If this were a series, I’d start this with “Last time, at Convolution 2014…”
I remember finishing my previous post and thinking that the evening was nearly done, and that I wouldn’t have that much to write about. That was before Melissa and I decided to go to the Delphic Oracle panel.
I laughed so hard, I had tears. Michael was duel wielding hip flasks, and though he claimed to be sober, he certainly seemed like he was at least a little bit toasty. Chris Garcia was drinking pitchers of water as though he were preparing to cross a desert. Todd McCaffery hosted the event, and everyone was present and hilarious. It was so much fun! I’m so glad we went to it.
Afterwards, Melissa and I went back to our floor and poked our heads into a few parties. We imbibed with FLARE, and with Klingons, and we supported a couple of convention parties. To my surprise, Melissa drank a bit more than I did. I think we appreciated not having to contend with stairs or elevators when we finally retired for the evening. Also, the noise wasn’t an issue. Of course, part of that could have been because we were slightly inebriated.
Concerning the party floor, there was some strangeness with the hotel staff. While Melissa and I were in a hallway, two large, suited men with earpieces came to the door near us, and pulled down some posters. At first glance, I thought they were attendees in convincing secret service costumes. Then I saw that one of them had a thick stack of posters acquired from the rest of the floor, and he was not happy. Apparently, the hotel had changed its policy in regards to posting things to the walls and doors. I watched the security guards move on, and where they went, it was like the a couple of high school bullies moving through a lower grade school yard. The attendees shrank away from them, looking small and defenseless.
All of that was Friday. The first day.
Saturday morning, Melissa and I got up early enough to go to breakfast. Then I gathered up my things, went up to the 8th floor, and prepared for the back-to-back writers workshops.
“I was nervous” would be an understatement. When it comes to my writing, I still care too much. Intellectually, I know that the stories I produce are distinct from me. I know that my stories are not perfect, and that they are getting better. Comparing my recent work to stories from just a few months ago shows noticeable improvement. My brain knows one thing, but my heart feels another. My heart tells me… well. My heart tells me a lot of bullshit, and I’m not going to repeat it here. Not tonight.
I steeled myself for the worst. The pros and the other writer for the first session arrived. Then it began.
I’m going to write about the experience of those two workshops in a different post. I learned a lot. I felt a lot. There’s quite a bit to talk about, and I’m not going to short-change the experience by condensing it too much. For me, both workshops were extremely positive, and I’m still processing it all.
After the workshops, Melissa joined me, and we attended a couple more panels. I’ll post the notes regarding those later this week, when I’ve had a chance to type them all out. In the evening, we attended the Masquerade (which was a contest, not a ball… I had misunderstood before, and Michael corrected me well in advance).
It had been a long day, and Melissa and I were both hungry. We went to the sports bar inside the hotel to get a late dinner. I had fish and chips, which were greasy and good. As we were leaving, Jon Del Aroz, his wife Sam, Todd McCaffery, and someone else (I’m sorry I don’t remember your name!) were on their way in. Jon invited us to join them, and I couldn’t refuse.
Everyone there was amazing and friendly. Jon mentioned karaoke, and we talked about different songs. The beer I’d had earlier was catching up to me, and after Jon and I had shots of vodka, I was feeling bold enough to go sing Ebony and Ivory with him.
We wound up singing Dancing in the Street instead, and it was not quite as amazing as what we had imagined. We were undeterred, however. We just needed a better song. We pawed through the books, and Jon was leaning towards some music that was a little bit more urban and unfamiliar to me. I suggested Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dogg, and we knew we had our song.
Unfortunately, we were never called up to perform that piece. I’m pretty sure it would have been spectacular. Jon and I will have to perform that lyrical masterpiece at our next opportunity.
After karaoke, Melissa and I went to the parties, and I imbibed a little bit more. We made it back to our room a little after 1AM, feeling pretty good. Again, being on the party floor was not a problem, because we found sleep easily.
Sunday morning, Melissa and I rose feeling a little bit rough around the edges. We were well enough to go down for breakfast, then attend a couple of panels. Jennifer Carson, one of the pros that had really liked my Mel Walker story, invited Melissa and I to join her and her friends for lunch, and we accepted. We went across the street to the American Grill, and I felt spoiled. Everyone at the table was very generous with me.
After lunch, Melissa and I attended one more panel, then closing ceremonies. With the event drawn to a satisfactory conclusion, we jumped in my mustang and cruised back to Sacramento.
Convolution 2014 was really quite magnificent. To paraphrase Tanya Huff at the closing ceremonies, the community at Convolution is extremely generous and appreciative. The programming was really well done, and there are tons of enthusiastic, talented people in attendance. There were over 700 individuals attending this year, and both Melissa and I were glad to be among them.