Excuses, WFC wrap-up and finding my tribe

I know I haven’t updated in a while. I meant to. There were lots of things I wanted to blog about. Finally finishing the WFC report. How my writing is going. Review of 2012 and thoughts on 2013. And I’m sure there are others that I can’t think of right now. But several factors threw off my blogging “schedule” (and yes, I do use that term loosely).

The first is the topic of my last post: Sandy Hook. Right now, almost a month later, I still get a little gasping sensation just from writing those words. When the tragedy occurred, I actually had about half of the WFC wrap-up post written. And I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to it for quite a while. Up until pretty much now, actually.

Then, of course, there were the holidays. Kid A was home for two weeks which cuts down on my “me” time drastically. That meant that whenever I did have time to devote to my various projects, I put it towards writing and editing rather than blogging. On top of that, we really left the holiday stuff until the last minute this year, so there wasn’t much time for writing or editing either.

Then there was the writing and editing itself. I had been hoping to get a short story finished for submitting by mid-Jan. I had given up on the assumed deadline of Dec 31, but then found I had until Jan 15 so I decided to try to push it. Bad idea. This story really needs a week or two in “the drawer” and I was poking at it so much I can’t be certain that I was actually improving anything. And it was driving me crazy because it is *almost* there. But not quite. And the more I thought about those few parts that needed work, the more frustrated I got that they weren’t just sorting themselves into beautiful lines of prose in my head. During this time, I also re-read my novel manuscript to re-familiarize myself with it before I pull it out of its drawer. A couple of days ago I took a bit of pressure off – the short story is going into the drawer and I can submit it to the next issue in the spring. Which means that during the babynap today, I can actually update my blog.

(another win is that I can listen to David Usher while I blog; I try to stick with instrumental music when I’m writing but especially when I’m editing).

So that brings me to the updates. I’m not going to try to cover everything here because that will lead to a 5000 word blog post and no one will bother reading to the end. One thing at a time, right? (RIGHT?) Okay. WFC days 3 and 4. Here goes…

When we left off, all those weeks ago, I’d just spent an amazing afternoon and evening with Carol Berg and her friends and wandered about getting autographs from some of my other favourites like Charles de Lint. But the next day my shyness started to get the better of me again, at first. I saw Carol right away, surrounded by the people I’d met and some others besides and I realized that I still felt a bit like an imposter. And so I took myself into the dealer room and texted my friend L about it. L’s response: “Well when you get home I won’t ask about any cool “hanging out with Carol” stories since you won’t HAVE ANY.” Which was not exactly fair, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. Duly chastised, I first went and introduced myself to horror writer Mark Leslie Lefebvre, who happens to know my husband and whom I hadn’t introduced myself to at the autograph session because of the shyness. We had a chat (he’s very friendly!) and then it was nearly time to go to my first reading. I went over to Carol, ensured she was going to stay put and headed off to see That Author do a reading.

That Author is the one I mentioned in previous posts – where I have tried to read his books but they have just never jived with me. Anyhow, I found him to be a very smart speaker so I decided to go see his reading. If I hated it, fine. But I thought it might be a good way to see if I’d like to give his books another try.

And I do. He was brilliant. He’s back on the list. It’s a long list, but before that reading he wasn’t even on it.

Then I hurried off the Charles de Lint presentation, which I really enjoyed. He had his wife and artist speaking with him. (Yeah, you read that right. He has an artist. Why don’t I have an artist?) At the end he and his wife pulled out some instruments and began to play. And they were incredible! De Lint mentioned that they had played until 1am the night before and that was not the first time I started kicking myself for not staying at the hotel. Fortunately, he said that they would play again that night. After the presentation I had a chance to chat with him a bit and got a photo with him.

Then I ran back upstairs to find Carol right where I left her. She said hello, pulled out a chair right her. I sat down and she stood up. “I’m just going to go have a drink with Bob.” That was the last I saw of her until that evening.

And that was how Carol Berg forced me out of my shyness. And thank god. The group “adopted” me, as they put it – they adopt one or two at WFC every year apparently. I spent the afternoon in the lounge, chatting with people about books, kids, writing, politics, pretty much everything and met a bunch of new people including last year’s adoptee, Krista. We all headed out for dinner and then back for an evening of readings.

First Krista invited me to a reading of the “worst book ever written”. (and I won’t give you the actual title, but that accolade is well deserved). Then I attended the “flash readings” by the Broad Universe group (that I intend to join) where I heard some brilliant stuff. Carol also had her long reading that evening and all I can say to that is “What do you mean I have to wait until 2014? What the hell?”. Then back to more of the Broad Universe flash readings. After all that, I met my husband up in the lounge and about fifteen minutes later we were joined by Carol and the rest of the group and we all had drinks and continued the night.

Sometime around midnight I realized that I still hadn’t gone to see de Lint and no matter how late I stayed my kids were still going to get me up early so we said our goodbyes. My husband and I wandered over to where de Lint and his wife were playing and hung out there for a while – I wound up buying both his and his wife’s CDs. When we got back into the car I was completely blissed out. Even more so than I had been the night before. I texted my friend M and said “I found my tribe.”

I texted M about this because a while ago M wrote a blog post about “finding one’s tribe”, a concept she had been reading about and was pretty sure she had managed at the time. (note: I may be remembering this completely wrong. Maybe she just told me about it. Maybe she read it in a magazine. This was a couple of years ago). Anyhow, the point is that people are often searching for their “tribes”, a group of people where you all share a thread that ties you together (M, correct me if I’m wrong here). Anyhow, this tribe can include some friends and family but it doesn’t have to, and it will generally never include all of your friends and family. But you still feel a part of this group even with those that you don’t know very well because you all have this connection. And that was how I felt going home that night. R (husband) and I started discussing when I could go to another con (probably not until 2014 with the limited funds 😦  ) but I truly believe that I’ve found my tribe.

The next morning was quick – there was a banquet that I didn’t pay the extra for and then an award ceremony. I didn’t know most of the writers up for the awards (well, I had heard of a lot of them, but hadn’t met them), so instead I met Carol and those of her group who hadn’t already flown out, and I brought the kids in to meet her as well. The last time Carol and I met, R and I were just dating (possibly engaged). Now I have a five year old and a baby and I love that she got to meet them. We chatted some more over coffee and then she headed off for the banquet and we headed out.

And that was it. There, I managed to cover WFC and it only took me three months. Since then, I’ve started reading an unpublished proof one of the aspiring authors gave me (it’s very good) and I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of the people that I met there. Hoping I can make it to another one soon – need to get back with my tribe.