Okay, I’ve just wrapped up Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention that puts the other conventions I attend into perspective: 21 New York Times best sellers, over a dozen attending writers who are millionaires, sheesh), marking the end of convention season for the year. As a friend pointed out, cons are 72 hours of a bunch of introverts pretending to be extroverts. And I’m exhausted. (I’m sure coming off of a great time at Killercon and a fantastic time at Context has nothing to do with it).

Like many writers, I’m not as social a creature as some may imagine and find it rather exhausting to be “on”. Yet at conventions, difficult though it may be, we hit that switch, ignore the cries of our inner introverts, and push through. In this case, being on means constantly being aware of our professional image, courteous, witty, entertaining and, you know, being nice!

Knowing that each encounter has repercussions—an angry encounter with a waitress, an ugly confrontation with an editor, the snubbing of a fan—can create ripple effects and the stories spread to define who we are. It’s not so different for other folks. It’s funny how we always seem to be nicer to strangers.

So it almost begs the question “Why can’t we always be “on”?” Wishing our public personas were more in line with who are default settings are. Just like there are times when I wish I bore the image of Christian(ity) a lot better than I do: being conscious of who I am, how I come across, what I represent, how I carry myself.

Each encounter is an opportunity, a God moment, to be gracious, to be loving, to be healing, to listen, to simply be there for one another. I need to go through more of life as “Maurice Broaddus”.

This is probably the existential crash that comes after being completely worn out at the end of the convention. Luckily, we’re also about to prepare to go into our Fall/Winter cocoons so that we can re-charge our system. Gearing up for next year’s gauntlet and the rush of being on.

But it’s so exhausting to think about. I’m going to bed.