Wednesday, 19 August 2009

RWA 09: Washington DC - Saturday

There were some great workshops listed for Saturday at the conference, but I didn’t make it to as many as I’d have liked. Marathon runners hit what’s known as a ‘wall’ somewhere in the middle of the 26 miles. My buddy Donna Alward has a theory that RWA conference goers can have a similar experience. Too much information to absorb, too much adrenaline within such a short space of time… It’s gonna cost you somewhere down the line.

By Saturday, my brain was no longer retaining information the way it had been. I blew off some of the workshops I’d been desperate to attend and ordered the conference DVD instead, knowing I’d get much more out of them if I listened to them when I was feeling fresh. I didn’t know it yet, but the ‘wall’ was looming.

I had a lovely lunch with Donna and Kate Hewitt at the Lebanese restaurant across the road from the hotel. People had raved about this place all week. It was even in my guidebook. I wasn’t disappointed. After a hearty serving of lamb kebabs and baklava I was ready to face the world again – although, what I actually did that afternoon has slid from my memory. I have vague memories of a workshop on body language.

That evening, I had a quick dinner with Donna at the pub in the hotel and then it was time to get dressed up for the RITA/Golden Heart awards ceremony. I had been so excited about getting into my lovely green evening dress. I’d slimmed into it and it was feeling good but, during the ceremony, I hit the ‘wall’. All the tiredness, the jet lag, the emotion of the past few days caught up with me. I’m one to blub at weddings and when people give moving speeches so I shed a tear a few times. But then there was speech about how those winning awards (RITAs, Oscars, Grammies…) would probably give them up gladly to find a cure for cancer.

Cancer has affected my family in the last year and, although treatments were going well and there was no reason to be maudlin, this speech hit home. I started to cry…and then found I couldn’t stop. I sat there with tears constatnly dripping from my eyes for the next half an hour, wondering why on earth I was crying and how I could turn off the waterworks.

By the end of the ceremony, I had dried up, but I wasn’t really in the mood for socialising and the queues for food and drink at the RITA/GH reception weren’t really conducive to mingling, so I stuck with Donna and Julie Cohen and chatted to them and looked at all the pretty dresses. I only took a couple of photos of that night, so I have no glitzy photos to post, unfortunately. Here’s the one I do have. Me and Julie and Donna, smiling, but looking underneath as if were ready to go home and give our kids a big hug:


Kate Hardy said...

Oh, bless you, Fi - I want to give you a big hug. (Will do so in person next month.)

I'd trade in awards, places on bestseller lists and even my ability to write if for a cure cure for cancer or dementia. But as that's not going to happen, I'm trying to put sparkle in people's lives and give them a respite through my stories: the same way that reading books has got me through the bad stuff, too.

Donna Alward said...

Fi wasn't the only one blubbing - I had to wipe my eyes three different times during the RITA's.

And as Fi knows, I hit the wall on Thursday night. Got it over with early at least. It had been a loooong day. My last braincell stopped functioning at the eharlequin pj party.

Of all your posts, Fi, this one makes me saddest because I know it will be a long time before we get together again.