He was back . . . again—the annoying guy with the bad comb-over and pastel 3-piece suit. Who wore a suit like that to a writer’s conference? And what was he doing here anyway? Was he even a writer? According to our last conversation he was in town for a convention but stopped by the writer’s conference with some of his buddies to kill time. When did the conference coordinators start allowing that?
I pretended to read. Without so much as looking up I suggested, “If you need something you should go to the hospitality center.”
“I’ve already been there. I don’t know what to do,” he whined. He moved closer to me. “I’m getting bored.”
I turned to the lady next to me and mouthed “Will you help me out here?”
What was my problem? Why was I having such evil thoughts about this guy? A sick sense of satisfaction swept over me when my friend leapt up, got in the man’s face, and ordered him to leave me alone. I joined her in chasing him off.
Then it hit me that my nametag said “Faculty” on it. I was faculty! It was part of my job to be nice to the registrants, even if they acted creepy. How could I have been so irresponsible? What if he told the conference coordinator? Not only would I never be asked to return, but they might ask me to leave on the spot! What had a done?
I can’t remember the last time I was so relieved to wake up from a dream! Yes, the creepy comb-over guy, the childish attempts to tune him out, calling for reinforcements, jeopardizing my future as a workshop leader . . . it had all been part of a crazy dream. I’m sure a psychologist would say that it was rooted in a very real fear. And what would that fear be? For me it would be the possibility of ruining my career with one poorly thought-out choice, like being rude to the wrong person.
From Day 1 we are told that relationships are an important piece of the puzzle titled “Making it in the Writing World.” This can feel like a lot of pressure. Or it can act as a gentle reminder to be on our best behavior, not just because editors, agents, and conference leaders talk, but because we want to reflect the One we are writing for.
When have you benefitted from being kind? When have you found the “small world” quality of the Christian writing world to be a good thing? When has one choice of words made all the difference, but in a good way?
Oh, and by the way, I have never met a guy at a writer’s conference like the one I met in my dream. So far I’ve only met wonderful people!