Party Time in the Bay Area

Well, the last time I posted about my yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Nanowrimo, I’d caught you up to Friday evening. Saturday, as it happens, was my birthday – the first time I’ve spent it away from home in quite a while.

But I had a great birthday weekend. First, breakfast up at Lori’s Diner, where I met a fellow wrimo and let the staff know that many out of town writers would be meeting there the next day. Then I packed up my laptop and took BART out to Emeryville, to join an East Bay write-in. I’d like to send a big shout-out to East Bay Co-ML honeywellย for inviting out-of-towners to her weekend write-ins, and even sending me detailed directions for how to get there on the free Emeryville shuttle when Google Maps failed me. She’s also very generous with really cool stickers.

After the write-in, I rode back into the city for the ML tea party, which was a new tradition for me, since I’ve never been a Nanowrimo ML. This was great fun, though I wasn’t a big fan of the tea or the fancy little tea party sandwiches. The shortbread and raisin scones were alright, and the company was amazing. I had a great time talking with fellow MLs and Nanowrimo staffers.

After the tea party I returned to the hotel for a quick stop, catching up with some blog business like posting a new spotlight and preparing my Six Sentence Sunday excerpt, and then it was back up Market Street to Schroeder’s for the out-of-town Meet and Greet dinner. It was raining again by this point, but that didn’t stop the high spirits once dozens and dozens of wrimos were safely in the back room and enjoying the appetizers buffet. (I made a point of ordering the viener-schnitzel instead, and it was delicious as always.)

After dinner at Schroeder’s, there was, I have to admit, a slightly disappointing moment. Sarah McBride had planned a repeat of her crowd-pleasing midnight write-in at the Grandviews Lounge on top of the Union Square Grand Hyatt, but somehow nobody there passed on the memo that the Grandviews had closed the day before. Several of us ran around the hotel, and wandered through the other restaurant and bar before deciding that they weren’t really good write-in venues.

Several people I talked to said that they were going to go to the Starbucks across the street, but I ended up going back to my hotel room, writing a few sprints, and going to bed. I regret that choice a tiny little bit, but it made sense to me at the time.

Sunday followed a very similar pattern to start. I went up to Lori’s, and joined a bunch of other wrimos in the back room who already had menus. A few minutes later, a waitress came by and said that since it was after nine, we couldn’t hold the table next to us because they had another party of six coming in. So we shuffled around, keeping a table for four and a table for two next to us. Another wrimo group came in a bit later, settling at a table the next room over, and I went over, saying hi and asking if any of them were from the group who I’d discussed sitting with at dinner that night. (Two of them were.) Later on, the tables next to us freed up and we were able to sit two late-comers. I remember sitting with them and talking about a novel idea involving ghost ships and stolen rum, and mentioning the Great Big Sea song ‘French Perfume.’

After Breakfast, it was off to the East Bay to meet Honeywell again, this time at a ShareSpace office where we were able to spread out in comfort and peace. I actually did well enough at that write-in that I had 49,986 words according to my Excel spreadsheet. Out of curiosity, I tried the Nanowrimo preliminary word count validator, and it actually gave me something over 50 thou, so I disregarded that completely. I wasn’t going to let a counting accident stop me from ringing the bell, now was I? ๐Ÿ™‚

This post is already getting pretty long, and I could probably fill up another entry with memories from the Night of Writing Dangerously 2012, so I’ll just say a few things. Yes, I rang the bell; in fact, I was the first to get there that evening! (I could have gotten to 50k before Lindsey even welcomed us and said what the bell was for, but that would have been rude.)

I had a great time with my table-mates, and three of us rang the bell and got our paper crowns. (No free winner’s t-shirts this year – cost cutting I guess. Well, I’ve got enough Nanowrimo t-shirts.) And the speeches were very moving, especially Grant’s pep talk, which was fit to go up next to any of Chris Baty’s. And Lindsey’s semi-farewell wishes, (since she’ll be leaving soon,) brought tears to a few eyes. More I’m not saying. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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