I mentioned conventions on an earlier post and, (beforehand) talked about one of the Nehrings’ favorites, Mayhem in the Midlands, held last weekend.
Smaller attendance than usual, which seems to be happening at writers’ conventions and conferences all over the map these days. Economy? The availability of Internet promotion and communication? Who knows. One additional thing that killed our area’s Hardboiled Heroes and Cozy Cats, the annual Mystery Writers of America–Southwest Chapter June conference was the Swine Flu scare. The Ft. Worth schools closed for a time while we were promoting the event. In any case, there weren’t enough registered to cover the bills, and deadlines were looming for airline reservations, motel cancellations, et al. So, sadly, we threw in the towel.
Fortunately that didn’t happen with MAYHEM. Beautifully organized, well-promoted, many loyal yearly attendees…and, gloriously, it went on.
You know what I remember and value most, though? Panels were great, but no. Book sales good, but not that either. Special mystery banquet, Sisters in Crime buffet? Sorry, didn’t sign up for those. (As I recall the banquet was at least $45.00 per, so for John and Radine not going was a significant saving.
None of the above. In this case, it was meeting author and fan friends I only see once a year. The Internet has created a new type of friendship…I have very good friends now that I’ve never met face-to-face. But Mayhem is the best of both types of friendship. We spend quality time with people we usually only enjoy chatting with on listservs or in individual e-mail. Mayhem, somehow, makes all this uniquely special, partly because it isn’t so huge you can’t find your friends, and also because it’s held in the middle of the Omaha River Market district where any number of simply fabulous eat places tempt you to journey along the brick sidewalks with friends and enjoy a meal in a new place. Hap and Marilyn Meredith (from California) and John and I went out Saturday night to enjoy a place that makes root and alcoholic beer on the site. The huge tanks are right there. Hap had told us about “Upstream” and the root beer like grandma used to make, and by golly we all lifted mugs to toast him over that suggestion. Food fabulous. Can you believe I had pot roast? Marilyn had soft shell crab, which sounds a lot more exotic than pot roast…but then I have never been accused of being exotic.
Another thing. I made my annual visit to The Lotus…a terrific “alternative lifestyle” shop in the River Market area. I now have six hats I’ve purchased there over the years at Mayhem. (In case you didn’t know, I’m called “The Hat Lady” at many conferences and conventions. My own individuality statement.) These hats are crocheted from hemp, a fibre not legal in the United States, even though it isn’t the same as THAT hemp.
We had fun, and gained happy memories. I can see so many faces as I think of MAYHEM IN THE MIDLANDS and I treasure them all.
And you, dear reader, Radine