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A LIFE CHANGING EVENT



August 6, 2011  Exciting Event!
Last month I entered a writing contest hosted by NY Times best-selling author Ted Dekker.  It was for a chance to win a scholarship to attend the Ragged Edge writer's symposium.  The event is stated to be a life changing experience and I very much wanted to attend.  Tickets to the two-day event were priced at well over $600.  I simply didn't have the funds to purchase the tickets.  So, instead I entered his contest and went on about my life.

I am delighted to announce that I was chosen to recieve a 100% scholarship to attend!

I feel so very blessed and completely thankful for this amazing opportunity.

Next week it is off the Ragged Edge I go... and I know it's going to be great.  The welcome packet is titled "Welcome To The Asylum".  You know it isn't going to be your average writing conference when you see that!

I am sure I will have a lot to blog about upon my return... if they let us out of the asylum, that is.



 RAGGED EDGE UPDATE:


 

All I can say is that it was everything I dreamed of...

But nothing I expected and beyond my wildest dreams!  I will forever be a changed writer, and for the better, might I add.  Thank you Tosca Lee, Steven James, Robert Liparulo, Eric Wilson, Ted Dekker, Kevin Kaiser, and everyone else that made this the most incredible experience of my writing career thus far! 

The Ragged Edge 2011
Me and Robert Liparulo, Eric Wilson, Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, and Steven James!

This is a video that Ed Keelan created to show what we experienced.

The Ragged Edge 2011


Some of it is "an inside joke" shared between the 100 souls in that room.
And some of it is amazing advice. All of it is incredible! Enjoy!

 


The Lasting Impact In The Days That Followed:




I Want To Be A Writer
by D.M. Kilgore
 
       
Ted promised a "conference" like no other... and he delivered. For two days Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Robert Liparulo, Eric Wilson, and Steven James bared not only their minds, but their hearts, their very souls. They gave us exclusive insights, advice, and guidance that they had never shared with others. They tested us, gave us exercises, and allowed us to not only ask questions but to really intensely examine their worlds. We laughed, we cried, we shared something that mere words could never portray properly.


        It would take volumes to describe what happened in that room. They asked us not to share what they had given to us so willingly with the outside world. We were now this elite group of insiders. Friendships were formed by a bond of brotherhood, of something that others, outsiders, could never understand. Ted said he was a blue monkey in a brown monkey world. It might sound strange to the rest of the world, but we not only understood, we related. We too were blue monkeys.

       Many of us found ourselves relating to one of the authors a bit deeper than the rest. For me, that author was Steven James. He took time, after the conference, during lunch, on his way to and from the conference room to listen to me, to mentor me, to indulge my curious questions, and to fan the flames of what began as a whim but had grown into a passionate fire.  A fire that I was having a very hard time containing.

        I wanted to be a writer! I wanted it more than anything, more than I had ever wanted it, and it felt like someone had ripped away blinders and shown me something that had always been there. I was emblazoned with the desire. There was no turning back. The path was marked, I was on it, and there were no u-turns allowed.
Life on The Ragged Edge 
It had been a silly girl's whim, a child's pipedream, a simple housewife's longing to do something outside the box. It had started with the strangest of all possible catalysts, a beautiful friendship forged because of a Facebook argument over a cancelled Red concert and one truly filthy toilet 357 miles from my home. That friendship led me to a writing contest, hosted by an author I'd never heard of at the time, and yet somehow, I'd won a full scholarship to attend-- a $700 value, that in the end was priceless. 


       Isn't life funny that way? The journey encompassed every emotion known to man, and some I'm pretty sure I created on the spot. It brought me to a room full of people I'd never met, and would have never known-- people that have since become my dearest friends, my staunchest supporters - my tribe. We call ourselves the Blue Monkeys, of course. Some of us have finished the book. Some of us are now published. Some of us are still working on it. Many of us have collaborated on outside projects that are still going strong.

       It has led to blessing beyond my wildest dreams, connections in the writing world that I would never have been privy to, possibilities that were once beyond my reach. It has grown my faith, spurred me to pursue other dreams that I thought were too outlandish to consider, and taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

       It has given me notebooks full of wisdom, sage advice, insider secrets. It was a whim that led me to The Ragged Edge, to all the blessing that have followed, but beyond all of that, what it has led to inside of me-- the extreme passion that drives me to that ultimate destination, that has been most life changing.

       For you see, while standing on the edge I saw beyond the page, beyond my hopes, beyond my fears. I looked out over that Ragged Edge and I saw the bigger picture. The path I had taken stretched out behind me, filled with delicate but fierce street signs that had guided me along the way. The path is wide, straight, and flat from my new perspective, my perch on this ledge of awareness.

       My journey is not over, it's only just beginning. The winding road does not lie behind me, it lies before me... daring me to charge full speed ahead into the unknown beauty of a precise plan that I cannot see. It beckons me, luring me with the secrets and promises of the journey ahead, and on a whim...I'll take it.

It is said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with just a single step (Lao-tzu). I think the journey begins with a decision to take a chance. Be it whim, fancy, or calculated logic, our decisions, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, have the potential to radically effect our lives and change our world forever. 

A Year Later...




Ah, as the very first National Ragged Blue Monkey day comes to a close... 
I pick up pen and paper (well keyboard and monitor) and write.

As a thank you to Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Robert Liparulo,
Eric Wilson, and Steven James...

I shall kill someone- while wearing an awesome man chain, fabulously dangerous shoes, and no shirt. After that, I think I'll put all of Eric Wilson's books into my suitcase then dump them on the floor. I shall conclude the festivities by tossing a small child into a ceiling fan.
 
And as a thank you to Kevin Kaiser...
I will accomplish all of the above while talking like Yoda. ^.^

You just had to be there to understand,  *giggle*



A Year Ago
  by D.M. Kilgore
They stood upon the Ragged Edge,
With hopeful hearts and some very human insecurities.

They came from every corner of the map,
From all age groups and backgrounds.

A strange menagerie of creatures,
Destined for something they could not yet grasp.
They listened aptly as the masters spoke of struggles and triumphs...
And they weighed themselves with every word.

Am I good enough, am I strong enough?
Do I have what it takes?

How bad do I want this... this life on the edge?

Those that stayed and listened laughed,
And cried, but mostly, they understood.

They had been warned that they might never be the same.
And they were not.

They left as something more than what they came as.
Playfully, they called their new selves "blue monkeys".

They formed a support group, a way to keep in touch and on track.
Boldly their war-cry rang out, "Scream! Bleed! Finish the book!"

And so it began.
But it was to be so much more.
Just like their days on the Edge.

War-cries continued but among them arose,
"Hear me!" "Understand me!" "Pray for me!"

And they did.
They
heard. They understood. And they prayed.

Their hearts beating as one tribe.
Because, beneath the monkey business grew the depth of their purpose.

Not only were they here to write,
But to share, to encourage, to love, and to grow.

As they began to share their stories- their true stories,
of how they arrived At the Edge,
of what their lives had brought them to and through,

Clarity emerged.
Indeed, they had been destined to meet at that wonderful, pivotal place
Where all things work together for good.
Some have finished the book.
And some have not.

Some will.
And some will not.

But however their stories may end, it shall always be true...
Their days on The Edge spawned these Monkeys of Blue.

I love these Blue Monkeys so very much!


The RE:union 2014

 


Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words...




































Best Night Ever?

 You better believe it!!!

 


To be continued ...


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