I have been waylaid by many things in the past few weeks. I am still processing grief from my Grandma’s passing. That emotion is not particularly heavy, I did much of my grieving in advance, but it is still present. More difficult to manage are the emotions I’m having over parenting decisions I must make. I’ve got a kid in a diagnostic cycle, another for whom it seems like we’re wandering around hoping that a pathway becomes clear. On top of that are the things of the internet and the world at large. There are causes for grief both among my local people and tragedy on the world-wide stage. And then there is the sinus and ear infection which showed up without permission. All of these have filled my head with thoughts. I’m still sorting, which is why a week later I realized that I never posted the blog entry I wrote during my visit to the World Fantasy Convention. The first part I wrote last Saturday. The final part this morning.
Written a week ago:
Last night I was talking to a friend about parenting guilt. It was a discussion very pertinent to our lives since we were both at a convention and hundreds of miles away from our children. Hers are young. Mine are struggling with emotional things. Logic tells us that four days away will cause no harm and could be beneficial. Emotion pounds in the guilt.
I am at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs New York. It is a show that is full of writers, editors, and agents. I arrived by myself, knowing that my most familiar convention friends would not be in attendance. I have met new people who are becoming new friends. Yet I find myself alone during the spaces between conversations. Some of this aloneness I want. I need time to process and think. Unfortunately some of what surfaces in my brain are guilty or anxious thoughts. This is when I miss having familiar friends, because they know about my challenges and are able to reassure me quickly. Friends help each other put the self-doubting thoughts into perspective.
I also make sure to step away from the convention sometimes. Today I’m down the street in a coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds. There are many other convention attendees here, but we all have our laptops and don’t feel obligated to socialize. Yesterday I went walking in Congress Park. It was lovely fall weather. I didn’t even need a jacket. That walk is where I took the pictures.
This convention has some different social dynamics than other shows I’ve been to. Most people have scheduled all their meals in advance as business meetings. I’m more accustomed to dinner groups forming up spontaneously as people congregate around dinner time. Conversations are harder to join because more of them are either business meetings or long time friends who are catching up. But there are still the large group hang-out times where new people are welcomed.
I have no agenda for this show other than to talk to people and get some work done. I’ve met quite a few people who are far more focused. They have specific agents or editors that they want to meet. They have panels to be on and meetings to prepare for. I’m enjoying being responsible to no one. It is a nice break. Though I know in the long term I’m much happier with people who need me and miss me.
Written this morning:
It is interesting to note that the last part of the convention felt different to me than the first part. Lately I’ve only been to shows where I have an established group of friends that I’m excited to seek out. I’d forgotten that the first half of a convention is meeting the people that you’ll spend the rest of the show bonding with. In the second half of the show I easily found groups of people to join for meals. I’m glad I went to World Fantasy. I connected with new people. I experienced some beautiful fall weather. I got the feel for what upstate New York is like in the fall. I saw the most beautiful dogs any time I went outside. There were many people walking their dogs and every single one looked purebred and like it had returned from the groomer only moments before. I didn’t take any photos of the dogs and I kind of wish I had. I got to see the wind blow clouds of leaves high into the air and carry them far distances. It was a good trip.
I have no more trips scheduled for months. This is a good thing. I really need time for steady work both on the business front and for emotional processing of the things in my head.