The Writer’s Conference: The First of Three Parts
Well lady and gentleman, I have attended my first writer’s conference. Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, I met literary agents, publishers, published authors, and some of the most unique people I have ever encountered. And it was awesome.
First off, let me mention that whenever my friends asked where I was going for the weekend, I got the extreme pleasure of watching emerald jealousy harden their eyes as I told them I was going to Vegas…until I mentioned it was with my mom. But my mom’s awesome—she’s the whole reason this blog/website is even together—so I didn’t mind their snickers and trite jokes about strip clubs. Well, I didn’t mind them that much.
The flight out was fine. I had never flown Southwest before, so that was a new experience. Of course my dream of Fate working in my favor to seat a beautiful, intelligent, adventurous girl next to me on the flight—my charming wit and makes-you-play-with-your-hair smile winning her over instantly—was thwarted by a rather obese man who asked for six packs of in-flight snacks.
So be it. I was headed to Vegas. Fate still had some time to make up the ground.
When I arrived in the Vegas airport, there was of course the dripping terror in my mom’s voice as she tried to locate me in her rental car (she had flown in earlier in the day), but my suave coolness directed us to one another without a hitch. Remember, I said my mom was awesome, not that she was immune to mother freak-outs.
The hotel where the conference was held, Sam’s Town, didn’t have all the glamour of the casinos portrayed in Ocean’s 11. But it had two comfortable beds, air conditioning (that my mom refused to turn on as moms do), and a television. And that’s all I really needed.
Our room, however, had two of the casino’s spotlights right outside our window; and they cut through our curtains like a samurai sword through jell-o. But that’s all right. Sleep’s overrated.
We didn’t do much that first Wednesday night, just ate at TGI Friday’s—a restaurant, in three days, where they would greet us by our first names. Fortunately, the food wasn’t that bad. Then again dental surgery isn’t that bad when your alternative is excruciating tooth decay. I’m just kidding. The food was actually pretty good.
The conference officially started at 1:00pm on Thursday—but we were there at 11:01 for registration, just like I was in the airport 3 hours early for my flight home. It’s a Teeny thing. However, within minutes of entering the banquet area where the conference was held, I regretted every digital pixel in the email that had told my mom I would totally be down to go.
The people were different, the classes seemed rudimentary (please, this is Jake—God’s literary gift to the earth here!), and the average age of the attendees was a decade and a half greater than mine—I feared I wouldn’t understand any of the pop culture references they’d be making.
But slowly, my ego’s carapace began to crack, chip away, and altogether slip from my arrogant shoulders like the last bits of clothes before joining a nudist colony. I realized I was here for the weekend, so I better make the best of it.
I just didn’t realize how much fun/disaster I was going to have doing that.