I finally got around to packing my bags, days after sending off two boxes to GayRomLit. Now I have to get through two work days without driving my coworkers crazy before I get to step on that plane and go see my tribe.
This is my second year attending GayRomLit, and what I like most about the retreat is that no matter who you are or where you live, for a short while you can relax and be totally yourself--you're among friends. All those taboo subjects you can't discuss on the job will be explored in full, and you can sit in a lobby and proudly read a book with two men kissing on the cover without having to hide behind a back issue of Good Housekeeping. More often than not, someone will stop by and say, "Oh! I loved that book!" Voila! You've made a new friend.
There's people I dearly love that I don't get to see often, and they'll be there. We'll squee, we'll grin, we'll hug, then try to squeeze the entire last year of our lives into a ten-minute conversation. Swag will flow like water, and I'll probably bring home as much if not more books and freebies as I'm taking.
Due a conversation with my daughter, and having to keep a list of stuff I need to hide when the grandkids come over, I've taken a different approach to swag this year. I've got a new logo (thanks, Jared!) and most of my swag will simply feature my name and a magnolia blossom, suitable for displaying without having to cover up when young-uns are around. Here's a list of what I'm brining:
Books, books, and more books! I'm bringing copies of Diversion, Settling the Score (complete with newly added "Lambda Finalist" stickers, The Angel of 13th Street, Fallen Angel, and The Wish.
As far as swag, I had pocket calculators made up with my new logo, business cards, ink pens with a lovely mountains scene, more post-its than I know what to do with, refrigerator magnets, and something new I'm trying this year: note cards, featuring a quote from Night Watch, with instructions on the back of how to get free copies of The Telling and Night Watch, should anyone there not already have them. Plus, I'm bringing disks of free stories and The Angel of Thirteenth Street trading cards, featuring Noah and Jeremy.
I've packed a purple shirt for Spirit Day, October 19, and my python boots for the Gentlemen's Juke Joint party. Yes, I've ridden in these boots, both horses and motorcycles, as witnessed by the "Harley Kisses" on the heels.
Come Wednesday morning I'll be boarding a plane, leaving illusion behind to be the real me for a few days. The only problem is, once I return, the real me will want to stay out forever.