The Things They Didn’t Carry

No matter how thoroughly you plan, at some point you’ll find yourself wishing for something you left at home. Maybe this list will help you pack for a writers conference.

1) Small bedside reading lamp. Not only does it make for a more pleasant atmosphere than an overhead light, it will also allow you to read yourself to sleep.

2) Outside by CB I Hate Perfume, tested against Sewanee mosquitoes by fiction writer Sharon Mauldin Reynolds. No one wants to smell like DEET at a writers conference. (fyi: I get not kickbacks; just passing the info along)

3) Wristwatch. Cell phones can be out of range, out of charge, turned off or left back in your room.

4) MP3 player and speakers for late-night drinking sessions. And that brings us to…

5) Plenty of aspirin or whatever. If not for yourself, then for your fellow writers.

6) Small fan. Sometimes the AC doesn’t work to its full capacity, and the fan’s white noise can drown out the late-night revelry by your window.

7) Umbrella and/or raincoat. Don’t believe the 15-day forecast! Those fools don’t know. Prepare for every kind of weather.

8) Clothes you can layer, especially sweaters. No matter what you wear, you will find yourself getting too hot and too cold on the same day.

9) Quarters for the washing machine.

10) Camping laundry detergent for sink washing. Rinses better than normal detergent.

11) At least one set of clothing that is simple but dressy, no matter how casual the conference claims to be.

12) Long pants. It may be hot and humid in the daytime, but the evening cools off quickly. And of course there’s the overdone air-conditioning indoors.

13) Plastic hangers.

14) A tiny spray bottle. You can fill it with water, spray your wrinkled clothes with a fine mist and hang them up. Voila! No more wrinkles.

15) Hand sanitizer. You’ll be shaking hands a lot.

16) Small hair dryer, to use on your damp hand-washed clothes.

17) Small microfiber towel.

18) Ear plugs.

19) Keen shoes. They’re perfect for almost everything you’ll be doing.

20) Twice as much lingerie as you think you need.

21) One Sewanee guy says he almost didn’t bring his mountain bike, but he’s glad he did. Beautiful countryside.


About Quixotic Chick

I write. I take pictures. I survived cancer.
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4 Responses to The Things They Didn’t Carry

  1. A blow dryer. Thanks for lending, and giving me yours, Donna. Only way to tame the mane in that Sewanee humidity.

  2. Amy Greacen says:

    If you possibly can, bring your own pillow. I struggle with this every year because I am a very light packer, but every year I am sorry i don’t have my own linens. those dorm beds are BRUTAL. If you’re driving, especially — toss and extra pillow and a light fleece blanket in your trunk. You’ll use them.

  3. deborah says:

    Thanks for this list. I posted a list with additional items at my blog.

  4. marystojak says:

    Thanks ! I just was wondering this morning about a lamp!

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