Is this thing on?
Umm... So apparently, Cherie is swamped today, and it's up to me to blog today! I'm having one of those "Cannot brain today" days, so...just a few quick notes on GRL.
Basically, it was overwhelming.
Honestly, I think I'm horrible at people. I simply cannot just walk up to someone and say hi without a LOT of pep-talking. And here I was going to a thing where there was going to be one -- ONE -- person out of around 500 that I had ever met in real life before.
By the time I got myself to the hotel, I was pretty much ready to completely panic, and I was seriously THISCLOSE to turning around, going back to my car, and escaping back home. Only the fact that I knew Cherie was waiting for me (quite literally) and the fact that I really needed a bathroom kept me from doing just that.
I will admit, I spent a lot of time kind of hiding in my room, but I did try to join in the actual "social" events in the evenings -- dinners & parties -- and not just because of the free drink tickets, although they did help.
What really did it for me was a friend who wasn't even there hooking me up with other friends of his via text message. So I ended up having some really awesome conversations with a couple of really awesome people who managed to make me feel grounded enough to join in on conversations with completely random strangers in, for instance, the loooong line for drinks at the bar at the various parties.
I never really think people will actually connect the me in real life with the me online, so a couple of highlights for me were along those lines -- like, when Anne Tenino realized, about 20 minutes into our really really long and amazing conversation that I'm the Tracy who posts frequently (regularly) on the Lanyon Q&A group on Goodreads about all the far too many projects (dioramas & the like) that my kids have to do for school. (We were supposed to talk hockey, too, but somehow never quite got around to that.) Or when Amy Lane remember the nicknames I use online for my boys -- DinoBoy and VelcroBoy -- but then, Amy Lane's just all-around awesome, and gives great hug. And Katey Hawthorne, who was there as a reader & let me geek out a bit with her at a party -- we kind of monopolized each other, but it was good.
The best thing was Saturday night, when Cherie and I went to dinner with a lovely group of people including Aleksandr Voinov (who is responsible for bringing the two of us together in the first place) and L.A. Witt. I had Lobster mac & cheese, basil rolls (sort of like spring rolls), and fried green tomatoes (I LOVE eating in the South). Then the bulk of the group left and I stayed behind with Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid (lovely lovely funny people) for a piece of truly foodgasmic red velvet cake.
It's kind of sad to me that I was so overwhelmed for the first half of GRL that I really only managed to actually talk to about half a dozen people, but they were really good conversations. I didn't feel like I really got my feet under me till Saturday lunch, but I do feel like I'll be more comfortable with the whole experience next time that I'll be able to settle in quicker. Especially if I can meet up early with the people I'll already know by then!
(Also, since next year it's going to be in Chicago... If there's a home game that weekend, does anybody want to maybe see about going to watch the Blackhawks play hockey? My hubby doesn't know it, because he & the kids would probably disown me, but they're my other hockey crush. First and best is the Pittsburgh Penguins.)