So, I went to a publishing party last night. I guess it's the triumph of social networking sites that allows me to do such a thing, being out of the industry so long. I knew more people last night than I ever did when I worked in publishing. I actually had fun, I think mostly due to that fact that I wasn't working. Parties can be great, but they're also work for the folks at them. I just went as an invited guest of people I am proud to call friends. I ran into folks I know through writing this blog, and others I've met through friends. I caught up with old co-workers. I had some passable wine, I had some evil wine (oh god, I can still kind of taste it). I really, really enjoyed myself.
I spotted a lot of earnest networking by the new youngsters (man, are they easy to recognize). A couple eager young things introduced themselves to me; I guess I look old enough to be "somebody." I didn't have the heart to tell them not to waste their time, but I also didn't engage them in any social chit-chat. I can't help your career, kid. Move along.
There was some weird slimy guy there, with an accent of course*. He seemed to know, by feel, all the bright young girl things. He complained about the Evil Wine like the rest of us, but continued to drink it, keeping a bottle in his hand. There's one in every crowd. Major Terry Richardson vibe. He's probably an author, I have no idea. I wasn't young and/or pretty enough to get felt up... er, have a conversation with.
A couple people asked me if I'd seen The Boss. For the record, I didn't see him, and I didn't bother to go looking. No throw-down; I'm just here to enjoy time with the people that matter to me. I have seen him around town though, and there hasn't been any confrontation or anything. We don't glare at each other, he doesn't try to talk to me (like he did the one time I ran into him after he fired me). We pass by. It works for me.
There's a freedom, when you leave — or are forced to leave — the industry. I've heard from people that they find their love of books again, once they were not forced to deal with them day-in, day-out. For my part, there's a relaxation in the party that I never had before. At some point, I was a young thing with something to prove, and I went to every party and launch I could. But because my position wasn't interesting enough for people, because even back then I couldn't help them, no one would talk to me at parties. I had people turn their back on me, for more networkingly lucrative options, when I told them what I did in my organization. I stopped going to parties after my first year in the industry. Who needs that sort of rejection? Now I'm simply an interesting** person, and my company is comprised of the only people that really matter: the people who believe in me, who are behind me, and who want know me. I am so lucky to have them. I hope they invite me out again!
Last night I said "I got away with that post because I have nothing to lose." The post still comes up a lot, and that's fair. It was a Big Deal. It has sort of become my calling card, and that's fine. If you only know me from that, I don't mind. I want people to know, though, that I can only write posts like that because I can go to publishing parties and simply enjoy. I remember what it's like to have a lot more to lose.
*No, I'm not talking about The Boss.
**Look, I'm not going to be falsely modest here. I basically kick ass.