It is early and even now, there are authors typing in the Great Room. The lights are dim, the wall of windows letting in the pale lavender morning. There is the sound of typing, whispered "Good Mornings", and the dull clunk of coffee cups against the wood of the long table. I'm so tired, but I can't sleep. Yesterday, I tried to stay in bed as if being immobile would somehow fool me into thinking that I could go back to sleep. It didn't work. This morning I know better and trudge downstairs to visit the keys.
Here's the problem: when you're away with a room full of authors who are fascinating, fun, funny, knowledgeable, generous, wise, witty, giddy and all around you, you frankly would have to be an idiot not to want to spend every waking moment in their company. C'mon? Work, nap, or chat with this crew? No brainer. Hence why I have lack of sleep and very little brain.
Me, bowled-over by the incredible energy of those around me. A houseful of Tiggers!
But oh, it's impossible to resist! If you've been tuning into the Live Show ala Jackson Pearce, I am right there with 300-some-odd people at 8pm EST hanging on every word as each writer gets her say about her process, her books, her stories, and her humor. It's fascinating! During the day, we sit around talking or cooking or snacking or typing, but also playing foosball or Bananagram or get lost while looking for groceries. Every night there is an organized chat to talk about our future goals, our strengths and weaknesses, or the things we most admire about the books we love most. As an extrovert whose passion is a solitary exercise (namely sitting in front of a glowing screen all by myself in the quiet), I crave this worse than chocolate. This. Food and sleep might be what I need to survive, but *this* is what I need to live.
I've learned that Julie and I are gamer geeks, that Beth is freaking hilarious, Kiersten White knows this business like nobody's business, Jenny Moss is incredibly passionate, and Sarah is another Jewish Mother with a wry sense of humor. I already knew that Saundra and Carrie are fonts of industry knowledge, that Brenna was full of depth and brilliance, Victoria is genuinely the sweetest thing on Earth, and that Maggie will tell it like it is; but it is really nice to get to experience all those things in-person and/or again. I got to see Scrivener in action, type next to folks whom I've admired and read like Natalie (HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT!) and Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED!) and act like it was really no big deal. (How come it both is and isn't a totally big deal?) I get to talk sexual politics with Julia and racism with Jackie and motherhood with Myra and...and...and...
Did I mention how tired I am?
It's not to say that this is an incredible opportunity simply because of the incredible people who are slowly populating this room, filling the kitchen with more sounds like raised voices, the gurgle of the coffee maker, the sizzle of eggs; I think any gathering of kind, creative, passionate people might produce the same glow and that is what I sorely miss in my little town at my little computer along with my husband and kids (who I miss!!!), but there is something special about putting a face to a userpic, hearing a voice without the webcam, meeting the woman behind the words. And I say this not because I want to brag about being here, but I wanted to share this moment as the birds are chirping off the lake as I try to ignore all the dead deer staring glassily down on me and my empty glass of Airborne, knowing that I'll have to somehow extricate myself from the tangled mass of cables under my chair or surrender myself to the kracken of laptops lurking there. This makes me want to go to a conference. This makes me want to host my own retreat. This makes me want to dance and laugh and put on an electric blue wig this morning as a wake-up call.
Because, as I said, I am so frickin' tired...
But I am smiling as I type!