Monday, November 5, 2012

Dispatches From The 19th Annual Cat Writers' Association Conference

Catsparella meets The Cat Daddy: Jackson Galaxy and me at CWA

And...we're back! In the famous words of an Aaliyah song (RIP), "It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you..without a dope beat some cat news to step to.." I'm happy to report that me and the kitties are currently safe and sound in New Jersey, but a combination of days without power, leading up to a last minute trip the 19th Annual Cat Writers' Association Conference, is what has kept me silent over the past few days.

Whenever I tell people about CWA, the first response I usually get is, "That actually exists?" The answer to that question is yes, it not only exists, but has been made fun of on Regretsy grown and thrived over the past 20 years as "a professional organization of more than 250 published writers, artists, broadcasters and other experts from around the world, who share a special affection for and expertise in cats." Thanks to my work here on Catsparella and on Catster, I was accepted as a member in July 2012, and was excited to make the trip to this year's annual conference, which took place Nov. 1 - 3 in Los Angeles, California.

So what happens at a conference strictly for tha' cat writers? Well, for one thing, if you're a newbie you're called a "kitten," while longtime members have the distinction of being cats. Shockingly, it's mostly attended by women (cat ladies unite!), and you're definitely gonna run into some cool cat fashions along the way. Like any other conference, there's informative seminars, as well as plenty o' cocktail hours and dinners meant for networking and celebrating some of the finest in the feline writing industry. Surprisingly, there were only three actual cats in attendance, who were there as part of special sessions on cat behavior and clicker training, and on reinventing yourself through the the power of social media

Other highlights included a great course on media training by Karen "Doc" Halligan, who you might recognize from her appearances on a myriad of popular television shows like "Cats 101" and "America's Cutest Pets," and a keynote from "My Cat From Hell" star Jackson Galaxy (also a member of CWA), who was on hand to talk about the making of his book, "Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean."

I came home last night with no sleep, a swag bag filled with feline goodies, and more new friends and contacts than I could have imagined. While I didn't have time to get out in L.A. and see as many palm trees as I would have liked, I wholeheartedly appreciated the opportunity to go to this unique event where I could spend time with people who don't give me the side eye when I tell them what I do for a living.

There's no way I can mention everyone, but I want to give a big shout out to all of the amazing people I met and got to spend time with this weekend, including (but certainly not limited to) Angie Bailey from Catladyland, Janiss Garza from Sparklecat, Deb Barnes from Zee & Zoey's Chronicle Connection, Janea Kelley from Paws and Effect, Kristin Dewey from Cokie the Cat/Blog Paws, Susan Logan, Anastasia Thrift and Annie Shirreffs from Cat Fancy, Vicky Walker and Keith Bowers from Catster, Dan Koehler from Purina, pet expert Sandy Robins, author/artist/my new adoptive mother Carole Stevens Bibisi, and last but certainly not least, my hilarious roommate, viral video star Maryjean Ballner, who I will be writing more about shortly!

Thanks again for your patience while I've been away, and now back to your regularly scheduled cat blogging!



Ingrid King said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I missed not seeing everybody this year, so it was nice to have this report from you!

Catsparella said...

We missed you this year, Ingrid! I was hoping you were going to be there!

Mr. Black said...

Sounds like fun. I'll have to check out some of the links in your post.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Sounds like you had a great time partying - I mean networking with some of my favorite cat ladies! ;-)

Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey said...

It was wonderful seeing you at the conference - you looked so amazing in that red and black dress and were definitely the cats meow!

Catsparella said...

@Vicki Hahaha, yep!!! :)

Catsparella said...

@Deb It was wonderful seeing you, too!! Aww, thank you!! So were you in your stunning leopard print!!

Carole Stevens Bibisi said...

Hey there a BIG HUG to my newly adopted American daughter!! LOL!! True, I felt like we already knew each other.. from another lifetime!
Been catching up on all my emails & unpacking. Feeling a bit flat after the high of the conference. I am just a people person & love being around like minded people. Thanx for the plug for my website. Enjoying looking at the artwork on Catsparella especially the tattoo style artist, wow!! fantastic! My kitties are making it difficult to type, they missed me so much they haven't hardly left my side, or my knee, or bed!! Love you, talk soon.Carole XXXOOO

Cokie the Cat: Hollywood Insider said...

So she was there. I'm never sure with Mom and my doppelgänger. All I heard was she was going to LAX so I figured they were off across the country somewhere again.

She said she had a great time meeting you all though. I just didn't know whether or not to believe her.


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