Back in December 2014 I wrote a blog for Manifold Press titled The Garret Syndrome.
Since then I've been to several conventions, as well as less formal gatherings, all geared towards the readers and writers of GLBTQ fiction. Last Saturday was the latest excursion, and it underscored once more how necessary these communal meetings of like-minded people are.
The venue was the Snug in The Town Mills, an old pub on Andover's River Anton, complete with its still-turning waterwheel, and I have to thank Charley Cochrane for discovering that gem of a place.
A dozen or so readers and writers met there for no other reason than to socialise. We are a mixed bunch to say the least. We cover the gamut of the Kinsey Scale, our ages range from - well, let's just say we cover three generations. Most of us had met before, and it was great to meet a few we knew only from Facebook. To me, the atmosphere was like that of a cheerful family reunion.
Writing is a lonely business. You're either researching until your brain explodes, or shut away in your own head, choreographing conflicts and love scenes, running through conversations, juggling plot-arcs, and reality can come as a bit of a jolt. Or, you're in the worst case scenario; stuck fast in a mental swamp, unable to tie even so much as a couple of sentences together. Often, an on-line chat with a friend can help, but the best things are these face-to-face meetings, relaxing with a beer or glass of red, a coffee or a tea. Whether it's just two of you, or a crowd, the results are the same. Suddenly the ideas spark, the swamp disappears, and you're back in business.