Monday, October 31, 2011

World Fantasy Report, Part The First - Getting There

Friday October 27, 2011 was a travel day. It's a long drive to San Diego, even if we don't get caught in traffic passing through or around Los Angeles. "We" are husband Dave Trowbridge and me. This leads me to some thoughts on packing for conventions. You'd think that after all these years of con-going -- going on 30 -- that most of it would be rote. And it is, at least when it comes to what to throw in my suitcase. One nice outfit if there's a publisher's dinner, underwear for n days plus one, layers to cope with the vagaries of hotel air conditioning, that sort of thing. I've got a travel kit of teas, packets of instant oatmeal, sweetener, spoons and immersion heater. I could throw together toiletries and prescriptions in my sleep. Then there are things I sometimes forget, like gold stickers that say, "Autographed Copy" (left at home this time), old cover flats and bookplates for autograph freebies (also left at home), and copies of the collection of my short fiction that I published through Anthology Builder and offer for sale at cost (also left at home). Mostly, these "left at homes" are not a big deal. I'm better and more organized some times than others, and I'm pretty relaxed about it.

Then there are the moments of sheer panic.
I have no idea what these are about. Certainly, they are not about the specific thoughts that spring to mind. Do I need to bring ginger candy in case of my stomach's upset, even though I have never needed it before? Will these earrings make me look fat (earrings can do that? since when?) Have I prepared adequately for the panel I'm moderating? (I should know by now that I'm a skillful moderator and I have indeed done my homework.) What should I order when my editor takes me to lunch? (Well, I'm not going to impress her one way or another, so how about what I'd otherwise choose?)

Sometimes I think these doubts are a bizarre form of performance anxiety. I often feel I'm "on" at a convention, and I get all tangled up in "doing it right." I've said my share of unbelievably idiotic things at conventions, and have been duly tolerated and forgiven by the friends to whom I've said them. Resolving to speak only when I have something brilliant to say has not produced any noticeable improvement.

At other times, I think it's a displacement of all my insecurities. Just about every writer I know has these, all the lapses in self-confidence, the fears that our current book is sure to flop disastrously and everyone will find out what imposters we are, yadda yadda. Or maybe it's just that I'm excited and I'll be away from home, in a strange environment over which I have considerably less control.

So I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that we arrived late and exhausted, and I simply had to read several chapters of a C. S. Forester "Horatio Hornblower" novel in order to fall asleep. At least, the shower was hot and the bed was comfortable. And now that Dave uses a CPAP, he doesn't snore.

Next up, First Daze.


  1. In'it odd that no matter how prepared we are, there's always at least one thing we forget?

  2. Gosh, that's got to be one of the unspoken laws of the universe!

    I still have a little slip of paper that stays in my suitcase, saying, "Remember Cellphone Charger!"