It's that time of year again.
With Saints and Sinners two months away, the emails are trickling in. Writers I haven't talked to since last year are asking if I have a room. (Yes). A roommate (D.L. King puts up with me every year. maybe because we're shower compatible. I shower at night, she does in the morning.) Dinner plans... well, Jeff Mann asked first, so I expect a lovely meal with him and John, but D.L. and I are free other nights. We have our drinking tour down cold by now - bloody marys at French Market, pomegranate martinis for D.L. and scotch for me at the carousel bar at the Monteleone. Feel free to tag along if you're there. We also have our musts for meals - Deanie's on Iberville for anything on the menu, Gumbo Kitchen for gumbo, chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House (D.L. says I make my O face when I eat them) and of course lunch at Clover Grill because while I don't live in New Orleans, every time I eat there I know at least half the customers.
That's my favorite part of Saints and Sinners. Every time I turn a corner in the French Quarter I see someone I know. It feels very old home week. Besides, where else am I going to get this much writer's gossip? Sure, writers are a bunch of depressive introverts, but give us three days in close quarters and we're regular social butterflies. Some of us even make eye contact. Then we take a year to recover from the effort.
If you're waffling on attending, the master classes every year are amazing and so are the panels. I'm always so energized, brimming with ideas, and ready to write after the weekend. Some writers I idolized have become good friends after we met at S&S. There's the whole networking thing (but crank it down a couple notches. I really hate it when someone shoves a partial in my hands, and I'm not even a publisher! So please... just socialize. You can do the business thing after you get home.)
Which leads us to the most amazing part of S&S - the wonderful feeling of being among your own kind. Who you are is a given, not something you have to explain. Or apologize for. You don't know relief until you experience it.