I had to be to the hotel early because I had volunteered to register incoming attendees. This wasn't my year to pitch my manuscript to agents, so I decided I would meet as many people as possible by working the various events. That first day I spent three hours welcoming writers, agents, and editors, unaware of the relative celebrity of most of them. It worked to my advantage, as I was less intimidated than some of my deskmates. Everyone was lovely, especially the women from RWA, who coordinate the whole massive undertaking.
I had lunch that afternoon with the Captain, who works three blocks from the hotel. I brought all the books from my swag bag and gave them to his friend Michelle, who is a voracious reader, and unlike myself, recognized most of the author names. I invited her to come back to the hotel for the charity autographing event, which benefits literacy programs across the nation. I had volunteered for that as well.
At 5:00 I donned a red apron and started working. My job was to keep the authors hydrated, and to answer any customer questions. The room filled quickly with enthusiastic readers, and stayed that way for three hours. The authors were gracious, albeit parched, and there was no end to smiling faces. I think the doors could have remained open all night, and there would have been no shortage of fans. It was a lovely testament to the power of the written word, and the continuing appreciation of those that transport us outside our own lives.
I took full advantage of my apron-wearing status to jump the line of my favorite author. I asked her to autograph several books, including one for the woman who had introduced me to her novels, which then inspired me to become a writer. She said, "That's the way it works, doesn't it?" and signed away. We all need inspiration, and the support of our friends and family to achieve our dreams.
When I finally got to my room around midnight, I peeled off the knit shirt I'd been wearing all day. My torso was dotted with black lint, adhered to the remnants of surgical glue used to seal me up after my surgery. I stared in the mirror and thought about all the people that had helped me get to that hotel, to attend that conference, so I could pursue my dream. I left the lint, as a reminder of their love.
The Lone Woman meets her Favorite Author and Inspiration: Jennifer Crusie.