Bouchercon is over for another year. Like Brigadoon—only, thank goodness, a little more often—our favorite mystery conventions appear out of the mist, and for a precious few days we all get to hang out together, talking about our work and our lives, welcoming new residents, and lifting a glass to those who can no longer join us. And then we all scatter to the four winds and return to our everyday routine.
That's not entirely a bad thing. With any luck, we have returned to our keyboards and yellow legal pads with new energy, new insights, new inspiration, new tricks and techniques. If nothing else, at least if we were lucky we got some time away from the work in progress. Like any other relationship, that between an author and her draft can often benefit from time spent apart. (I bow my head in silent sympathy for those with looming deadlines who were holed up in their rooms with their manuscripts while the rest of us were carousing.)
I didn't get home till Tuesday night, and this morning I'm hanging out in the customer lounge of my Honda dealer. On my way up to New Jersey to join forces with my friend Dina for the drive to Toronto—yes, drive; plane flights tend to make me sick so I drive to Brigadoon whenever its location allows—a stray rock seems to have hit the undercarriage of my car, so that I arrived with a plastic doohickey dragging on the road (see photo above). Fortunately the doohickey turns out to have been a shield intended to protect a much more vital part of the car's anatomy, so it died doing its job. Also fortunately, I could duct tape the doohickey in place, drive the car home, and have the work done here, which meant I got to sleep in my own bed last night for the first time in over a week and attend a meeting of my awesome writers' group. (With many thanks to the good folks at Mahwah Honda, who would definitely get my business if I lived up their way. Still wondering what they thought of the duct tape with cats printed on it.)
Right now my suitcase and most of the other stuff I took on the trip are spread all over the floor of my living room. My to do list for the day includes cleaning out the car. Unpacking. Putting everything away except for the stuff that needs washing before I put it away. Getting to a followup appointment with my allergist. Cleaning out the fridge and refilling it with stuff whose “best used by” dates are in the future instead of the rear view mirror. Visiting Mom at the assisted living. Catching up on some MWA and SinC work. Return an overdue library book. And--
You get the idea. I always overwork myself before a trip, trying to leave my life in good shape, so that when I return there's no need for any frantic catching up and apologizing for things. Didn't work this time. Can't remember when it did work. One of these days I may actually pull it off. Not this time though. So for the next few days I will be running around frantically, getting useful and practical things done.
Unless, of course, I decide to throw usefulness and practicality to the winds and dive back into my manuscript. Use all the energy and inspiration and new ideas while they're fresh. Not the adult thing to do. But definitely the writerly decision.
So . . . adulting or writing? Which will win out?
I'll let you know when I find out.
Meanwhile, here's a shoutout to Bouchercon 2017--many thanks to Janet Costello and Helen Nelson and their hard-working committee. I already miss Toronto!