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NETWO Writers Conference: My Adventures in East Texas ...

Just got back from a camp neat Pittsburg, Texas, in the eastern portion of the state, and the Northeast Texas Writers' Organization Annual Conference. The conference went well and the attendees/organizers were remarkably nice. It seemed like every person I met with was just so pleased with my advice. I think it was more their zest for life than me firing wisdom pearls all the time.

Just got back from a camp neat Pittsburg, Texas, in the eastern portion of the state, and the Northeast Texas Writers' Organization Annual Conference. The conference went well and the attendees/organizers were remarkably nice. It seemed like every person I met with was just so pleased with my advice. I think it was more their zest for life than me firing wisdom pearls all the time.

The conference was held at a Lutheran camp site essentially in the middle of nowhere, which was a rare chance for me to relive my Boy Scout days. We stayed in cabins, not hotels, and nary a TV or iron was around. There were instructions in our cabins concerning how we should treat fire ant bites. (At the risk of sounding a tad wussy, this concerned me.) I did return back to the cabin the first night to find a black spider right on my bed. He did not live long.

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So these past two weekends, I've had the chance to visit northern Vermont and eastern Texas. Here's my breakdown after having visited both. Burlington is a city full of super liberals. You've got a large population of college liberals there with the University of Vermont in town; restaurants state loud and clear on menus that their food is organic and the food made locally (because this is a selling point to the "localvores" in town); and every telephone pole is covered in signs for independent rock bands. That's Burlington in a nutshell.

East Texas is (you guessed it) the opposite. It's a hub of Baptist/Lutheran conservatives and you can't go far without a sign or bumper sticker that praises God and/or Jesus. When we were served lunch, our placemats were the American flag. Our placemats!

But more so than the simple difference in political ideology and lifestyle is this: Vermont is self-aware that it is super liberal Vermont. East Texas thinks its way of thinking is how the rest of the world is, or at least should be. That's Texas in a nutshell.

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