by Susan Sey
Greetings from New York City, where the Romance Writers of America is kicking off its national conference today! If you're here, wheeee! If you're at home, booooo. We miss you.
This is the time of year when we all frantically try to match up the faces we see in the halls to the author photos we see on the internet & in the back of books. It's no easy task. We lose weight, we gain weight. We cut our hair, we color our hair. We put on make up, we take make up off.
And my personal favorite--we change our clothes.
I spent most of last year's conference trying to keep up with all the people who introduced themselves to me at the Literacy Signing that first night. Now I'm terrible with names & faces but I tried so hard. I really looked at people, I repeated their names the way you're supposed to. I shook hands, I hugged, I really thought I had it.
Then they all went and changed their shirts the next day & I was lost. Utterly lost.
This creates something of a social landmine. You don't want to sit down at lunch & cheerfully introduce yourself to your neighbor, only to have her remind you that you hugged her less than twenty-four hours ago. Right after she bought four copies of your book.
Equally unsettling is introducing yourself to your neighbor at lunch & having her blink in dismay & say, "Oh, wow, you don't look like your author photo at ALL."
So here are two things I want to say as the conference kicks off:
1) I am not as cute as my author photo. Yes, my hair's short again & I got a pedicure for the occasion, but I will not be wearing make up. Not during the day anyway. It bugs my eyes. Feel free to express dismay at my appearance if you meet me. I'll laugh, then we can go get a Diet Coke & talk about how our high heels are killing us.
2) I will probably forget your name. I'm so sorry. This is a horrible social failing but I get nervous around new people and when I'm nervous I fail to remember important things. Like their names. But remind me. I will hug you most sincerely (I'm a very sincere hugger) and then we can go get a drink because if I forgot your name I'll be horrified & I'll need a drink. Then you can tell me something embarrassing you just did, or hit me with your pitch, & I'll tell you about the ridiculous thing I just did & I'll remember you because we drank & talked & shared our humiliations.
So, hey, make me feel better, huh? Share a social gaffe--a case of mistaken identity, a failure to remember a time/date/person, etc. Because I'm bound to be hip deep in humiliation at this point & I could use a good laugh.
p.s. I'm racing around the conference like a crazy girl, so I'll be scarce on the comments today but I promise I'll savor every word when I have two minutes to myself & reliable internet access!