Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ABNA 2012

Seattle 2012 (I will need to break this up, especially for other ABNA contestants who really want the details of what this trip is like. I will post the rest this afternoon or tomorrow.)

Friday the 15th:
We arrived in Seattle Friday afternoon (there was a driver in a suit waiting with a town car, for Pete's sake) and the first item of business was meeting the other finalists for dinner. This part was scary for me because I didn't know if they would see me as a fellow writer or a competitor to crush. Luckily, it was the first. I met Chuck, my fellow mid-westerner, first. We were both early to the meeting spot. I think it's a farmer mentality or something. Early bird gets the worm and all that. Then as people arrived I was excited to meet them and their "honored guests." Casey Griffin kept us all intrigued by her so-interesting-it's-absurd life story and Rebecca Phillips was a cheerful trooper all night even though she'd been traveling from the far corner of Canada for the last 20 hours or something ridiculous like that. We went to dinner and spent the night laughing until our sides hurt. There was no awkwardness anywhere and I loved being with writers who were on the same journey as I. Alan and his wife Sue are total comedians and kept the rest of us thoroughly entertained. (Alan, I'm not going to tell them about the biggest punch line of the night because that should be your honor- please announce to the world how they came up with the final six, okay?) Brian and his gorgeous wife Rae let me look at pictures of their beautiful baby girl and let me talk about my daughters without looking the least bit bored. Thanks, guys!
With all my worries put to rest I headed back to the Grand Hyatt with Justin, stopping long enough to buy a sweater. (Middle of June in Seattle is cold! Cold! Cold! Cold!) And may I say that downtown Seattle on a Friday night is full of some of the most... colorful characters I've ever encountered. We happened to wander directly through the sections of town that our host told us he avoids. He just didn't tell us until the next day. Chalk it up to life experience.

Saturday the 16th:
Justin and I woke up for the day at 4 in the morning. I couldn't shake my Central time zone clock and I really couldn't sleep knowing that this was "the" day. We got up and took our time getting ready before we took an early morning walk down to Pike's Place Market where all the flowers were just arriving for the day.
I picked my favorite bouquet and by the time we met the other finalists for breakfast we'd already trekked around downtown for hours.

Our host from Amazon, Thom Kephart, took us to breakfast with two representatives from Penguin, but no one ordered the octopus omelet or the gravlax. Although, now that I remember, I told Alan if I won I would swallow a slimy oyster and I never did. I guess next time I'm in Seattle...
After breakfast we spent the day meeting people. We met one of Justin's clients from Seattle
 and most importantly, we met our new, wonderful niece.
After several hours with our family and well into the afternoon I had lost the ability to carry on light conversation. I was starting to shake. I went back to the hotel room, picked out a new excerpt to read, went over my speech and took a long, hot bath to calm my nerves. Then I got dressed and went downstairs to the salon to have my hair fixed before the reception.
As soon as they put in the last of the 41 bobby pins it was time to go. Justin and I met the other finalists and I concentrated on not letting the shaking inside make its way to my outside!
Sue told me I looked so calm and I started laughing and said, "then lead me to Broadway because I am an awesome actress!"
I will tell you all about the actual contest next post...


  1. I had wondered how you did your hair like that :) Sounds like a fun trip so far!

  2. What an awesome adventure. So many cool memories - even without the actual winning part!

    luvs, aby