I’m just waiting for the mirror to crack from side to side. (Yes, that’s a super nerdy reference to “The Lady of Shalott.”) But I feel the first stirrings of the dreaded Con Crud. Extreme lethargy, that weird inability to focus my eyes, and worst of all, the slight soreness at the top of my throat. Ah, the curse is come upon me!
I realize this is where all of my friends who couldn’t make it to Orlando this year are cackling in barely-disguised glee. I’d do the same.
And I was so good: took my supplements and vitamins, probiotic-ed the heck out of my gut, plus I diffused magic essential oil blends in our hotel room. But Con Crud is a powerful force.
You know what else is a powerful force? Community. Romancelandia. Love. Hope. And do you know what #RWA17 was all about? Yep. All of those.
I feel like singing and dancing—even though I don’t feel like singing and dancing at all because of the stirrings of Con Crud. I missed half of the sessions I wanted to go to (thank you, conference recordings for filling in the gaps!), I didn’t broker any multi-million dollar deals, and I certainly didn’t win any awards (except possibly: best sparkly caftan), but my time at con was just what I needed.
Time with my people, serendipitous meetings with friends who used to only live in my phone screen, and connecting with total strangers (I know), is only part of what makes a conference a wonderful experience. (And I shouldn’t write “a” conference, because we all know that the RWA Conference is something special and unlike any other professional conference I’ve ever attended.)
It's Romance New Year today.
And I love Romance New Year... A fresh start with that glowing ember of hope in my heart—and possibly a low-grade fever—and a renewed sense of purpose. Whether you attended RWA or not, you can celebrate today.
What we do is so important. And in a world (and profession) that is often so hopeless, it’s beautiful to be reminded of all the Very Excellent People in our community and the incredible virality of our community. (No, I’m not talking about Con Crud.)
There’s nothing more powerful than the hope of an HEA.
Be you a reader or a writer, that hope burns in us all. Hold fast to it.
If you feel like your spark is fading, I encourage you to watch Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Beverly Jenkins’ acceptance speech. (FFD about 57 minutes in. And have tissues on hand.)