Death by Hot Brown (or, What I did in Louisville Last Weekend)

I have returned from the Imaginarium convention and thought I would share a few things about the experience.

This was Imaginarium’s third year of operation and, was my second. It was well attended, and I didn’t overhear anyone complaining about the programming or even the vendor hall (a common source of ire among con-goers). Well, that’s my experience, anyway. As always, your mileage may vary. I bought a few books, ate some good food (go to Louisville, try a Hot Brown), and enjoyed several panels and a couple of workshops (thank you Michael Knost!).

I attended Imaginarium 2015 and returned motivated – ready to hunker down and get to the work of writing. What I soon learned was that my motivation was actually a bit weak (unlike my Kung Fu), and that it was all too easy to fall back into my old routine (which is a very simple algorithm, really):

  1. Think about writing
  2. IF IDEA=Yes, THEN GOTO 3, ELSE GOTO 1
  3. Sit down to write
  4. Surf the Internet
  5. Don’t write
  6. Jump headlong into pool of self-hatred and depression
  7. GOTO 1

My second foray into Imaginarium provided a little more than motivation. There was something different. There was a smell in the air (or maybe just in my head, but go with me here) – a hint of ozone. A spark had been thrown.

So what was different? Well, you tell me. Here’s a brief list of what was different:

  • Upgraded my room this year so I wasn’t stuck in a single queen tomb with free HBO – I went full on crypt with a sofa and mini-fridge
  • Approached people I didn’t know and I engaged them in conversation (far outside my normal comfort zone)
  • Sat in on a live recording of a podcast*
  • Got to know someone from my hometown writing group a little better over dinner. I dropped in on a room party (which was visited by hotel security due to noise complaints)
  • Watched the daughter of a friend receive a prize for her outstanding efforts in a costume contest (steampunk, female Geppetto with an equally steampunk marionette puppet)
  • Connected with an author whom I deeply respect and admire

It could have been any of these, or none of these. Hell, it could have been the epic splat of bird shit on my windshield that struck  not thirty seconds after pulling away from the gas station near the hotel. Although, I doubt it was that. Because, bird shit.

The point is that there was a difference. There was an ember that drifted on the wind. It landed near me, and has done at least two things so far:

  1. Lit the path before me (not the whole path, mind you, just the first few hundred feet or so – enough to keep me going and enough to keep me intrigued about what might lurk in the shadows beyond)
  2. Lit a fire under my ass to follow the advice I so readily hand out and actually allow myself to create without fear

So, thanks to the folks that helped make Imaginarium 2016 enjoyable and a special thanks the panelists and workshop leaders who were all more than happy to share their knowledge. I’ll gladly attend next year’s con.

* Also, if you dig podcasts about the craft of writing, I highly recommend that you subscribe to the Hypergraphia podcast, hosted by Jack Wallen and Jessica McHugh.

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