By Lisa Smith Molinari
This time of year always reminds me of my mother coming into my room on the first day back to school, ruffling the tangled hair on my sleeping head, and singing her own version of mess call, “Soupy, soupy, soupy, cornbread, and beans!”
It was the undeniable signal that summer was over.
September is the month that traditionally marks the beginning of another work year. Kids go back to school. Mealy watermelons get thrown out. Pool passes expire. Tourists go home. A new fiscal year begins. Practice whistles blow.
Even if we didn’t take vacation time this summer, Americans naturally let up a bit in June, July, and August. We steal out of work a little earlier so we can sit in lawn chairs, ride bikes, cook out, go to the movies, collect seashells, and toss bocce balls.
Columnists are no different. Even though we continue to meet our regular deadlines, we put aside our Pulitzer aspirations and relax a little. Last June, after the stunning success of our 2017 Annual Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, NSNC relaxed, too.
Not only did 2017 conference attendees go home with swag bags stuffed to the gills with awesome freebies, their heads also spilled over with ideas about literary agents, podcasting, book publishing, and new media. Their minds raced with fresh memories of networking contacts made, of the Fisher Cats baseball game, of Leighann Lord’s hilarious wordplay, of Derrick Z. Jackson’s “Hamilton”-inspired rap, of the fearless mouse in our meeting room, of nearly being kicked out of the hospitality suite, of the book fair, of Maureen Dowd’s unexpected grace, of that weird but tasty purple sauce that accompanied the salmon.
The intense 3-day experience left #NSNC17 conference attendees excited, yet needing some rest. And NSNC’s volunteers – who worked faithfully throughout the year on the conference, the Column Contest, the #IAmAColumnist campaign, on the new Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Contest, and other NSNC initiatives – were, frankly, exhausted.
But Alex didn’t hit the hammock just yet. As soon as the 2017 conference was over, NSNC formed the 2018 Conference Committee, struck a deal with the Kingsgate Marriott Hotel, and announced that Cincinnati will host next year’s big event.
And with that, NSNCers took a collective summertime breather.
But now it’s September 1st, and even though the autumnal equinox dictates that summer lasts for three more weeks, we feel the need to get back to the grind. Set the alarm. Put on the coffee. Charge the laptop. Get to work, Lazybones.
To the tune of a distant marching band, we pick up the pace. We crack open our neglected planners, scribble To Do lists, and set new professional goals.
NSNC is ready for another exciting work year, too.
This fall, NSNC’s 2018 Conference Committee will be hard at work, filling the #NSNC18 conference schedule with practical workshops, inspirational speakers, and fun excursions. NSNC’s 2018 Column Contest will be updated and automated to make registration easier. The Dear Abby College Columnist Contest will expand its window for entries as it enters its second year. The Board will continue its work collaborating with other journalism organizations, facilitating networking among members, and offering cutting-edge information on industry topics to help columnists and bloggers succeed.
The summer was a much-needed break, but reveille’s blowing and there’s work to be done.