A flash in the pan

by Pari

You lived with it – with me with it – for nearly two years. Now, Left Coast Crime 2011 is a memory. Everyone assumes that I’ve been resting, my feet up on the television table, a glass of single malt by my side.

Contrary to that lovely image, I actually came back to a full week of work. Both of my major PR clients had several big events that required my attention and presence. I still had to get dressed up and be “on,” though all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and stare into space until my eyes managed to focus again.

Since the con ended a week ago Sunday, I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate. The good news: I’ve started taking walks again. The bad news: my clothes don’t fit because of all the stress eating I did for the last three or four months.

And life continues. For those of you who know me, you know these next few months are going to signal some huge changes in my life. Some intrigue me. Others seem insurmountable. Whatever comes, comes. I’ll deal with it. C’est tout.

During the last eight days, I’ve received many thank-yous and let me tell you, they’ve been welcome. I’ve also gotten complaints about not being accommodating enough for people with disabilities, about Santa Fe’s altitude, about the convention programming, about not enough panels for would-be writers, about the layout of the hotel etc etc. 

So it goes. Pros and cons, ups and downs.

I’ll admit it. I’m pooped.

Several people have asked me if I’d do it again. Truth be told, I don’t think so. Especially not for free. I may aspire to altruism, but this was too much work; I dealt with too many big egos demanding/asserting their needs above others. And the hardest part is that after all of this effort, people have already moved on to the next shiny thing.

I knew it would happen. I just don’t like it.

On the positive side, the mantle of responsibility for the convention became quite heavy during the last few months. I expect after I’ve had a little more time to decompress that one of the benefits I’ll notice is that my spine is straighter and I’ve grown an inch or two.

That’ll be nice.

My clothes might look a bit better on me then.

For so much of the convention, I felt like an outsider at my own party. I observed but didn’t participate. I didn’t have much time to spend with friends and realized that my feelings for “the mystery community” have changed during these last two years. Having this perspective was useful – something most of us don’t get so clearly – and will be helpful as I progress in my career.

Perhaps most important of all, I also realized one incredible thing. During the entire convention, I continued to write my fiction every single day.

LCC 2011 may be a flash in the pan now, but my commitment to writing endures.



Speaking of changes, many of you have read about both Rob and Toni leaving Murderati. We wish them every success and joy.

We’re also happy to announce that two fabulous writers have agreed to join our group. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks, but I wanted to let you know that Zoë will no longer be our only international contributor. Australian writer extraordinaire P.D. Martin is coming on board! And if that’s not enough, David Corbett will be here too.

So stay tuned. Life at the ‘Rati continues to be vital and full.

34 thoughts on “A flash in the pan

  1. Zoë Sharp

    My dear Pari

    The convention was superb, and so are you ;-] I didn't find the altitude a problem (but I don't drink, so maybe that had something to do with it), the hotel and staff were delightful without exception, wonderful food, fun people.

    I had a ball, and will be coming back to New Mexico when we have more time to spend there. It was beautiful and fascinating.

    And a huge welcome to PD Martin and David Corbett!

  2. JD Rhoades

    Pari, just coming home from a conference I've merely attended and having to go back to the day job sometimes seems overwhelming. I can't imagine if I'd actually had to run the damn thing. Hope you get at least some time to recharge.

    And welcome to our new contributors!

  3. Stephen D. Rogers


    I apologize for being remiss. LCC 2011 was great! Santa Fe was great!

    I'm sorry I never ran into you to thank you personally, or found the time to email admist the craziness after I returned, but I thought you did a great job making it happen.


  4. twist


    I am sorry to be late with this. The convention was terrific–great panels, lovely venue, very nice volunteers, and Santa Fe is one of my favorite cities. You did a wonderful job! Best wishes w/r/to the "huge changes." And congrats on continuing the writing.

  5. pari noskin taichert

    Thank you. I thought you'd like NM. Did you notice the quality of light here? I hope your photographer's eye caught it with the solid blue sky and adobe.

    I hope this week is a little less crazy. I spent 6.5 hours listening to more than 450 kids play two concerts yesterday for the incredible Albuquerque Youth Symphony. I wasn't exactly working for all of that. As a matter of fact, it was uplifting. But I'm tired again today.

  6. pari noskin taichert

    I would have loved to meet you. I so wanted to go to your session since I'm very interested in short stories.

    It's good to hear you enjoyed yourself. Thank you again for coming.

    Thank you for the good wishes. I'll need them. And even though we only saw each other in passing, it was still a pleasure for those few seconds.

  7. Karen in Ohio

    Pari, having also run conferences I know you must be exhausted. Congratulations on getting through it, and don't take the naysayers' comments to heart. There's always someone who complains, whether the complaints have merit or not.

    Pat Gulley is blogging today about her Left Coast Crime experience here:


    SHE has nothing but good to say! Read this, and forget about the negatives.

  8. Alafair Burke

    I wish I could have been at LCC but have heard it was a smash. You're such a good citizen in our little community!

  9. Murderati fan

    Wow! great additions? Corbett will have much to offer.

    Mom told me a long and winding story once about a man, his grandson and donkey who set out on a journey. The man let the child ride the donkey. The first village they passed through thought it terrible of the child to make the old man walk. So the man rode the donkey
    The people in the second village thought it terrible the man made the old child walk,
    So they both walked and the villagers said they abused the donkey.
    So they carried the donkey and the villagers said how foolish they were.
    So they did what they wanted and pleased themselves.

    Congratulations on making it through and more congratulations on writing. Best of luck with whatever changes are occurring in your life. Walking is good for the body mind and soul. Wish I could be there with you.

  10. Ellen Byerrum

    I stand in awe at how much work you had to do. Can't imagine where you found the energy to handle that and write every day. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the conference this year. And it would have been lovely, Santa Fe is so beautiful. However, since I quit the day job, I find I I don't have the money. When I had the job, I didn't have time. What are you going to do? And people who complain about the altitude? I had to laugh.

    Wishing you much satisfaction and some time to rest.

    Ellen Byerrum

  11. Tammy Cravit

    Pari, congratulations on pulling off what sounds from all I've read like a wonderful conference. I was (obviously) unable to be there, but I wished many times I could have been.

    Your comments reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately in other contexts: From coordinating a conference to leading a business team to running a country, leadership is almost always an awfully lonely business. We expect from the people "in charge" attentiveness to our needs, our wants, our desires. And too often, we forget that the leaders, too, are people just like us, with needs and wants and desires that we too often expect them to subjugate for "the greater good".

    As for the huge life changes you alluded to in your post, I can only reiterate what I said about Louise's post last week: there's a proverb to the effect that happiness shared is doubled, and sorrow shared is halved. Whatever this next chapter in your life brings, know that the 'Rati family – writers and readers, commenters and lurkers – is here to celebrate and mourn with you. (Hmm, I hope that didn't sound too presumptuous and that the caring intended behind those words comes through…)

  12. Louise Ure

    Pari, I heard great things about your LCC. Congratulate yourself.

    And welcome to our new Murderati pals.

  13. Rae

    Congrats, Pari! All the feedback I've read has been great.

    And I absolutely agree with you: "Several people have asked me if I'd do it again. Truth be told, I don't think so……too many big egos demanding/asserting their needs above others…." I certainly didn't get into running a con to be thanked, and the vast majority of people, especially the fans, were wonderfully supportive and grateful for our efforts. But the poor behavior of a very few people was a real trial, especially during the weeks before it all commenced.

    But now it's all over, and it went beautifully, and you can enjoy the satisfaction of success 😉

  14. Beth Groundwater

    You did an absolutely wonderful job leading the Santa Fe Left Coast Crime team and pulling off a lovely conference. I'm still reliving the memories. And I'm utterly amazed that you were able to write every day during the event. I was definitely too pooped from being "on" to be that diligent myself. Kudos to you, and I hope you're finding time to rest and recoup.
    – Beth

  15. pari noskin taichert

    Thanks for the link. I'll look at it later today. And don't worry, I didn't take the naysayers too much to heart. Plus, whatever happened . . . it's over. Nothing can be done but for the next folks to keep those complaints in mind.

    BUT I wish that everyone who complained/complains would commit to spending real time helping with the planning and execution of a convention so that they would know the effort that you — and I — know so well.

    Thank you. I think I'm going to stop being a good citizen though. Might die my hair hot pink, don a pair of fishnets and buy a tight black leather . . . well . . . a loose black leather skirt.

  16. pari noskin taichert

    Hey Murderati Fan,
    Love the story. It's so true.
    I'm just about to go on my walk. Should help clear my mind for the second half of the morn.

    I hear you about the money. I'm starting to look for full time work again b/c of having two kids in an expensive private school. Won't be traveling for a long, long time. But the writing . . . oh, the writing is my emotional salvation.

  17. pari noskin taichert

    The caring comes through loud and clear. Thank you.

    As to the reality of being a leader and what that entails, you're right. And this concept of "the greater good," seems often to be applied by those who benefit rather than those who do <g>. Man, I feel like I'm whining.

    Merci, Louise.
    And our new 'Rati will add depth to an already incredible lineup. Your posts continue to amaze and inspire me.

  18. pari noskin taichert

    Yep. You know what I'm talking about. And you're also right that the majority of people were absolutely a delight.

    I wish I could just stop the forward momentum of my life for a week or so to recoup. But I'll have to settle for snatches of time — grabbed greedily to make a difference.

  19. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I LOVED LCC and I think you did a remarkable job, Pari!
    Really, no kidding. Fabulous. You were professional, confident, funny, organized….I have no complaints. I have the opposite – praise and only praise.
    And I'm simply astounded that you were able to write every day.
    I think I enjoyed your conference more than any I've been to yet. Great people, great panels, beautiful setting, awesome food.
    I'm also excited about the new blood at Murderati – I know David Corbett and I think he's the perfect choice for Murderati. He's witty, charming and talented. I can't wait to read his blogs.
    Thanks for doing everything you've done, Pari. LCC was perfect.

  20. Allison Davis

    Pari, I was at our law firm retreat and am sorry to miss all your effort. Having played a small part in Bouchercon, I can sympathize and appreciate all the work…I'm sure there is a lot more appreciation than you got to see expressed. I'll buy you a drink in New Mexico in July?

    Sorry to see Toni and Rob go…but so happy to see David get on board and to have the Aussie point of view expressed by PD Martin.

  21. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pari

    "Did you notice the quality of light here? I hope your photographer's eye caught it with the solid blue sky and adobe."

    Definitely – perfect apricity.

  22. Rae

    Allison, the part you played in Bouchercon was NOT small. You and Cara made a huge difference in the programming, and therefore a huge part in my remaining fairly rational.


  23. Rae

    Not being very grammatical today, sorry. I meant to say Allison and Cara *played* a huge part in my remaining fairly rational. Oy.

  24. Reine

    Hi Pari-

    Welcome back! Wow! You wrote every day? Wow! Wish I could have been there for LCC. Love Santa Fe and have old classmates nearby at the pueblo, too. Really sad I couldn't work out the details. I am sure it was wonderful and that you were a completely brilliant planner/organizer. Time for yourself, now.

    I am excited about Murderati having PD Martin and David Corbett. I will miss Rob and Toni terribly, but this will be good.

  25. pari noskin taichert

    Thank you. I'm especially touched because I know how much you and your family have gone through during the last few months. I'm very glad you enjoyed yourself!

    I'll take that drink in July! And I feel the same way about the changes here at the 'Rati.

    It isn't just apricity (yes, I had to look it up), the sunlight can be amazing in the middle of summer as well.

  26. pari noskin taichert

    NO grammar police here today!

    It would have been lovely to meet you. I do understand about the arrangements. Several people I'd hoped to see couldn't make it at the last minute due to finances, health etc.

    And yes to what you said about Toni, Rob and PD and David.

  27. JT Ellison

    Phew – just got my power back after the terrible storms today. I will second, third and fourth the praise for LCC – it was a great con. And I'm glad we have you back – and look forward to our new mates!

  28. Reine

    Visual warmth brought to life by the sun is what first came to mind for me.
    I do love Santa Fe.

  29. pari noskin taichert

    Sorry to hear about the storms. We have a few big fires burning in the SE mountains today — very difficult to combat, horrid terrain for firefighting.

    It was wonderful to see you in Santa Fe. Really, really good.

    What a stunning sentence. Thank you.

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