Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RWA Conference 2009: Wednesday

Okay, two things before I start.

1: I've joined Twitter. Don't laugh, we all knew it was inevitable. Maybe it'll go the way of MySpace (too annoying to keep up with) or maybe it'll settle into Facebookness. Too early to tell. Anyway, if you Tweet, come join my self-absorption. We can be Abzorbaloffs together.

2: I've re-opened Kett's book. It's already trying to kill me.

Anyway. Wednesday was the first official conference day for me and plenty of others at RWA. After sitting out in the Virginia sunshine to eat breakfast at Jen's house (horribly early, but that's jetlag for you) we set off with Stacia to the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The check-in line was already terribly long, and as our room wasn't nearly ready yet, we left our bags there--after depositing some goodies in the goody room--and went off to do some sightseeing.

The DC Metro system is a baby compared to the London Underground, but the fare system doesn't seem to be any simpler. What weirded me out was not that the platforms were unbearably hot (while the trains were air conditioned) but that they were so dark. Atmospheric, maybe, but I couldn't shake off the feeling that someone was going to steal my bag and I wouldn't even see him coming.

Plus, I felt like I'd forgotten to take my shades off.

Anyway, we stepped out into the bright sunshine of the Mall, from where I could see the Capitol in one direction and the Washington Monument at the other. DC, like London, has a lot of very big and historic things all very close together, and it's a bit like walking from the Cenotaph to Buckingham Palace and trying to remember everything you saw in between.

US Capitol Building

Washington Monument

I discovered, courtesy of my roommates-slash-tour guides, that the Washington Monument is the tallest structure in DC, and that no buildings are permitted to be built any taller. This gives DC a low-rise feeling, especially compared to other US cities, which is actually quite nice. Certainly the four and five storey townhouses in the Downtown area near our hotel were very charming.

I also learned that an American Robin isn't the same as a European Robin. This came about after my roommate pointed out a red-breasted bird and said, "Look, a robin." "That's not a robin," said I, "robins are smaller and rounder." "It is," she said. "It isn't," I said. "Is this going to be like the Daddy Long-Legs thing?" Turns out it was, and when I got home I looked them up. And giggled over the fact that the American Robin's latin name begins with 'Turdus'.

Anyway. We went on to the American History Museum, because Jen told me they had a collection of First Lady's gowns, and I'm a sucker for a pretty dress. Especially one a couple of hundred years old. Unfortunately, due to the thick glass protecting the costumes, several of my photos didn't come out well, but I did get some.

Martha Washington's gown, 1780s

Jacqueline Kennedy's gown, 1961 (left)

We also spied Dorothy's ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz in the popular culture exhibit, and these fantastical shoes worn by Celia Cruz. Respec', Celia.

After this we went back to the hotel to check in. I needed to make myself look more respectable for the Literacy Signing, which was actually my first ever signing. Ever ever. Scared? Yes. But I took my sparkly pen and box of Mars Celebrations down to the ma-hoo-sive function room where I and about five hundred other authors would be signing books whose profits go to benefit Readers for Life. Yes, Sophie and I were helping other people learn to read. Gives you a nice warm glow, doesn't it?

On the way I met up with Fiona Harper from the RNA, who was signing one of her Harlequin titles. Finding my desk, I sat down to discover a Girl from Mars postcard and glow-in-the-dark bracelet waiting for me. I turned the postcard over to find someone had written, "Got Shoes?" on the back. It could only be Julie Cohen, who'd left a similar postcard for Fiona.

Me and Julie, who stayed cheerful despite her books' failure to arrive!

By a weird twist of alphabetical positioning, Fiona and I found ourselves sitting directly opposite each other, and throughout the signing kept waving, taking pictures of each other and holding up fingers counting how many books we'd signed. I think her count was four, and mine six, thanks to my lovely roomies who kept bringing other people along with them.

Fiona Harper

Some chick with a sparkly pen

After the signing, exhausted, I met up with my roommates, Stacia and Jen, and their friend Elizabeth, at the hotel's "English Pub". This is always an amusing experience, and the best way to describe it is going into a pub designed by someone who'd read about such places, but never been to one. Anyway, their fish and chips needed vinegar.

ETA: Yes, Julie, I did have shoes. These shoes, in point of fact. Shiny!

1 comment:

  1. I'm procrastinating and can't focus this afternoon. Boo. Great recap on RWA Wed for us! Hehe, I knew you'd get the shoe pictures in there somewhere. :D

    And sounds like Kett's fighting with you, or the computer is, and Kett is just following suit today.

    I'm still arguing with the last few sections of Muse. Pfft.