She had forgotten who she was amidst the hustle of finding an apartment and a "real job," but when she remembered the retreat that she had attended once four years ago, she knew that she had to go this year.
There were bagels and quiche and delicious teas and sandwiches, and even an exceptionally strong punch, and she heard too many quotes to recall accurately. She discovered that Corwin had worked at a medievel faire, and that Annabeth was a self-supported writer.
She listened to conversations about music as different colors, and watched a game of slash, which is played a little like apples to apples, pairing famous characters up with other famous characters, a game of story-telling and persuasion. A game of writerly marketing, in its way.
She slept in the Circlet office surrounded by books about romance and erotica, baseball and Latin, Harry Potter and much much more. There were cats in the house, creeping about late at night and leaving thick tufts of fur in their wake. She wondered about the dichotomy of erotic writer and children's writer, and parent and activist, and whether she'd ever have time to write if she had children. She thought about troubling, important things that she'd somehow forgotten about, so far from other writers: time to write and market and keep up with social media without making readers gag.
About a quarter of the way through Saturday presentations, this woman grabbed her over-the-head headphones (the ear parts shredded from use) and escaped the full house for solitude in a finicky-cat, people-overwhelmed, writerly sort of way. She clomped down sidewalks looking at houses that she would never afford. These houses had many floors and rooms and sharp ornate fences, but no driveways. She found Harvard down the street, and studied a water pump that looked historic but didn't work. She watched tourists pointing fingers and cameras at the red brick buildings and telling each other what a great place this was.
It made her think of Cecilia Tan's book The Siren and the Sword, because the Magic University is somewhat based on Harvard. It made her want to read those books again, and all of Circlet's books, and many more. And? It made her want to write and work with other editors on keeping in touch.
So she did.