I attended the Long Island Romance Writer's Luncheon on Friday, June 13. The date should have tipped me off, though I do not have triskadecaphobia. Since I am a member of the LIRW, I volunteered to pick up agents and editors at the Long Island Rail Road station in my minivan.
Confession time. I used to travel up and down Route 106/ 107 past the Hicksville station quite a bit in my younger days-- oh, about 20 years ago. However, things change. Roads get busier. And when the police and 20 buses are parked in front of said station, it make it hard to drive into a place. So, I took a tour of Hicksville and tried to find a legal way in to the parking lot. I was thinking of riding over the curb at one point, but opted not to do so. It would have wrecked the paint job of my undercarriage-- and lord knows I need a nice undercarriage at my age.
Arriving in the parking lot, and saw my fellow LIRW members standing around their cars (Why else would a bunch of romance writers be standing in a station parking lot, if not to pick up agents and editors from the train?) The train arrived late-- this is after all the LIRR-- and we started off to the Milleridge Inn. (Have I mentioned the luncheon was being held in the Carriage House-- the same place my husband and I had our wedding reception? )
Have I mantioned the traffic?
So, I have Janet Reid and Joanna Stampfel from Fineprint Literary Agency in my car. We are chattering and laughing. Suddenly, the light changes and Janet makes a strange strangling noise-- the kind of noise that a person makes when she sees her life flash before her eyes.
The light changes to red, and we stop dead in the midst of oncoming traffic.
Oh good. I have almost killed two literary agents. Nice job!
Luckily, the average driver in Long Island has a pretty good handle on dealing with stupidity and they gave us a wide berth, opting neither for vehicular homicide nor vehicular damage.
We got passed the intersection with no bloodshed and almost got to the Milleridge Inn-- except I almost killed them again, when the lane turned in to an exit ramp. Now, I am batting a thousand and know my manuscript will never grace the desks at Fineprint in my lifetime, or any other. Sigh. Just get out of the car and get inside the restaurant, I thought.
We laughed about the experience and chatted about the historical clothing I make. Whew! Maybe Janet and Joanna will forget about my driving ability.
The luncheon was a great experience-- the food was good and the company excellent. For some reason Joanna sat next to me-- probably she figured she was safe because we were not in a car.
So during the remarks from the agents and editors, Janet "outed" me and my driving skill. Luckily she was laughing. She also asked to see my manuscript, as did Joanna.
Now my LIRW luncheon experience all this was a real lesson for me-- especially when both Janet and Joanna were willing to offer me advice, even after I almost killed them twice.
I now have an active blog with pictures of historical costumes I have made. (Thanks, Janet!) Who knew this legitimized me as a writer? I found out my interest in the Sixteenth Century and all the research I have done on the Medici family go hand-in- hand with my costuming skills. (But then again, how many writers can say they have Renaissance clothing in their closets?)
All this works together to make me a better writer. Just like building a garment, writing needs structure, support and "underpinnings" to make the story come together. Doing the costuming makes me understand the everyday experiences of a person in the period-- how the clothes felt, how people walked, moved and even ate (or didn't, as the case may be).
So the LIRW luncheon was an experience I will remember for a long time. I even won a doorprize and I rarely win anything.
Driving Janet and Joanna was one of the luckiest things I have ever done. And I am sure they will remember our Death Race 5000 experience for quite a while! Thanks, Ladies.