Me at JayCon 2011I first heard a Jay Lake story on The Drabblecast. The story was Clown Eggs. Great story, as well as the rest I’ve heard. So I’m on his website a few months back, and I see he’s having JayCon at the local Flying Pie Pizzeria. I puts it in my calendar, and await the day. June 4th comes, and my wife and kids take a nice walk in the parks near home, do a spot of shopping (in which I purchased crawfish) and then later I head to JayCon. I walk in, and find the room, and walk in. I don’t know a soul, of course, or so it seemed. I stood around a bit, found the birthday man, and introduced myself, mentioned who I was, and my Twitter name, and he remembered me saying I was going to come. Then I stood around some more. I wanted to not be anti-social, so I made a bit of effort to meet some folks. One guy started talking to someone near me, so I was able to introduce myself. His name was Elf, and of course I thought he said Alf, but he spelled it, and blamed his parents and said it was the worst around Christmas. There’s always clues you are in Portland, when you are in Portland. Turns out Jay does some writing workshops, which Elf told me about. The workshops appeared to have helped him get a few stories published. Turns out that lots of the people were authors. Seems to be my kind of crowd. Then I stood around some more, and Bronwyn, his daughter, introduced herself and made me feel welcome. Pizza! I partook of much of the pizza that began appearing. Super tasty. I recognized a guy from when I was at GameStorm and introduced myself to him. Talked about gaming, at the like. Ate more pizza, while standing around. Talked to a guy with a pretty cool beard, and he commented on my kraken-eating-a-ship shirt, and I mentioned my wife got it for me, and we talked a bit about getting gifts we do or don’t want. Then I continued the trend and stood around some more. You’d think that all this standing around would be boring, but, it wasn’t. I saw Mary Robinette Kowal save a falling pizza from doom. I’ve heard a story by her on … The Drabblecast. There’s a theme here … as well as on Writing Excuses. Later, all the authors went outside and we got the photo above taken. Bronwyn took the photos while sitting atop the shoulders of a man who’s name has escaped me. After much ado and some tomfoolery, the photos were taken and Bronwyn was transfered to a signpost, which she shouted about for a time before sliding down. Inside, a bit more pizza, some cake, which, if it was a lie, I don’t want the truth, and things were wrapping up. A pot was going around getting rhythmically thumped to drum up donations to help pay for the pizza. (See what I did in there?) Also, it was announced that Jay would be sorely displeased if he saw any pizza left over, so take it home! I snagged a few slices for the family at home. On my way out, I said farewell to Jay, and he said he hoped I met some interesting people or some boring people I could be interesting to. I said I hoped to come next year, and he said if he was still around, he would too. Jay has cancer of and on, and seems it’s on right now. Later, over the next day, I was thinking about the whole thing. Here’s a guy who gets a bunch of people together, buys them pizza, and just hangs out with them and his family for his birthday. That’s pretty cool. Most people have no idea when they are going to shuffle off this mortal coil, but some people know it could be a lot closer than perhaps others. But he’s not going without a fight. The International F### Cancer Day shirts going around are one clue to that. Plus, having lots of folks over to a pizza place just to hang out, and allowing people you’ve never met (see: Me) come and join in, that’s taking advantage of the time you’ve got, if you ask me. What I can learn from this was well worth the time I spend standing around not sure what to do, and just doing my best to meet a person or two.
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