Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Noircon and the Constant Wallflower

So, I'm back from Noircon. It was full of interesting panels and great people. If you want better coverage of the event, go here or here or here, especially here or listen to this. As for my own impression, well, it's not as much a recap as an impression of myself.

I'll always be shy. That's the biggest lesson I learn from any type of conference or workshop I attend. Me, the constant wallflower. It doesn't matter that I've published stories, or earned an MFA with a thesis on anti-heroes in noir fiction, I still felt like I knew nothing; that I had nothing to share to the conversation. Sitting at a computer, I'm fine with dishing out my opinions of the genre, I'm free to write noir fiction according to my own definition of it; but face to face? No, as confident as I am by myself, in person I'm about as firm as Jell-O.

There's something about walking into a room with people you admire that erases everything that defines you. I am a blank slate, that's what I thought every morning. I am a blank slate. But everyone else in that room sure as shit was messy with knowledge - the chalk dust just hung in the air. They belonged, while I felt like a fake. A fanboy at best, a poser at worst. I was sure that at any minute someone would refer to this blog and laugh. What is this guy thinking, calling himself NOIRWRITER? What a joke. (And to tell you the truth, I'm surprise no one has called me on it.)

I was afraid that anything that came out of my mouth would just embarrass whomever heard it. Stay in the shadows, stay out of sight and no one will notice - until you break a chair, fall onto your back and end up with both legs straight up in the air while Scott Phillips talks about Georges Simenon. Wallflower, indeed.

Of course, one of the reasons why I wasn't as concentrated was the fact that my daughter was in the middle of a four-day blood sugar test while I was away from home. My mind was on her more than anything that was happening in Philadelphia. Who knows, perhaps if it weren't for my worrying, I would have been a bit more outgoing.

But I'm glad I went. I met a lot of people I've wanted to meet. Made some good connections. Got lost on the streets of Philly and missed a couple of panels in the process of finding my way back. Had some drinks with a friend from grad school. Had breakfast with some other friends and their daughter. But I'm also glad to be home.


pattinase (abbott) said...

This is a perfect description of me at Bouchercon. Thanks for articulating it.

Clair Dickson said...

Let's here it for wallflowers! =)

And think of all the people watching you can do. No one suspects the quiet ones.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Falling on your keister was a perfect ice-breaker. I hope you'll join everyone else in coming back for the next NoirCon. And I hope your daughter's test turns out all right.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Ed said...

Steve, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you. I saw you around, but never introduced myself. Hope you'll come back next year.

Josephine Damian said...

What is this guy thinking, calling himself NOIRWRITER? What a joke. (And to tell you the truth, I'm surprise no one has called me on it.)

Nah.... what they're thinking is: Why couldn't I have gotten first dibs on that name?

Maybe we'll cross paths a next year's NoirCon.

Good luck with your daughter's tesrs.

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