Sunday, October 17, 2010

On the road again: Bouchercon, San Francisco, day 5

Last night's dinner was a very late (10:00 p.m.) seating, the only time we could get, at the much-praised Spruce. The dining room has a great big-city vibe: dark, elegant, loud but not so loud that you can't talk at your table, and lots of energy. The food was definitely good, but also definitely not great; I'd return to Zare before going back to it. Still, if you want a restaurant with an upscale feel and good food, Spruce could fit the bill.

This morning brought the Anthony Awards brunch. The food was plentiful and exactly what you'd expect from a nice Hyatt, and the awards ceremony was quick and to the point but still entertaining. The mystery field feels, at least to me, so much more like a family than SF that I am amazed at how a bigger-selling genre manages to achieve so much camaraderie.

In the afternoon, the hotel wiped away all traces of Bouchercon and replaced it with the next convention; I didn't even check to see the name. I always find these transformations both amazingly fast and rather sad, whole social universes being destroyed in mere hours.

Indeed, the entire convention phenomenon, in both SF and mystery, is a rather amazing tornado of intensity and emotion, as friends and colleagues descend on a location, swirl around one another, hug and fight and build and damage relationships at lightning speeds, and then vanish as if never there. Inevitably, of course, I end up feeling both an outsider and a failure as a writer, but I keep coming back both for the friends and for the equally inevitable reaction I have a few days later: that I can do better, be better, and someday deserve to belong. That, of course, is nonsense thinking, because to belong one must only decide one belongs, but it is the way my brain works.

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