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Home Again by Sandy Dugger

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where thousands of people start to crave anything pumpkin. I have to admit that even I look forward to the introduction of pumpkin season too, but the real reason I long for this time of year is because it’s a pre-cursor to the real thing I love about the fall. It’s the time when a lot of my favorite people gather to reconnect, nope it’s not Thanksgiving, but the LCLC. For those of you not in the know, the LCLC is the Left Coast Literary Conference. The LCLC is my favorite lesbian event for readers and writers of lesbian literature. I know there are other larger conferences where writers and readers can mingle, but the LCLC has something they don’t. The LCLC has the Palm Springs sun during a time when the rest of the country is starting to break out their winter gear and some of the nicest, most welcoming ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

                I’ve been to a few literature conventions in my time, but the first time I walked through the doors of the host hotel, I instantly knew I’ve found a new home. There are so many wonderful things about the convention. There’s the warm (or sometimes hot) California sun, afternoons spent in educational panels (or lounging by the pool), and evenings spent under the stars talking books with readers and writers alike. The one thing I love the most about this conference, is reconnecting with women who may start out as strangers, but by Sunday afternoon feel like family. Some of the other conventions I’ve been to I’ve walked up to authors sitting behind a table ready to scribble their name in my book. At the LCLC the only tables there are the ones that hold books and auction donations, where all the proceeds from the auction go to a local charity, or the small tables peppered around the pool area, but at those tables you may not end up eating with the same person more than once the whole time you’re there. This may sound trivial to some, but I know what it’s like to walk around a convention and look at table after table full of women already seated at full tables with nobody offering a seat, but at the LCLC you can hardly walk by a table before you have at least three different women waving you over to join them.

                There is only one thing about the LCLC that I dislike, I know, there has to be something, but for me it’s Sunday morning. This is the time when I have to say goodbye to my old, and new friends. Every time someone waves at me, gives me a hug, or walks out the door I feel like a piece of me is going with them. I leave the convention drained because I know it will more than likely be another year before I’ll get to see most of the people who have attended.

When I was younger all I ever wanted was to belong, to feel a part of something. It’s taken me 43 years to finally find a place where I feel that I truly fit in, at least for four days. I know this is just my one opinion, but for someone who has spent my whole life trying to find a place where I really belong. I know I’ve found it, and in hopefully three hundred and some odd days I’ll get to go home again.

Sandy Dugger is the author of two books, Edting Life and Future Promises