I seem to be the only one not blogging madly about Gay Rom Lit last week in Atlanta. Not because I didn’t have a good time—oh I did, I did. Not because I wasn’t delighted to see everyone, because I was. Reconnecting with folks I hadn’t seen since Albuquerque, chatting with folks I usually connect with online, meeting new and wonderful people. I was up to my eyeballs in people I wanted to be with.
And that’s what’s had me thrown for the last week. Because joy in a wide social circle is something that’s trickled out of my life, so insidiously that I hadn’t even realized it was happening.
I’ve been more and more absent from social media and from my own social life, because, well, being social was exhausting me. It’s so easy to say, I’ll write that email tomorrow, I’ll pick up the phone Tuesday, without specifying which Tuesday, I’ll reach out to whoever this weekend before the kids get up. I’ll blog tomorrow. It will tweet itself, I won’t have to log on. Even the few folks I regularly connected with were seeing longer and longer gaps between hails.
My world was getting very small, and I was getting used to it. Comfortable in it. Like the frog in the pot of cold water set on the stove, I wasn’t noticing how narrow my communications were, or how even my web browsing had pulled back. It’s bad when you find Oglaf has updated four times since your last visit, worse when you realize you’ve missed a milestone in a friend’s life.
I was considering not going to Atlanta. I had this book to finish, my son couldn’t do without my help with algebra, I could (insert something moderately useful but not time critical) that week instead. I waffled over this so long that I created a swag problem. (Upside: swag is totally covered for Chicago.) (For those of you who wondered WTF I was actually giving away, have a novella: http://tinyurl.com/ks5eg5c Click and it will download a PDF. I’m leaving this up until December first, so even if you didn’t go to GRL, go ahead.) For the record, the book is finished, my son figured out his own algebra, and nothing at work imploded, much, and the pharmacists who were actually there took care of it.
So, being at GRL and hanging out with everyone, being part of a group with a common interest and a lot of joie de vivre, made me understand that I had pulled back from life to a degree that the h in RPh could stand for Hermit.
That’s not okay: it’s a big world and I am part of it. Knowing there’s a problem is half the battle: and spending time with the authors and readers in Atlanta made me understand what’s gone wrong. So, for every person who said, “It’s good to see you again,” or “I’m glad to meet you,” or whose face lit with recognition of my name, I thank you. You’ve given me back something precious.
For the folks who have stuck with me during the hermit time, I can’t thank you enough.