A Lovely Day in Richmond
Months and months and months ago, I received a lovely invitation from the Virginia Romance Writers chapter of RWA, asking me to speak at their monthly meeting. I made sure I had no conflicts, entered the date on my calendar, prepared some handouts specifically for the meeting… and promptly forgot all about it.
Which was fine. Because my calendar worked exactly as it was supposed to, and I saw the meeting a couple of weeks before the actual date, and I followed up with my VRW contact who of course had arranged for a hotel room and who of course had a specific address for where they were meeting and who of course made me feel completely and totally welcome.
And so, last Friday afternoon, I got my hair cut for the first time in six months (SIX! MONTHS!) I threw my overnight bag in the car, and I hopped down I-95 to Richmond.
Okay. I didn’t hop. I staggered. Slowly. Because of massive traffic jams. Included three accidents in the express toll lanes.
(Adding insult to injury, I still don’t know how much I paid for the privilege of creeping along, mile after mile, while the traffic flowed better in the normal, non-toll lanes, but there was no way for me to exit the toll lanes. Sigh. And grr. The transactions should come through on my transponder account… some time.)
In any case, I arrived in Richmond around 5:30, without any real problems. I checked into the hotel without any incident more alarming than my not knowing my own name. (“Checking in under Klasky. Oh, you don’t have that? Try [Married Name]. Oh, not that? How about [Name of VRW Member who set up reservation. Perfect!”)
My trusty iPhone told me that a Chinese restaurant was five minutes from the hotel, and Hunan Chicken sounded divine. I zipped around the corner to the Cheng Du Chinese Restaurant, spent a few minutes finding a parking space, and entered a restaurant to find myself the only Anglo person in the place. Every table but three was filled with boisterous Asian families — I later learned that a dental school nearby was celebrating graduation last weekend, and these were the relatives of some newly minted dentists.
After a satisfying cup of hot and sour soup and a gigantic plate of Hunan Chicken, I headed back to my hotel room. Despite the siren call of M&Ms down in the lobby (No, I won’t pay $4 for a standard-size bag of candy I don’t need, thank you very much!), I settled in to catch up on some writing that just had not gotten done during the week.
3000 words later, I climbed into bed and slept very soundly.
Saturday morning, I woke up in time to enjoy the hotel’s free breakfast buffet. I followed easy directions to the Glen Allen Library, and I met a couple of dozen Virginia Romance Writers members.
VRW is all the best that RWA has to offer. Members were energetic and enthusiastic. New members were greeted kindly. Career milestones were marked (with applause and chocolate). Life challenges were acknowledged, and hurting members were comforted.
After a quick business meeting, I spoke about The Rational Writer, focusing on strategic plans, tactical plans, time management, and metadata management. Members had great questions, and I once again contemplated the incomprehensible — how pantser writers ever manage to complete a book ::grin::
We broke for lunch, where conversation ranged from breeding dogs to past careers to racing motorcycles to any number of other things. While the VRW folks returned for an afternoon session, I hit the road.
My drive home started in a hot, sunny parking lot, with a brisk wind blowing and fluffy white clouds scudding across a brilliant blue sky. It ended in a vicious downpour, with my windshield wipers on high as I negotiated the fan-tail spray of trucks in front of me.
But all in all, I had a wonderful time. The Virginia Romance Writers were wonderful hosts. I’d be honored to join them any time in the future!