Conventions are wonderful and exhausting. I always come home thrumming with thoughts to process. So much is packed into such a short span of time that it is a bit overwhelming. To give you an idea, I present this incomplete description pulled from the experiences of the last two days.
Attending a convention is:
Carting piles of stuff into the building and setting up a table and trying to arrange merchandise attractively.
Greeting friends I haven’t seen in months (or years) and being greeted in return with hugs.
Explaining the process of printing things in China and handing out contact information for our printer.
Sitting on a panel and feeling unqualified, but talking anyway because I’m already in front of people with a microphone in my hand.
Sitting behind a table while no one comes by or stops to talk.
Scrambling to cashier for a line of people who all want to come to our table to buy our books or Brandon Sanderson’s books, or Dan Wells’ books.
Making conversation with people who stop by the table. Talking with friends who sit down to keep us company.
Looking out over the audience as I speak and realizing that I have exactly the right words to say, words which are important and may make a difference for others.
Shuffling merchandise on the table so that Howard has room to draw.
Shuffling things back so that I have room to cashier.
Pulling books from boxes under the table to restock the arrangements on the table.
Eating dinner with friends and laughing until I nearly fall out of my chair.
Fielding phone calls from kids during dinner and trying to talk them into going to bed nicely.
Being glad when Howard volunteers to be at home so I can stay out a little later.
Driving home very carefully because I am aware how tired I am.
Finding my six year old still awake when I come home and listening to him as he tells all about his valentine’s party.
Hugging my little boy tight when he says he wishes I did not have to be gone the next day too.
Laying awake in bed unable to fall asleep because my brain will not stop thinking loudly.
Getting up in the morning and really wanting to just stay home while also wanting to go back to the event.
Having my two youngest kids wish that everyone could just stay home. Especially me. They want me at home.
Hugging them tight and sending them off to have fun at the neighbor’s house while I’m gone.
Knowing that they did have fun and that three days of mixed up schedule will not hurt them, but still feeling a bit guilty about leaving.
Walking into the dealer room to discover that Howard bought me a flower and put it on our table.
Howard coming in after his panel is over and asking me “So do I win at husband?” Yes he does.
Stumbling over my own words in front of an audience because my brain is so tired I can hardly put sentences together.
Having people come up to me and thank me for things I said on panels, I’m glad I said good things. I’m too tired to remember what they were anymore.
Introducing my oldest daughter to many of my friends because she came along for Saturday.
Having hundreds of brief conversations, being introduced to dozens of people, trying to remember names, being grateful for name badges.
Not being able to talk to all of the people I want to have time to talk to, not being able to attend all the events I wished to attend.
Packing up the table and hauling everything out to the car while Howard is busy podcasting.
Having people volunteer to help with the packing and the hauling.
Fielding phone calls from my six year old during dinner wherein he tells me small things about his day just because he wants to hear the reassurance of my voice and because he wants to know when I will be home.
Listening during dinner because I am too tired to actively participate.
Being one of the first to leave because I am tired and my kids at home need me.
Driving home carefully while trying to mentally sort all the conversations which need follow-up email or phone calls.
Pulling off my high-heeled boots and feeling my feet creak as my heels sink into the softness of the carpet. Shedding the nice clothes for shapeless comfortable pajamas.
Blogging because so much happened and I don’t want to lose any of it. Knowing that I already have forgotten things because my brain was too tired to retain them all.