Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)

Saturday morning at Left Coast in Albuquerque and I am very tired. I didn’t sleep all that well again last night, and I am exhausted. I am having the best time. It’s absolutely been delightful seeing people again and meeting new people, and just laughing and having a great time. My panel yesterday was quite marvelous; all the other panelists had a lot of good things to say about creating characters, so it was educational for me as well–I also love listening to writers talk. I wish I hadn’t overdone everything yesterday! But I think maybe if I just rest and relax for most of the day in my bed, I’ll be able to face the banquet tonight. (After which I think I will repair to my room to get ready to leave tomorrow.) But what a lovely day it was. I had a marvelous dinner with excellent conversation last night with some wonderfully smart and witty people. I ended up staying up way too late talking to people in the lobby (the bar closed at ten, which is wild for a mystery convention), which is totally on me; I never want a good time to end. But..I don’t think I am back to my normal social interaction capabilities yet. And I did a panel yesterday, with all the attendant anxieties and stresses that come with that, so I suppose it’s not so surprising that I am so tired and worn out today.

But what a lovely evening it was! I haven’t laughed so much and so hard in such a long time, and it does feel absolutely marvelous. I just have to take it easier on myself and possibly ease back into these things and reserve my energy as well as recharged more regularly.

Well, it’s now Sunday morning and yes, I did wind up spending most of the day in my room; only venturing out to grab some snacks before coming back upstairs. I did make it to the Lefty Banquet last night–I had to get up and speak, which of course brought on all the usual anxieties and terrors and stage fright–but the banquet was a lovely time. Congratulations to the winners (Raquel Reyes for Best Humorous; Naomi Hirahara for Best Historical; Wanda Morris for Best Debut; and of course, William Kent Krueger for Best Novel), of course! There were some really moving speeches given, and of course, it was just amazing being around other mystery writers in a conference environment. But I was so damned tired all day yesterday, even going downstairs to get snacks was an ordeal. I spent most of the day in my bed, too tired to do much of anything besides whine and read (I read Vladimir by Julia May Jonas; it was very well written) and just rested, in general. After the banquet I socialized a bit in the lobby (the hotel has a very strange set up) and talked to some more people, then finally making a farewell lap around before coming upstairs and gratefully, happily, falling asleep.

And it was a good sleep at last; of course, the night before I am scheduled to fly home is the only night I got good sleep. But I also have to go in to work tomorrow, which means getting up at six; so the traveling home will wear me out again, and I’ll get home probably in time to just put the dirty clothes in the washer and get it going before having to go to bed again. Fingers crossed for another good night’s sleep. (This week my work-at-home day will be Wednesday, so I have to get up super early for the next two days only) Huzzah? And of course, once I am home I will have to start really getting dug into the things I am now horribly behind on–what else is new? I have to get my story finished by the end of the month, and I want to get some other writing done this month as well before I head up to New York for the Edgar awards (and yes, I am worrying already about the sleeping situation at the hotel in New York).

And I need to go forage for coffee, and I need to buy a book to read for the flight home which means a swing by the book room once I have achieved coffee status. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader!

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I can’t believe Chris Owens died.

It’s hard to imagine New Orleans without Chris Owens.

Obviously, New Orleans was here long before she was born, and yes, as with everything, New Orleans will go on. It’s hard to describe Chris Owens to outsiders, really; she was an entertainer, owned her own club on Bourbon Street, and continued performing there at least once a week for decades. I always meant to go see her perform, as I felt it was like paying homage to a local legend and should be done; Paul and some friends did go when I was out of town one week, and I’ve always regretted not ever going. Looks like that’s a regret that I will carry with me to my own grave.

Tomorrow I leave for Albuquerque early in the morning–well, the flight is at 9:50, but that means I have to be there two hours ahead of time, and have to get there, and all of that, you know. So I’ll probably be getting up around the same time I usually do, at six. I have to check in for the flight this morning and I have to pack tonight when I get home from work. Yay? I am excited to be traveling again, excited to be going to a mystery conference, and a little trepidatious about going…just a little bit. I am always a bit nervous about going to an event where I don’t know a lot of people, or the usual people I gravitate towards hanging out with aren’t going to be there. But I am bringing books with me to keep me entertained, of course; I am hoping to finish Arsenic and Adobo on my flight, with Wanda Morris’ All Her Little Secrets also in my bag “just in case”. I am also taking Robert Jones’ The Prophets and Julia May Jonas’ Vladimir and Rob Osler’s Devil’s Chew Toy. An ambitious reading plan, to be sure, but I would also rather not run out of books–although I am also relatively certain I’ll be flying home from Albuquerque with more books than I flew in with. I mean, I may end up hanging out in the bar with people, or I might not. As I said, while I do know a lot of people who are going to be there…my usual con-gang won’t be. I’ll have to wait to see them all at Bouchercon in Minneapolis this September.

Last night I felt a little done in by the time I got home from work, with laundry to get done and dishes to do. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work on the chores–I hate leaving the house messy when I travel, but I don’t think I will have enough time tonight before I have to go to bed to do any repairs to the mess, alas–and when they were completed, I retired to the easy chair (Scooter had been waiting for my lap, occasionally yowling to display his anger and disappointment that I wasn’t giving in to lap duty the moment he realized I was home and he’d been fed) and watched this week’s John Oliver before moving on to Young Justice (which I am really enjoying; it’s nice seeing the ‘not quite as famous’ DC superheroes in the show). Paul got home just after eight, and I stayed up a little while longer playing Scooter bed before retiring to my own bed for the night. I am also worried about being able to sleep on this trip, but at some point I know I will sleep deeply. And at least I do not have to get up early to fly back home. Huzzah!

I am also hoping to get some inspiration this weekend, which will mean attending panels and listening to writers opine about writing, character, plot, story etc. I generally do come away from these weekends invigorated and inspired (if exhausted), so here’s hoping. I have literally written nothing this entire month other than this blog and shitload of emails, and I do have a story due later this month. (note to self: reread that Stephen King story you were thinking of the other day, to see how he structured it) I also want to spend May writing the first draft of Chlorine, June writing the first draft of Mississippi River Mischief, July finishing off the novellas, and then circling back around to the novel manuscripts again. I am hoping that the lack of writing is burn out from all the work I did over the last seven months–finishing and polishing and working and writing like a madman–but then again, there’s always that fear in the back of my mind that it’s actually gone away for good this time. Do other writers worry about things like that? Maybe. I don’t know. I can only speak for myself, obviously–I never speak for anyone other than myself, so don’t ever assume that I am speaking for any community–but I do know I have this experience inevitably every time I finish writing something, or finish a massive binge-writing marathon.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely day, everyone!