Monday, March 2, 2009

Conference Survival

I grew up hugging the walls, fading into the woodwork, blending with any flowers I could find. As a teenager, I tentatively began trying out my voice. As a young mother, I found that I had a lot of things to say, but didn't often say them. As an adult, I began to deal with the issues that nailed me to the walls and found that freedom of speech is a marvelous thing!

That said, put me in a room with 200 mostly strangers from morning to night for a weekend and I'm still an introvert at heart. I'm pretty good at spotting others in my species and often will strike up a conversation with them.

The problem is that the weekend is an important time for meeting people, making friends, finding comrades for a journey into story that is often solitary. So halfway through Saturday when I'm too tired to press beyond the default button and I'm generally asking myself--Why did I decide to do this?--I have to remember who I am. I have to give myself permission to steal away for a quiet moment to regroup. I have to remember that it's not how many people I meet, it's recognizing where the genuine connections occur in those random interactions. And then when I get home, making time to weave that tenuous thread of acquaintance into a stronger cord of friendship.


  1. Even though I am an extrovert, I find conferences exhausting. I have learned to sneak away for a few minutes here and there -- to recharge. It makes for a better overall experience. It was nice to see you there -- though it always seemed to be coming and going down that long hallway.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, I think I spent a lot of time in that hallway! I hope to sort through my notes in the next day or so and find the gems that I gathered. I love reading your blog posts, btw. The journalist shines through!

  3. I am SO one of your species. And I recall how you struck up a conversation with me at the conference last June. So glad to know you, Doraine!

  4. And what a wonderful conversation it was! I remember. Thanks for your friendship.