PLAIN 2013, an international gathering of plain language practitioners. What stays in my mind, 10 days later?
Vancouver, where Kiwis feel at home — sunshine, sparkling waters, mountains, autumn colours. I met other kindred spirits and enjoyed their company. Walks in Stanley Park and along the beach. Favourite cafe/bar: Espana.
Highlight: meeting one of my long-time heroes, Ginny Redish. Her session with Neil James on mobile content was packed to the gills, with good reason.
Over cocktails, the unforgettable Prof. Joe Kimble romped through a 10-year project: redrafting U.S. federal court rules. Wild and crazy tales indeed.
Five speeches hit the spot for me:
Sarah Leavitt, David Wong and Penny Goldsmith showed how graphic stories increase the reader's engagement — the metamessage rules. I won't forget the sight of a huge room crammed with 200 people totally involved in their Round Robin small group sessions. My own presentation on how I've juggled writing books with a day-job for many decades was slightly off the wall and over the wall, but well received. (Audience: thank you, and good luck with your own joy-writing!)
The final dinner honoured Martin Cutts, long-time campaigner for plain English in the UK. Then we danced off our conference torpor to the music of Julie and Rush Clement. Because at any conference there's a lot of sitting, eating, and sitting and eating, sometimes simultaneously.
Warm thanks to Cheryl Stephens and her brilliant team. I had a great time and learned a good deal. What more could you ask?
Photo: a spirited discussion with Dr. Marcia Riley — such moments don't fade.