Writers in SF

Next week is the RWA conference in San Francisco, and it’s a bit sad when that kind of event looks restful. It’s not, but it’s sure as hell a change of pace, and that’s sounding very, very good. But, honestly, it’s a bit silly that every year when I go to one of these, I spend good money to not listen to workshops–but the bar is worth the price of admission, and I at least get to listen to Susan Elizabeth Philips, who is as funny and charming and smart as she writes. That is no small thing. Writers are often not what they write. Actually, writers usually aren’t what they write. There are a few times when I’ve met someone and they’re so much like their books, it’s just silly. Usually, it’s a disappointment–I’ve learned to be very wary of meeting favorite authors (or even finding out much about them, since if the fiction is good, much else should be ignored). But the real fun of conference is often to be found in the bar, because that’s where you find someone who’ll talk about the craft.

And that’s what gets me jazzed.

A late night with too little sleep and just enough to drink that regular boundaries get a bit slurred, and that’s the kind of madness where you can dig a little deeper into questions about what does matter. My suspicion is that this is my frustrated desire to have been a member of The Algonquin Club–or at least a waiter at the hotel, someone who could eavesdrop shamelessly, and don’t tell me that Parker and Benchley and the like didn’t know they were playing to an audience.

Conference, however, always makes me wonder why a couple of thousand women in one room do start sounding like chickens in a coop. That’s just not fair. And why is it that the two things you never pack are the two things you need most, while the five things you were sure you needed remain unused? My other fantasy of convention travel is to show up with an Amex card in hand and nothing more and buy everything as needed–that’s not happening this year, but that’s one of those someday promises. (Along with getting out of the conference hotel more, and also finding the time to take a real vacation.)

And there will be books–not that I don’t have a stack of twenty to be read (and two I’m wandering my way through). But, lord help me, I can no more resist a book that looks interesting than I can stay out of a conversation about writing. So much easier to talk about, than to do. Back to doing more now….

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