One thing I’ve learned since I started writing a few years ago is that writers don’t just write. They research. They outline. They cry. They read for pleasure. They read about writing. They cry. They edit. They edit some more. They cry.
They also go to writing conventions.
I haven’t been going to cons for all that long, and I don’t know what it’s like when you’ve been doing it year after year, but what I have noticed is that in the days immediately following the con, I have a feeling of complete and utter elation. Euphoria.
I kind of feel like this:
And this year’s NECon was no exception.
I’ve blogged about NECon a couple of times (here and here), but in case you are unfamiliar with it, it’s a small convention in Bristol, Rhode Island for writers, artists, and fans of dark fiction. It has a wonderfully mellow atmosphere, making it seem more like a family reunion than a writing convention. In fact, its nickname is Camp Necon.
Truth be told, in the days prior, I wasn’t sure how this year was going to go.
The people with whom I usually spend the most time were not going to be there.
But I really shouldn’t have worried. As I said, NECon is a lot like a family reunion. And since I’ve been going for a few years, I’ve met a ton of wonderful people.
So many things contributed to my aforementioned elation.
My roommate this year was Kristin Dearborn. It’s weird having a new roommate, as you never know how considerate the other person will be of your privacy and space. But when I walked into the room and saw her toiletries neatly arranged on one side of the sink, leaving plenty of room for mine, I knew I had nothing to worry about. She was fun, nice, and easy to talk to.
Plus, she made these:
I reconnected and talked shop with Bev Vincent, Tony Tremblay, Peter Argano, Jose Nieto, James A. Moore and Dallas Mayr, among many other greats.
I laughed in horror with Catherine Grant and Barry Dejasu during “The NECon Update with Mike Myers.” Mike went into great detail about his colonoscopy. He said things like–
I was on a panel called The Art of the Short Story. My fellow panelists included Jose Nieto, John Goodrich, Dan Foley, KH Vaughan, and Doung Jai Piscitelli. I have been lucky enough to be on panels for the past three years. The two prior to this, although awesome, were at 9 in the morning. On Saturday. After everyone’d been partying in the courtyard all night.
So when I found out this year’s panel was at 3 p.m. on Friday, I felt like this:
I also saw the Guest of Honor panel with Chuck Wendig, Paul Tremblay, and Seanan McGuire. I always love listening to artists and writers talk about their processes, and these authors were wonderful. I laughed a ton: the three of them had a great rapport. If the writing thing doesn’t work out, they might consider taking it on the road.
As an aside, I was psyched to learn that Paul Tremblay is a math teacher. Finding a math major/teacher at a writing convention is like finding a shred of human decency in the comments section of a Huffington Post article. I was a math major and math teacher, so I related to his path and appreciated his perspective. We didn’t get to geek out too much, but there’s always time.
The bottom line is, I had an awesome time at NECon.
But after that elation wore off, something else happened. About five days after the convention, another emotion set in. It was mean. It was ugly. It was how I feel when I look at this:
And throughout my Facebook feed, I saw other NECon attendees were going through the same thing.
After having so much fun hanging out with friends, talking about writing, drinking tasty beverages (or swallowing vodka-soaked gummies), and eating saugies*, it’s hard to return to your normal life.
But that’s the thing about NECon. It’s super awesome. And coming down from that high is completely worth it. If you ever get a chance to go, I totally recommend it.
Special thanks to Sara Calia, Mary Booth and Matt Bechtel for all their hard work in putting this con together. You guys are amazing, and I love spending my third weekend in July with you.
*saugies…hmmm…in all the photos I Googled, they looked like hot dogs, and as someone who thinks hot dogs are Satan’s food, I’d rather not subject you to that. But they do not taste like hot dogs. They taste like miracles. They taste like unicorns and rainbows. They taste like awesomeness. Or maybe that’s the 1 a.m. alcohol-induced munchies talking…