Friday, August 20, 2010

Lessons learned at the Book Passage Travel Writer's Conference

I was very proud to rub shoulders with the best travel essayists alive today. Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales my second novel is nestled between Tim Cahill’s, Hold the Enlightenment and Rolf Potts, Vagabonding on center stage at the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference. While I came to share my work with others, I did not expect to receive encouragement and inspiration to carry forward. Phil Cousineau, an author I was not familiar with before I arrived, gave a talk about Stoking the Creative Fires. I didn’t realize it, but since the publication of my second book in May, Lost Angel Walkabout; One Traveler's Tales, I have been suffering from post partum. After listening to this brilliant, accomplished individual who has thought deeply about the subject of “Why Bother” to create, I felt not only justified but eager to get on to my next book!

Cousineau’s theme that art for “beauties sake” is worthwhile in our lives reminded me of John O’Donohue’s wonderful book The Invisible Embrace of Beauty. O’Donohue’s words re-enforced my own strong belief that “the secret to youth is to fill your mind with beauty.” Not that you will look any younger, but that your spirit will be replenished and freshened when your life is filled with beauty—be it a song, a book, a landscape or the smile of a child. I felt overwhelmed by a sense of serendipitous synchronicity when Cousineau revealed that he was a close friend of O’Donohue. I was saddened to learn that this thought-provoking man had died a year earlier at the age of 53. Perhaps, his work was done. I left the conference feeling mine had just begun.

I walk in Beauty on the good red road.
Linda Ballou


  1. Dear Linda,

    Congratulations on your productive time at Book Passage. Travelers Tales is such a good publisher. I was honored to have my essay included in "Stories to Live By: Wisdom to Make the Most of Everyday."

    I can only imagine how thrilled you were to have your book nestled between those of Tim Cahill,and Rolf Potts.

    Janet Riehl

  2. Linda,
    You sound like you enjoyed yourself at this conference. It must be an amazing experience to have your book on display with so many other professionals in the industry. I wish you much success on writing your third book.