International Bon Vivant and Raconteur (nick_kaufmann) wrote,
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

"Shut Up, Box!": A NECon 30 Retrospective

I really don't have the words to explain how great NECon was this year. Even if it hadn't been the 30th anniversary of the venerable "writers summer camp," it was a NECon to remember. It was a joy bringing Alexa with me, though those narrow dorm beds really aren't built for two, and everyone loved her the moment they met her.

There are too many people to name who made this such a wonderful weekend, but a special shout out is in order to Mary SanGiovanni, who schlepped Alexa and me there and back again in the SanGiovannimobile. I'm a big fan of GPS systems, but only when they work properly, and Mary's Garmin was frequently confused. It kept thinking we were on a completely different road than we were, which is...unexpected when you're on a major highway like the 95. Every time it would unnecessarily announce it was "recalculating," we'd shout, "Shut up, box!" Hence the title of this entry. It also makes a very good insult should you ever need one.

It was lovely to be back on the Roger Williams University campus this year, though I have to say the dorms were in crappier shape than ever, with their malfunctioning doors and prison bathrooms. Our room had a smushed mayfly stuck to the wall. And yet, I love being on campus. It's all part of NECon's casual charm. (We had good suitemates too, in the form of Alyson Benoit and Barry Dejasu--thanks for not making fun of my pajamas, you two!) Alexa and I even took a stroll down to the water Saturday afternoon, my first time doing that. It was lovely.

My Saturday morning panel, "Do They Call It a Short Story Because the Pay's So Bad?", went very well, though it was more sparsely attended than usual. No one threw Superballs at me--though I'd brought my umbrella as a shield, just in case--and Hal Bodner, not known for being a quiet man, graciously allowed the other panelists to talk as well. I was surprised by how few questions there were from the audience, though. I thought for sure there would be people just starting out who wanted to know the nuts and bolts about writing and selling short stories, but no. Most of the questions came from Rick Hautala, who has only been professionally publishing short stories since like 1981. Thanks for helping us out, Rick!

This was also the first time I've done the NECon Olympics mini-golf on Friday morning, and it was a blast. Big ups to Richard and Melinda Dansky for the car ride and for being awesome mini-golf teammates. None of us won a medal, but Alexa totally kicked my ass. Actually, they all did. I suck at mini-golf, apparently.

It was great having Brett and Sandra of ChiZine Publications there too. They had a table in the dealer's room, and Chasing the Dragon sold like hotcakes. They were very nearly sold out by Friday night! They sold a few of copies of General Slocum's Gold for me too, which was really nice of them.

The authors' signing event on Friday night was a blast. I got to sign a copy of Hunt at World's End for Craig Shaw Gardner. One very nice fellow brought copies of Bell, Book & Beyond and Poddities for me to sign, which was a wild blast from the past!

Other highlights of the weekend included the usual Thursday night dinner at Jacky's Galaxie restaurant with friends; Saturday dinner at the harbor, which should definitely become a tradition; hanging out with Brian Keene and Joe Hill Saturday night while we all avoided the "talent" show; and laughing until it hurt as Jack Haringa and I proudly ushered in the return of Tardcore. Don't ask. And maybe proudly isn't the right word.

Good times, good people. I miss everyone already. Can't wait for next year, Campers!

(All photos courtesy of Alexa.)
Tags: conventions
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