Friday I hit what I've come to know as my "mid-convention emotional nadir." At most conventions I'll have a few hours in the middle of one day in which I begin questioning not only the wisdom of the decision to come to the event, but the wisdom of attempting to engage in any sort of creative endeavor at all, because there's no hope at all, you know. I believe that it's mostly brought on by lack of sleep, odd eating patterns, and some legitimate concerns lent foundation in the fact that for some reason people are not fawning over me. It also happens because I'm a pretty hard-core introvert. If you've met me at conventions you may think that you've got evidence to the contrary, but you don't. You have proof that I've learned social skills that are critical to my survival in this business. I can shmooze, press flesh, play the huckster, clown in front of the class, and introduce myself to strangers, but what I REALLY want to do is sit down for a quiet discussion with a few close friends. (This is sounding less like a convention report, and more like whining. I'll get to the point.) I planned to see three or four key panels on Friday, but only managed to get to one of them. The opportunity for some key shmoozing presented itself... and then, midday, I looked at how things were going, and was engulfed by the negativity of the mid-convention nadir. Not only did I not want to go to the panels, I wanted to be home. As a compromise, I decided it would be okay to be back in my room asleep. So I tried to get sneaky with Mister Nadir. I made as if to walk back to the hotel, but on the way I cruised the dealers' area. I met some more cool people, and consciously decided that while going to panels full of famous people would be kind of fun, I'd have more fun if I found a small group of people with whom I could have a quiet discussion. I went to grab a bite to eat at the hotel bar, and met David Lloyd. He's the guy who drew "V for Vendetta," and we had a great discussion. He's a neat person, and was here at show to recieve an award. After dinner I checked out the award ceremony (it was a modest thing at the hotel) and really enjoyed it. David's speech was quite thought-provoking. (Yes, I gave him a Schlock Mercenary book.) Feeling recharged (at least a little) I made my way to the Baen's Universe hospitality suite. The "barflies" from the Baen's Bar forums are fun people. Many of them know me from my comic and my posts in their forums, and a few of them are not just fans -- they're fans willing to plug my work enthusiastically in front of people who walk into the suite, while I'm sitting right there quietly introducing myself as "Howard Tayler, professional cartoonist." That sucks the ennui right of my nadir. One of the high-points of the evening: Australian fantasy author Garth Nix came by and we introduced ourselves. I told him I was "Howard Tayler, professional cartoonist." He asked what I'd done. I handed him a Schlock URL card. He looked at it and said "I've read this. This is YOURS?" I love when that happens. Of course now I'm feeling compelled to check out Garth Nix's work, but since I'm told he's probably the finest Australian writer of Fantasy (yes, someone besides Garth told me this) I'm looking forward to the experience. Then I ran into Eric and Cathy Raymond, good friends well-met at a number of previous conventions. We had a nice long talk, and when it was all said and done I was returning to my room for sleep at about 2:00am. Summary: I'm not presenting on any panels, I don't have dealer-room space, and I'm mostly unknown at this event. But there are friends to be found here, and that makes all the difference in the world.