Gracious me – I feel the need to blog about RT a bit because I must say I get so VERY TIRED of hearing people proclaim they’d never go because they’re just too classy or whatever. Like they are speshul snowflakes and everyone who does go is turning tricks in the stairwells or something.
Here’s my thing: I go to RT and I enjoy myself. Do I like everything I see? No. As a matter of fact I do not like it when people take something as horrifying as 9/11 and demean it. I don’t like to see drunk people falling over themselves in the bar either. But frankly – I’ve seen drunk people in bars at many conventions and I’m quite sure stupid stuff happens at dental hygenist conventions too.
I go to RT and I meet up with my writerly friends I see only once a year. We sit in the bar and laugh (and eat pizza and drink lots of water too), we dance at the parties (and this year I only dressed up for one, but you know what I am sick of authors sneering about people who like to dress up. I am sick of hearing “horny housewife” comments. I am sick to fucking death of this “I am too good and/or too special to go to RT” attitude.
Lots of people bitch about RT but you know? They have been really good to me. I’m not just talking about reviews but they’ve been supportive – they’ve put little bits in the magazine about my upcoming books. All my dealings with Giselle for ads have been fabulous and Jo Carol and other conference staff have been good too. Are there mistakes? Yep. Vegas wasn’t at the signing. It sucked. But – THAT IS LIFE. I’ve done enough signings to have experienced books not showing up, books I didn’t order showing up and none I did order showing. That’s how it works. Now, it may not work that way when you’re a big time author but down here many rungs on the ladder, that’s been my experience. I would have preferred Vegas been there, I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world.
And in truth – You know what? RT isn’t for everyone. There’s not a darned thing wrong with not wanting to go to RT. It’s not RWA National or BEA or NINC or any other writer’s conference. They’re different conferences and you’ll get different things from them. I don’t think National is boring or more classy – I think National is different.
At the book signing on Saturday I met dozens of readers and book sellers and over the course of the conference I met hundreds as well as loads of authors and editors too. I LIKE that. As a conference, RT is like a working vacation for me. I do network. I do meet people and work – yes. But I also dance and I might have a few drinks (although this year the hotel was toxic and I didn’t really drink much). Our reader party was a total blast! We met lots of folks and we’ll be doing another next year too.
I laugh with the cover models (who were TOTAL gentlemen – Fred, Christopher Howell, Chris Winters, Traaavis was there to say hello, Luke – all very nice men who never did one untoward thing in my sight at all). One of the Chippendale dancers sat with us for a while on Wednesday night – Kimo – and he was very nice, answered all sorts of questions from the assembled authors at the table with humor. When I see people talking shite about these men I just want to remind folks that these guys are people. Yes, judged on their looks but when I see people who never met say Christopher Howell, talking negatively about him I want to say, “Hey, you know what? He’s a total sweetie pie, he’s got manners and a sense of humor and he’s pretty to look at. And he has feelings so you know, it’s easy to dehumanize people you see on a screen and all, but they’re real.”
I didn’t see them all. I am sure some of them were idiots – that’s a given that in any group there will be assholes. I do know of one incident where some of them jumped over a low banc of seats and if they’d fallen they could have injured a friend of mine with more than a few pins in her body holding her together. I did see some not so very lovely behavior in the bar toward the end of the con (and by the Saturday night all I want is some popcorn, some dancing and a last night of laughing with my friends – I had that and pretzels too, mmmm – and went to bed by midnight. And yes, the situation with the contestant who had to be arrested and taken to the hospital (and was let back into the conference the next day and wasn’t made to leave) was concerning to me.
I’ll never stay at the Pittsburgh Hilton again. The staff were awesome but the building was not prepared to house us all appropriately and I’m still coughing. Also, 17 dollars for a breakfast buffet? Come on! Good god, for a hotel with so many missing ceiling tiles and dust in the air, we sure did get charged a premium for everything. But again, the staff were totally awesome! From the front desk to the servers and the bartender in the lobby bar – folks were very helpful and I do appreciate that.
RT is NOT a bunch of drunken authors writhing over cover models. Does that happen? Yes. Is it even a sizable minority? No. In my personal experience, RT is fun. A bunch of women (and some men) get together away from home and they talk about books and writing and life for a week and they all schlep back to laundry and making school lunches.
Apparently there were a thousand people at RT this year. A lot of folks. And 900 of us behaved ourselves quite nicely I am sure. I can’t promise I didn’t annoy people with my calls to “bring me my hookah!” but whatever, if that’s the wildest I ever get, well that’s just fine. Most of us realize we’re in public. Most of us have a nice time without cheating on our spouses or groping anyone or even taking pictures of our naughty bits on other peoples’ cameras. It’s pretty unfair to take the behavior of those few who don’t know how to control themselves and paint an entire conference that way.
RT isn’t mandatory. It does tend to be a very high energy, fast paced experience and I am always feckign exhausted by Sunday and so ready to go home. But you know what? I love RT and I’ll be back. I always meet someone new who makes my life better (last year I met Sasha White and Kimberly Kaye Terry and Vivi Anna and I love them all to bits). It’s not for everyone and you know, that’s totally fine.
I’ll see many of you in Orlando next year!