Death is coming.  So is the Gerasene Writer’s Conference.  How will you prepare?  What will you leave behind?  What will you bring to the conference?



  1. The Duffer says

    As I recall, Cube always brings sexual energy to the party. (

    I will bring garlic.

  2. Churchill says

    When is the conference and where is it?

    I was going to say how were you going to play more than one writer, and that made me think about when all the cells change but after ten years you are supposed to be the same person. Anyway, it’s not all that funny.

    • The conference is being held in about 100 acres in rural Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.

      We would be greatly honored by your presence.


      • Sorry, I didn’t answer the “when” part of your question: end of July.

        There are great camping AND canoing opportunities. And my wife and sisters in law would love to meet you, too.


  3. The Aparicios would love to attend, but after looking into I really don’t think it’s possible this year. But if you hold this again during the summer next year, perhaps we could finally make it to one of these legendary events…

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Alas. Someday.

    • Boo!

      (But, yeah, I know. I don’t really have any real estate to stand on when it comes to these sorts of things…)

      Please, Bernardo, even if not for the conference, feel free anytime!

      (We drink wine and beer on the farm too, by the way…)


  4. …how [are] you going to play more than one writer [?]…


  5. Question: are there local lodging opportunities other than camping, or is camping what all the cool kids will be doing?

    • Mrs. Darwin,

      Lock in your request now – and I can guarantee you a bed and/or drinking vessel (we’ll throw in garnishes and nuts for free).

      On the other hand, we’ll hold you to it too (cancellations cost at the very least a sonnet cyle on one of the four seasons written in dacytlics, or a modern retelling of Pyramus and Thisbe which takes place in a mental ward in Utah.)

      Anyone else else?


      • But can you guarantee me seven beds, or beds enough for seven people who sleep in all sorts of mutable arrangements?

        Our travel plans for the year revolve around a cycle of weddings in June (anyone else getting married in June, keep it to yourself, ’cause I DON’T WANT TO KNOW), so although nothing goes on in late June, the variable here is the amount of vacation days left in the year. Though, as I told Lickona, never say die. We may swing it, but it’s too soon to commit, dahling.

  6. If gives one pause to attend a conference that approaches like death.

    I’m not sure I got invited, exactly 🙂 , but I would love to stop by (maybe with the fam) for a day if we are in town. The impending adoption really puts a lot of plans in the air.

    I’ll bring Holy Water.

  7. There’s a pleasant B and B five minutes down the hill in town.

    There’s also a cave on the property…


    • Better yet: Everyone is required to bring a personal Winnebago.

    • cubeland mystic says

      I will bring my portable icon collection for the cave. Is there a place to get beeswax candles? Otherwise I can make them.

      Seriously, what would be cool is if everyone made crafts and other works of art. You know whatever they do. Perhaps if there was a writer in the group we could write and perform a play for the occasion. Tuff chance finding a writer. Real food.

      Sorry there is so much inside baseball around here. I did not believe that the NOLA trip was real for a long time. I thought you guys were joking all the up until the late summer or fall. I thought it was one of those we had a “writer’s conference” when all you did was sit around and drink for a couple days. What is this conference? LIke are there organized events? Do you discuss certain books? Do you discuss your own stuff?

      • Matthew Lickona says

        We didn’t believe the NOLA trip was real for a long time, either. That version of Gerasene was especially real, what with the fact that we were all attending the Walker Percy Writer’s Conference at the same time. But the first two iterations were almost but not quite just what you say: sit around and drink for a couple of days. The “not quite” part involved reading each others’ stuff (sometimes aloud) and discussing. There were no organized events, beyond “Okay, we’re going to have dinner and then read each others’ stuff aloud and discuss it.” Mostly because they’re generally pretty small. But that will, or could, change in the future.

  8. I would so like to crash your conference. I would like to meet you all, writers who are bad Catholics [though “bad” seems to be used here more in the Michael Jackson sense, not really in the sense of “errant.” But whatevs. This could be good for me. I run in circles with too many Leftists and Knotheads. You would be doing me a favor.] It’s about four hours from Chicago?

    I would prepare by learning the difference between whiskey and bourbon once and for all. I would leave behind my errant ways (for good, for real this time, promise). I would bring a tent, a bottle of Templeton Rye, three books (Siddhartha, Atlas Shrugged, ESP and the New Spirituality), and perhaps some new writing for those who are willing to take a look and give me thoughts?

    Like Cubeland Mystic, I’m wondering if the purpose of this conference is to share writing. If the answer is “no,” I’m hoping someone would be so kind as to just lie and answer “yes.” Impending death is, apparently, not enough: GWC would surely light a fire under my ass and make me actually write something between now and there, here and then.

    After all, why not write? Bad as things are, bad as I am, still when all is said and done, I can sit on a doorstep in the sunlight and watch sparrows kick leaves. So really why not.

    • Cubeland Mystic says

      Hi Ellen
      I just read Siddhartha last summer. Herman Hess right? Good book. Interesting insight on child raising. You might be too young to get a lot out of it. It might be an older person book. Aging sort of encourages you to shed superfluous things, especially things pertaining to ego. A young person needs some ego to fuel drive and ambition. These are good things. I am talking healthy ego levels not self delusional levels. Siddhartha is about pealing back those layers of husk to get to the hard nut inside.

      For example, I know a locally prominent woman who is middle aged and needs to be viewed and seen as a writer. So she has pretty much thrown the family under the bus in pursuit of this. She really sucks as a writer. She really does. On the outside she is petite and attractive, but on the inside she is a giant grasping lying manipulative hideously delusional serpent, coiled tightly around the vodka bottle encasing her humanity. Over the years I have tried to help with positive advice and affirmations, but each time I tried the affirmation would be amberized like an insect in the sugary goo oozing from her passively imperious white-knuckled personality. She is constantly talking about her “books”, and calling herself a writer to anyone who will listen at the cocktail parties. She remains unpublished. But she presses on chasing her dream at all costs because she needs to be recognized as a writer. So now I just watch the tragedy unfold as a private spectacle afforded me by providence.

      It is sad because it probably messed up her family a bit. If she is not outright lying, she was a child of an alcoholic and hence a victim. Siddhartha, if it could penetrate the goo layer, would help her shed the superfluous ego to get to the vodka bottle in order to shatter it. And at her age she needs to be freed from that vodka bottle her parent encased her in, or the sneaky one she keeps in her cupboard. Either way she could benefit greatly from it.

      A young person should read it in order to understand the journey. It is very helpful in this sense. Personally I am wired for books like that, so it was a page turner for me. Losing the husk is not like another goal or project. I am going to shed my ego and open my heart to God this year. It is not a goal one puts in their planner for 2012. I think young people think in those terms. They are goal driven. I must achieve enlightenment or die trying. Sorry for the generalization. When you are older, and disposed for transformation, you simply do it. A rightly disposed mature person will realize that they are an ass and either change or accept it and move on. Insert the character flaw of your choice that is blocking your path to God, and remove it. You let go of it. One day you say to yourself “I clung to my fears for fifty years, today I am not going to be fearful.” And then you move forward leaving that bit of husk behind. Siddhartha has those kind of moments, and Hess did a great job of revealing that in his character. I just loved the book.

      Sorry for the long post, I have to run now. If you want to talk about I’d love to dialog about it. I loved the book.

  9. Hey, CM. I really liked the book too. Half of that comment was stolen from Love in the Ruins, which I am currently reading and was in the middle of as I was composing it. At some point, the narrator describes what was on his ex wife’s bookshelves (I think) and those were the three books he mentioned. That’s the only reason they appeared in my comment. Not hatin’ on Siddhartha or anything. Got nothin’ but love for Siddhartha.

    • Cubeland Mystic says

      I am laughing about this. Right now Love in the Ruins is pressed between LOTRs, The Philokalia, and Escape from Skepticism on my bookshelf. (Bonus Points if anyone know the book Escape from Skepticism)

      There has got to be story in all this. “The Dude Who Was Afraid To Read Walker Percy”

      How about a story about that woman.

      • Matthew Lickona says

        Doesn’t Escape from Skepticism open at a small Catholic liberal arts college in Southern California?

        Ellen, you should absolutely come to Gerasene and bring your writing.

        • Cubeland Mystic says

          Yes it does open there. Talk a lot about emancipation from mental slavery too. You win a prize.

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