04 July 2011

Of Lint and Literacy: RWA, Day One

Last week I attended the Romance Writers of America national conference in New York City. Yes, I had to drive all the way through the Lincoln Tunnel to get there! Actually, I commuted in with the Captain on Tuesday, and he gallantly dragged my overstuffed suitcase up Broadway to the Marriott Marquis Hotel, located in the middle of Times Square. For those of you abroad, here is a bit of what it looks like in the middle of the night.

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.


  1. Anonymous4.7.11

    Well that answers the question of whether you were RESTING! Right, but I have to agree with you, this would TOTALLY be worth it! Lint and all. Way cool.

  2. Oh. My. Goodness. You met Jenny. I'm in awe.

  3. Oh how cool!!!! I SQUEEEE for you :)

  4. Oh, an my captcha word was "piton" which if i recall from French Kiss is the French word for whore. Just had to throw that in b/c I thought it was amusing. Hell, anything that makes me laugh, right?

  5. Meg, I am SO happy that you persevered through all of challenges of the last few weeks and were able to fulfill a dream. Love your spirit! Xoxo

  6. Megan! I'm so jealous! (What else is new, right?) I am not, however, jealous that you did all that roughly a week from surgery. Crikey. Sounds like a great time despite the surgery and lint. Because...Jenny Crusie.

    @Lora, Close. It's "putain" (not to be confused with "putines" which are delicious).

  7. Hi! I found you on twitter and followed you here. Following now on both. The conference sounds wonderful. I think romance writers have the most fun :-) so I like to follow them. Plus I just love the genre. However, I write mainly for children, so I can't be too naughty. I have a children's book coming out this fall. Stop by and visit me when you have a chance.

  8. Welcome Melissa! I'm always shocked when anyone finds me on twitter, so thanks for following me over here!

    @Delia: Do you think the putines are named after the delicious French whores, or are the whores named after the delicious putines? Are putines pastry? It sounds like they should be.

    @lora: You need putines.

    @Chrys: Thanks! I am pursuing the dream, even if it's just in fits and starts!

    @Julie: I want you to know, I really did rest for the first few days post-op. Honest. Ask the Captain.

  9. Putines, as they stand today (they were different 50 years ago in New Brunswick), are thick french fries covered with cheese curds then doused in brown gravy. Which I suppose you could do with a putain if you paid enough.


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.