Life: It’s all about the afterparty.
This year’s Winter X-Games have come and gone. H and I were treated to the Aspen Effect* and invited to attend a private party halfway up the mountain, directly adjacent to the slope style course.

The party was held at a $22 million dollar spec home that was still under construction. The hosts offered food, drinks and live music, and were genuinely gracious folks. H and I hung out with the kids, made fun of the people in pink furs, and took off by 5.

Contrast to 3 years ago, when I was washing dishes for the same event. On breaks away from the power washer I’d climb atop the refrigerated semi and watch the slope style course from down below. Once the place shut down, our boss took us out to drinks in Aspen. We crawled the mall with visiting Argentines and some folks from Venezuela, and by the end of the night/morning, we exercised the judicious revocation of driving privileges for all involved.

Same event, two parties. Having seen both sides now, I can honestly say that Street trumps Sheik. It’s shared misery that makes celebration notable – the sense that, as a gang, we pulled off something incredible, so bartender, bring another round.

I’m reminded of the Ren Fest afterparties. The patrons leave, the sun goes down, and suddenly that friendly Medieval-esque village takes on a decidedly adult tone. Leather jackets come out, bodices are loosed, the jokes get bawdier (as if that were possible) and for a few short hours, the elevation of hell is raised up a few feet.

For better or worse, my days as a dishwasher are largely behind me now. I can’t lay claim to that fine and pleasant misery, nor the collective triumph that follows. And as writers, we largely work alone, and without clear demarcations of success. (By the time any printed word hits the bookstores you’ve already long since fallen out of love with the work.)

There must be some way of seeking out and celebrating shared experiences as writers, but I’m not sure what it is yet. Cons, to a small degree fulfill this purpose, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) forget that you’re constantly in the company of hard working customers, and hard-eyed employers. I’m sure something will come to me before August.

Or maybe I just need to get a job washing dishes again.


*Aspen Effect: The phenomena of dirt poor folks enjoying the privilege of the wealthy, thanks to geographic proximity.


At 2:08 PM, Blogger Jeff LaSala said...

Well said, H. You've got to wonder how a large group of people—whose vocation necessarily involves shutting themselves away from everyone else, making most of them insular people—can actually celebrate what they do in concert?

Cons are definitely only halfway. Closes you get would be some sort of bizarre writing seminar, but that doesn't sound terrible celebratory, does it?

At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Dieter said...

Yeah, love those ren faire after hours parties. If by some chance you were to make it out to the Kentucky ren faire this summer, I'd make sure you got to stay on the grounds for the after hours party. :)

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...


Heh. Might have to find reason to swing through Kentucky this year. :)


At 10:56 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...

Closer would be some sort of bizarre writing seminar, but that doesn't sound terrible celebratory, does it?

Actually, you might have something there.

Now we just all need to get so successful that traveling to the heart of America is inexpensive...


At 1:31 AM, OpenID cassandra-e said...

Piggyback on some existing convention such as GenCon and have "Writer's Day" like they now have "Trade Day" for the retailers, except off the schedule. Have a "State of the Industry seminar" where attendees will share their impressions on the state of the industry in a small group format. (I.e. sit around and talk!) Then have a 'cocktail party,' like the Trade Day folks do. (I.e. go out and socialize.) Publicize the events through writers' lists rather than the official con system so that there is a better chance that people who come will be writers or at least come with a writer friend. It just needs someone to set it up so there's something for word of mouth to publicize. You can do that, right? :)

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Lara said...

Um.... I think you just volunteered, Cassandra-e... ;-)

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Mike said...

The closest I've come to this, I think, was the "Writing Adventures That Don't Suck" seminar at GenCon.

Being able to share the experience of writing adventures with a bunch of like-minded authors ... well, I felt like I'd finally found my tribe.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Grimbones said...

*laugh* Lara's right. We reward competence w/ additional work around here.

All right. What do you guys think about Sat night, early-ish (think 8 PM on) for an informal meeting of writers? We could celebrate the surviving Gen Con, and follow it up w/ an optional trek out to the WW party...


At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All right. What do you guys think about Sat night, early-ish (think 8 PM on) for an informal meeting of writers?"

Oh no, I've read this story before, and it ends with you charging out the door, leaving a vapor trail down the streets of Indy. ;) Lara, bring a leash this year.



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