Monday, November 21, 2016

The most influential person in my early career.

There are at least fifty, all for different reasons.

So today I pick one and I'll explain at the end of my tale.

The first professional convention I ever went to was the a meeting of the Horror Writers of America. It was the same year they became the Horror Writers Association, but that didn't happen until later in the weekend.

It's Thursday night or Friday night. I think Thursday. Keep on mind this was a loooooooong damned time ago now, and I looked around a room full of authors that I had read and admired and was terrified. Seriously. Who the hell was I to talk to the likes pf Peter Straub, Rick Hautala, Charles L. Grant, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, all of whom are in the same room with me and chumming it up? Awestruck? Maybe. But mostly I was terrified. Somewhere around that same convention was John Carpenter. John-Freaking-Carpenter!!!!

So, yeah, I hugged the wall, helped myself to a diet drink and and observed the people around me, absolutely overwhelmed.

A man a few years older than me moved closer and asked me my name as he offered his hand. I shook his hand and told him who I was.. He was diminutive next to me, but let's be fair, a lot of people are. I was taller, probably weighed twice and much and I couldn't have been more grateful to someone for speak to.

For the next ten or fifteen minutes we chatted, and I relaxed and the next thing I know, this gut with longish hair and a beret and casual clothes is leading me around the room and introducing me to people I never thought I would be in the same room with and they are, as a whole, treating me with respect and and courtesy.

And when it's done and I'm suffering from a case of too much smiling because, damn, I met some really cool people, the man shakes my hand again and says "My name is Charles DeLint, Jim, and it's really nice to meet you."

Charles-Freaking-DeLint. Another writer I never expected to meet. Another writer I had had admired while reading several of his books, for his eloquent prose and amazing stories. Turned out he was an amazingly nice guy, too, who was kind enough to spend a few minutes with a nervous wreck and to make sure he met everyone and felt at home.

Believe me, he was amazingly influential on my early career.

I've tried to live up to his example at every convention. Be gracious, be kind, be welcoming. It hurts nothing and you never know....

Keep smiling and have a great Thanksgiving, folks.

I am often reminded how much I have to be grateful for.


  1. He is really a lovely guy - such a great story!

  2. That's a great story! Everybody needs a Charles at their first (or first twenty) Con(s)!