evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party!

Last night I attended the two-part Ceremonial Opening Events in Portland for NaNoWriMo (the writing "contest" where participants write a 50,000-word novel during November. I did it last year; check it out.) Part #1 was at Powell's on Hawthorne with presentations and discussions with Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month, and Lani Diane Rich, an author whose NaNo effort "Time Off For Good Behavior" was recently published by Warner Books. It looked liked Powell's expected several dozen people, and got almost a hundred. N (the NaNo Municipal Liaison), handed out crepe-paper for sashes, and I was impressed by how many yellow "veteran" ones there were. Portland is a writing town!

Once the discussion was over, the party moved across the street to the Bagdad for Part #2. Unfortunately, the staff there apparently hadn't been TOLD that we were going to be descending upon them. N managed to smooth things over, and we settled in to meet, greet, and eat cake. The obligatory ice-breaker was a bio scavenger hunt (as in 'biography,' not 'biology'), where we tried to find the person associated with items culled from self-introductions on the NaNo website forums. I was pleased that the clue for me was writing a weekly humorous advice column (www.AskDrEldritch.com), as it gave me a good excuse to hand out cards with the website on them.

I must say, I was quite impressed with Chris Baty and Lani Diane Rich (hereafter CB and LDR, in keeping with the style of this journal). They really seemed like normal people and not celebrities (they didn't charge for autographs, would let people take pictures of them, and I didn't see any bodyguards). CB stole my seat when I got up to take photos, but that gave me the chance to hang around and chat. I gave him one of my Dr. Eldritch cards, too. I mentioned that I had written last year in Anchorage, and he said that LDR had lived there. So I went to talk with her, and we had indeed both lived in Anchorage that year.

Which brings up the "Small World" synchronicity of the evening: LDR had been the theater critic for "The Press," Anchorage's Weekly Newspaper equivalent of the "Willamette Week." I had been trying to remember the name of a play I saw at the University, and when I got home, I looked it up on my Alaska Journal. It turns out that I quoted her review of it! I wouldn't have guessed at the time that almost two years later I would be sitting across a table from her in Portland, but it has come to pass. Small World (Everybody sing! You know the words)!

For a confirmed introvert, I had a great time! Everyone there was excited about getting under way, and it was fun to put faces to names/ID's that I've been seeing on forum posts. In a few weeks, I may be wondering what the Oxford I'm doing, but at least I know a bunch of people who can sympathize...

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