A Writer's Journey

August 22, 2016

Kansas City—Days 3 and 4

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Friday dawned and I got ready for another day at the General Assembly.

Our day started early with another General Session. Like the night before, pictures were shown on the screen and the roving reporter continued to interview people.

The program started with a heart-wrenching video about homelessness and in particular the crisis that gripped Cleveland. It then led to how the Y in Cleveland responded and all the good they are doing, making us feel proud of them and realize how profound our work can be.

Our keynote speaker Friday morning was Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and founder of her own media empire. She spoke about how technology can improve our lives and be detrimental to it and how we can all be our own brands.


I’ll admit that got me thinking about my writing (I know, after two entries about this, I’ve finally managed to make it about my writing). If you follow me on Twitter or just check out this blog since I have my tweets fed here, you might have noticed something about a Big Project. (And I promise there will be more on that when I’m done with these recaps. So…next week? Next week). What you need to know about it now is that I’ve decided to self-publish a book next year (maybe sooner if I’m lucky). So I was thinking about how I was going to start branding myself. But more on that later.

(Next week? Maybe next week).

Randi was an excellent speaker and if you ever have a chance to hear her, I encourage you to go. She kept us entertained and kept the energy level up, unlike the speakers the night before.

Once the general session was over, we spilled out of the auditorium and went across the street to the exhibit hall. I got separated from my group and ended up pulling away from the crowd so I could find them better. While scanning for my coworkers, I took a video showing how many people were there. I later sent it to my mother and a friend, who were both amazed by the numbers there.

After finding my party, two of my coworkers and I went to a session hosted by Vernice “Flygirl” Armour. She was a fighter pilot in the Iraqi War and one of the few women fighter pilots in the Marines. Vernice spoke about how she got to that point and the lessons she learned as a Marine. She spoke how she applied those lessons to her civilian life and how we could apply them. Vernice was engaging and entertaining, so she’s another person I recommend seeing if you get the chance to attend one of her lectures.


Her lecture ran a bit long so we were a bit late to lunch, once again at the Yardhouse. Once we were done, I went back to the hotel to grab my beachbag. I had missed the second session so I decided to do one last turn around the Exhibit Hall before going to the final session for the day.

That session was hosted by Seth Mattison, who has studied the differences between the generations for a decade or so now. And he had a lot of good information for businesses, especially about how to incorporate the model Boomers and Gen Xers have known with the model the Millennials and Gen Z’ers have created. He is putting out a book soon and I plan to get it, even though I don’t like nonfiction.

(I also got Randi Zuckerberg’s book, dotComplicated, and I’m enjoying it so far).

Once I took notes and pictures from that session, I then left. I ran into my friend again and we talked a bit. Both of us were going to be going to dinner with our respective coworkers, but were going to different places. We wished each other well and separated.

I changed out of my polo shirt, mostly because I noticed a stain there. So I pulled on my comfy t-shirt…which I then accidentally wore out of the hotel when I went to buy souvenirs for my family.


(Though to be fair to myself, only I would know it was the shirt I slept in and wore to laze about the hotel room. No one is going to really think a shirt that says “I Choose Sean” is weird).

Once I got all my souvenirs, I returned to the hotel and relaxed in my room. I then remembered to change into something more appropriate and went down to meet my group for our final dinner.

We walked a few blocks to the Power and Light District to the Bristol Seafood Grill. I had been a bit nervous about going there since I’m not a seafood eater, but I found a chicken dish to order. And it was very, very good. So was their apple dessert.

We didn’t really shut down the place this time as there was a party who was there later than us. Some of us headed back to the hotel and I know a few others just went to another bar for another hour or so.


Back at the hotel, I showered and then started to play “luggage Tetris.” I had been so pleased I had fitted everything into the smaller suitcase, I had forgotten about everything I would get while in Kansas City. I then wished I had brought the bigger one just for that. But in the end, I got (mostly) everything in and then I turned in for the night.

In the morning, I dressed and packed the last few things in my suitcase and carryon. I then checked my room a few times, especially the drawers as I had put a few things in there. Once I was certain I had everything and I wasn’t leaving behind a mess, I left the tip for housekeeping and left my room for the last time.

Downstairs in the lobby, I handed back my keys and met the group of us returning to the airport. Senior management had gone back that morning and one more coworker was leaving that night. We had an afternoon flight and we piled into a shuttle back to the airport to make sure we had time to get through security.

Since Kansas City is known for barbecue and we hadn’t had any, we found a place in the airport and managed to get some before we left. We flew through security and then chilled at our gate while waiting to board our flight. Once we were in the air, we hit some turbulence but otherwise it was an uneventful trip home.

We did have to hold for a bit outside Newark due to a storm, but we still landed on time. My mother picked me up and drove me home, where I then relaxed.

Thus ended my Kansas City trip. It was a beautiful city I may go back to in the future just to explore more than the area around the convention center.

And I hope it’s not my last General Assembly.

Summer Writing Challenge (Week 12)

Words: 13,097

Under/over: 32,003


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