny as a writer, and it was within my grasp.

The next morning, I woke up, gathered my things, and took my overnight bag and computer case to the lobby.  I said, “How do I get to Paradise Point?”  It was a simple question.  I recognized the woman behind the desk.  She was the bartender from the night before.  I concluded that Californians don’t sleep.  Still, I had chosen her as my Mapquest, and she didn’t disappoint.

“Easy Breezy,” she said.

I was puzzled for a few seconds, but I waited for further directions.

“You just go up there to the highway and you go left. You take it until you get to the water, and you take another left.  Easy Breezy.”

“I’ll take a cab,” I said.

Once I got there, I took a walk.  I saw hummingbirds sucking nectar from flowers I had only seen in fantasy books, and saw a guy in a wetsuit act like Flipper and shoot up in the air, land in the water, and shoot out again.  I was impressed.  I texted my girlfriend about it, and she warned me about the Naples incident, involving a paddleboard and a speedboat.  I refrained.

Still, I thought about my purpose for being there.  I was in La Jolla to be a better writer, a more successful one, and I needed validation.  I had never put my writing in front of my peers, other writers, and I was nervous.  What if I sucked?   My fears were not only abated, but I realized that the la Jolla Writer’s Conference is more like a family reunion of writers connected by mutual interest.  I was welcomed with open arms, to my eternal relief.  I met Antoinette, and Richard, and Jared.  I met my heroes in the thriller business, Jim Rollins and Andy Peterson.  I realized that they are just like me.  They may have been in the book writing business longer, and they may have made mistakes on the path to being bestsellers, but we think alike, we come from the same humble beginnings, and we have the same outrageous imaginations that propel us in our writing.

Do it.  You will never regret one minute of the experience.

Mark E. Becker is a lawyer, a mediator, and the author of political thrillers, At Risk of Winning and No Corner to Hide, the first novels in the Max Masterson series. Visit for more information.

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