Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Left Behind

I'm seeing a lot of poor you posts by authors and writers who have since taken off for the RWA National Conference. The assumption here is that RWANat is so fabulous, so fun, and so freaking wonderful that we must be miserable, to be deprived of its many delights.

Ten Delights I Remember from RWA National

1. Staying at an overpriced hotel with 1000 writers, 500 of whom are allergic to perfume and 500 who evidently bathe in it.

2. A room on the twentieth floor, no stairs, and waiting thirty minutes minimum to use an elevator. Which then takes twenty minutes to get to your floor.

3. Chicken something in mysterious brown and purple sauces, salads that appear and taste like grass clippings and wilted leaves, watery iced tea, tar-thick coffee, and something floating in your water glass that looks like a booger.

4. Needing desperately to visit the ladies room while being trapped in a front row seat at a workshop taught by The Most Boring Writer in Romance.

5. Reserving a room with two beds, being stuck with a one-bed room and having a roommate who can't sleep on a rollaway, which turns out to have a lump in it the size of a honeydew.

5a. Insomnia not helped by discovering that your roommate snores, grinds her teeth and talks in her sleep.

6. Dodging being trampled by the herd as they race to get to seats at the big luncheon and fight over who gets the freebie Linda Howard hardcovers (I have seen women almost come to blows over this.)

7. Sitting next to Big Name Author's table at the literacy signing and listening to her readers gush over her books while you smile at the stacks of your novels that no one wants.

8. Walking through the cloud of smoke emitted by the Lung Cancer crowd gathered around the tiny ashcan just outside the lobby door. If one of them is gesturing, add dodging a cigarette burn.

9. Sitting next to a redheaded lady for thirty minutes at a party but avoiding eye contact and not talking to her because you've run out of small talk. Later, having all your friends rush up and ask you what you said while you were sitting next to Nora Roberts (at least Nora can never say I bugged her.)

10. Discovering at the RITA awards that the reason everyone keeps looking back at you is not because your name was announced, but because the well-dressed lady beside you is farting silently but continuously.

Yep. Poor us.


  1. I feel so much better. Thanks.

  2. You forget being crushed in a Boston elevator with twenty-some-odd floors to go on the grand banquet night and being allergic to perfume. Every time the elevator doors opened I leaned forward, exhaled, and took a deep breath.

    The elevator stopped on every single, blasted floor.

  3. Anonymous11:44 PM

    You make me glad for ICFA, where at the very least the food was amazing.

  4. Anonymous12:34 AM

    You know, that doesn't sound all that different from WorldCon, except I'm hoping I can safely assume that all the romance ladies had bathed at some point between Thursday and Sunday, and that frantic aspiring authors in fairy garb aren't grabbing arbitrary passersby and asking if they knew where the TOR party was.

    Conventions are such a hoot!

  5. Even better, I've written 24 pages already this week that I wouldn't have if I was running myself ragged at the conference. That's an extremely good word count for me with a full-time job and three monsters running around.

  6. " the well-dressed lady beside you is farting silently but continuously"

    That's right: blame the well-dressed lady. We all know the truth...

  7. Anonymous8:14 AM

    It might be an RWA urban myth, but I heard that (in Denver?) a lady in a wheelchair was knocked over by the rushing crowd when the Goody Room doors were opened.

    The good bookmarks go fast, you know.

  8. I'm moved to be contrary this morning. I'm not crying in my corn flakes that I couldn't attend National this year, but I hope to make it in 2006. Yes, I've had almost all of those bad experiences sans the 'sitting next to the big name author at the booksigning' and the 'farting well-dressed woman', but I've also enjoyed terrific times like . . . Blazingly brilliant workshops with information that helped me become a better writer (Thank you, Stephanie Bond and Jenny Crusie); The funny conversation with a big name author at the afternoon hors d'oeuvres buffet in the Concierge lounge where we poked at an unfamiliar food item and tried to decide what it is; The first time I met a reader at RT whom I didn't know and wasn't related to who came up and said, "Oh my God, I LOVED your book."; Sitting at the Chapter Presidents retreat brainstorming dozens of ideas on promoting/marketing romance in our individual communities; Cheering like mad for a friend when she won a RITA. There are more, but I may have exceeded this comment limit.

    RWA isn't perfect -- far from it -- but I've found value in my membership, even when I don't agree with everything the organization decides or tries to do.

  9. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Contrary opinions are always welcome here, Mary. I only wish more people were like you at conferences; if they were you couldn't keep me away from them.

    I have to say of all the authors I've met, Jenny Crusie was one of the friendliest and most real in person. I had a one minute conversation with her at a con booksigning and then I watched her talking to the readers who came to her table. She seemed genuinely interested in everyone, which if it was an act, was Academy-award quality.

  10. PBW said: "I have to say of all the authors I've met, Jenny Crusie was one of the friendliest and most real in person...She seemed genuinely interested in everyone, which if it was an act, was Academy-award quality."

    I can vouch for Crusie. She's the real deal, 24/7. She makes time for readers AND other writers--sort of like you. She's not afraid to screw up in public and laugh at herself for it, either--um...also like you?

    You two should get together and go bowling. :)

  11. I've always had a great time at the three RWA conferences that I attended, met great people, and because I'm a vegetarian, I get better meals!

  12. Thanks, PBW!

    Selah, you have now inspired an idea for a conference-related activity. I have a great mental image of a group of romance writers descending on the local bowling alley. Matching, grody shoes aside, I think brainstorming among the pin sets would be hysterical.

  13. Thanks, I needed that!

  14. Jim, I'm with you. I live on the Left Coast and since I first heard it existed, not one convention has been anywhere near here. Maybe someday.

    Hilarious list, Sheila. Thanks for the chuckle. :)

  15. I had a decent time in Denver at the 2002 Nationals (my first RWA). I really didn't enjoy Dallas. I was bummed out for two weeks afterwards. RT was fun this year. I enjoy them, but I rarely relax.

  16. Thanks for the giggle.

  17. Jordan, I was in Dallas, but not in Denver. A coincidence? No, I think not. I must have killed it for you.

    For me a conference means the joy of eating food that I didn't cook, sleeping in a bed in which I'm not being kicked by a kid having nightmares, and talking to people who might like a good fart joke but don't live for them. I could probably manage that kind of pleasure under different circumstances, but I don't seem to arrange them. Feels too decadent without some kind of excuse.


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