First, as expected, I learned a lot about the writing process.
Second, my particular no-miss main interest was the presentation on genre, which was supposed to be about writing genre. To my extreme disappointment, the focus was exclusively on publishing genre.
Third, inspiration came from the most (to me) unlikely collaborators. The final presentation, by the Q Brothers, seemed to have no connection to anything I am doing. In fact, the Q Brothers embody everything authentic about the creative process.
And finally, all that stuff about looking at the city with an eye towards my own writing project? Pfffffft. In my dreams. Research and reflection are solitary tasks. But I got to drink some good wine and meet the amazing Sara Paretsky.
And it is nothing short of a miracle that I did not kill my antagonist and dispose of her body in the Chicago River.