Collectively, HPFF was the top fundraiser of the entire event. We raised over $1,090 for the Office of Letters and Light. The next nearest was $200 less and done by an entire NaNo writing region. We knew ahead of time we wouldn’t be eligible for top fundraising prizes (didn’t even know there WERE prizes until we got an email about it to be honest) but, frankly, I was pretty damn surprised we didn’t even get a passing nod. When someone (or a group of someones) go to the trouble of making such a large donation you would think at least a simple thank you would be in order. Especially after all those damn fundraising “give us money, go try harder’” emails we had to sift through throughout the weeks leading up to November. I’ve served as an ML, served as a Library coordinator, donated for CampNaNo and now spurred people on to help OLL this year with donations for this event. I’ve never beheld such a gross lack of gratitude in my life. Now even a thank you email or a passing mention at the event podium. We didn’t do it for the thanks, mind you, but the first rule of a non-profit is to be grateful rather than arrogant and that’s exactly what this felt like: yeah, we got your money go piss up a rope. Someone else may organize a fundraiser for them again but it damn sure won’t be me.
Okay, now that the bad is out of the way, let’s move on to more fun things. My memory is a little fuzzy of the event itself (always a good sign) so rather than a long drawn out blog entry here are the highlights for me:
-Befriending the strangers at the table. They thought we were nuts, yes, but they had a damn good time as evidenced by the guy coming back from the bar and admitting that the bartender told him they were out of vodka and they’d served more alcohol to our table than anyone else in the place and softly adding “I’m so glad I’m at this table”
-Having the best looking table in the whole place. Decorated with plots bunnies (which people kept coming to steal), writing prompts, drinks, candy baskets and donuts ours was the table you couldn’t miss.
-Being given go to hell looks during the first word war because everyone in the place was dedicated to writing (it was still early in the evening) except Meg and I so our loud banter caused people to hate us. I can live with that. In our defense, we didn’t even KNOW there was a word war going on until Jessi untucked her headphones and explained why it was so quiet to us.
-Meg crawling under the table because in someone’s brilliance all the surge cords were hidden under there. After asking us to dress up. Really, planning was not the strong suit here.
-Knowing everyone in that place was full of shit when they claimed to write 4,000 words in 15 minutes and going on twitter to rat race with Meg instead because at least we know we are honest.
-The Baty speech which was so amusing in so many different ways. Jay speaking it word for word seconds before Baty did. Something about 300,000 people joining his writing world (or some such) and all of us at the table looking at each other and going “pfft, 300,000? Talk to us when you hit 98 million, darling.” Yeah, drinks had settled in by then. Oh, and Shanon and Jessi (who both had been avoiding writing but were the most dedicated of us all) deciding that this would be the perfect time to write and getting dirty looks for clacking keys as Baty kept talking.
-Chris Baty taking plot bunnies and then having pogo pics of us and Baty stuck all around the walls on the ballroom. Bet the cleaning crew hates us as well.
-Ringing the winner bell was actually pretty anti-climatic. Jay, Meg and I all went up together to ring it. I refused to wear the Burger King crown and then they ran out of tshirts in non giant troll sizes which was another not well planned thing. Oh, they ran out of some book they were giving away as well. Meg got one and after people at our table perused it they all decided the writing prompts on the table were a hell of a lot better than the sucky ones in the book so it wasn’t much of a loss after all.
-Author pics. Best time ever. We got to escape the ballroom chaos, convinced the photographer to include everyone in my last name (it went in ABC order), purple hair and the Viking helmet. Oh and masking tape mysteriously appearing under Jay’s hat. Because we NEEDED it.
-The raffle. All but two of these prizes were for locals so Meg and I decided to throw all of our tickets in the Baty doll. Although the cloak of infallibility made it a tough choice. We dropped like 40 something tickets or something insane like that (most people had 2). Did we win? Nope. None of us were even remotely surprised.
-The donuts. I had been talking about wanting a Captain Crunch donut for weeks and Shanon had disappeared and came back holding one. She’s such a saint. Jay ran off and came back with several different types for everyone to try and proceeded to get lambasted (okay it was just hinted at) for taking the donuts and leaving none for anyone else. By the time we left, we still had a table full of them because they were nasty. The cereal was stale and mushy and the others (I’m told) were just as bad. So sad. I’d been looking forward to that more than anything.
And, by far, one of the funniest moments of the evening. We had an empty chair at our table (as intended) and had brought along a picture of Kay because well, she should have freaking been there. Baty comes by our table and strokes the edges of her picture and asks us, very tenderly, about this picture of rembrance we have laid out here. I don’t remember everything said in the conversation but when I asked if he had bubble gum so we could affix her picture to the chair better he looked at me like I had just pissed on her grave. Funniest shit ever. He ran away from us immediately after.
After NOWD (we escaped early) we gathered at Jay’s hotel for an HPFF pajama party. The story of that I’m not sharing. The hotel was nice (with rubber ducks no less) and Kay’s food yummy, the drinks potent and chandeliers were nearly broken. And yes, gummi bears were drowned. In champagne no less. But that’s about as much as I’m willing to share.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories!