by Joyce DiPastena
It’s just been a little over two weeks now since I attended the LDS Storymakers Writers Conference in Provo, Utah. I first attended the conference in 2008, and although I loved all the classes and workshops, I had a very difficult time during non-class time. Although a few members of ANWA attended that year, somehow I never seemed to successfully hook up with them. I felt lost and alone and, quite honestly, miserable during such things as mealtime. I’m extremely socially shy, and it seemed like whatever table I ended up sitting at, everyone knew everyone else and I always felt like I was invisible at best, an intruder in their “circle” at worst.
This year it was different. More sisters from ANWA attended, and this year I found myself slipping easily and happily into their company. I called my sister (with whom I was staying in Salt Lake City) between classes a few times. Remembering my struggles of the previous year, she asked me each time how I was doing. My reply: “Oh, I’m having so much fun this year. I sat with some of my ANWA sisters during the classes. I sat with some of my ANWA sisters during lunch.” Etc.
It wasn’t until I’d repeated a version of this several times that I realized something unique. I never said, “I sat with an ANWA member” during such-and-such class, or lunch, or dinner. Without even thinking, I always used the phrase, “my ANWA sister”.
My sisters. Where else do I use that phrase, outside of Relief Society? Nowhere! But the phrase slipped so easily and naturally off my tongue during the conference. I realize now in a way I think I’d only taken for granted before that ANWA is much more than just a writing group. It is truly a SISTERHOOD of writers. I wasn’t “alone” at the conference this year. I was with “family”. It doesn’t get any better than that!