Saturday, June 3, 2017

Shop Talk

I came to the realization at BaltiCon that writers at conventions talk a lot. A whole lot.  They babble on and on as they sit on panels.  They gabble in the con suite.  They converse in the Green Room.  And, whenever they meet in the hallways between panels or while wandering aimlessly in the dealers' room(s) or art gallery they talk, talk, talk. It's very much like the evening congregation of crows squawking their  presence to each other as if the flags on their badges were not sufficient evidence  of their existence in this time and place.

Sometimes liquor is involved and always, food!

I used to attend business conferences and, inevitably, there would be a gathering of like-minded souls in the bar exchanging friendly insults, observations, occasionally politics, and always focusing attractive people who were also attending but never among your group.  Sometimes the conversation would veer into business-land for a few moments, or turn to the subject of the conference.  Hardly ever would there be discussions of hobbies, pastimes, or family. Certainly no one mentioned being blocked, or feelings of alienation, or having fits of intense creativity.  Self-doubt was NEVER mentioned although Imposter Syndrome was laughingly referred as a small bother at times.

And yes, sometimes liquor was involved and always, food!

So what do the authors discuss you may ask?  Well, we talk about where the green, party, and con suite rooms are located, what panels we're on, and where the most convenient rest rooms are located. Seldom is there serious discussion of our current undertakings or the craft of writing.   Contracts are seldom discussed but opportunities frequent populate the conversation.  We talk about who is writing what, gossip about the industry (altho this had diminished enormously with the ubiquity of Facebook, Twitter, and similar social time wasters), and commiserate with one another on the cruelty of editors and slow payments from publishers.  In other words, writers at conventions have much in common with shoe salesmen, accountants, or engineers.

Including the liquor and food.

The one thing that differentiates writers is that occasional spark that ignites the what-if-ness within each writers' soul and flares into an intense conversational conflagration of ideas, concepts, and suppositions that everyone involved is eager to steal adapt to their own uses. The ad hoc discussion that might encompass this (and other) universe(s), each person contributing to the  crowd's mix that is altered as the participants churn like a pot of stew.

It is for being a part of these impromptu  conversations that I am willing to put up with the craziness and chaos surrounding every convention. Yeah, that and the adulation of adoring fans.

As if!


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