I slunk into the Grand Hyatt at 8:32am on Friday morning.
Fortunately, the staff know me and were prepared.
A coffee IV pole was waiting at the top of the escalator.
I rolled it, and myself, to an out of the way corner and texted Patrick Lee:
My goal was two-fold. If he was still snoozing, I wanted him to wake up since his panel started at 9am.
If he was awake I wanted him to know I'd arrived.
He was awake, attached to his own coffee IV pole, and we rendez-voused in the Broadway meeting room just in time to catch the last bit of the 8am panel that featured the Amazing and Talented Jessica Faust.
At 9am Patrick's panel began. All the panelists were of the male persuasion. (The panel moderator was a woman.) I did a quick gender tally of the audience. 48/64 men, 15/64 women, 1/64 shark.
The panel topic was on writing realistic fight scenes. It was a lot better than I'd been expecting and one reason is Patrick Lee is a really funny guy at 9am.
The gent on Patrick's left turned out to be a great storyteller. A question from the moderator about real life fights got him started on a story about being mugged for a case of beer, and cutting his hand very badly on a broken beer bottle. When I tell you we were laughing as he told this story, it makes us sound like a bunch of sociopaths, but really it was very funny. And it was funny cause of how he told it. My guess is this was not some impromptu riff, but something he'd told before, maybe often, and gotten it down to a nice taut tale.
The point is this: that's the guy whose books I bought after the panel. I hadn't heard of him before but I figured a guy who could spin a yarn on a panel could probably write a pretty good book.
So now I have two of his.
What this means for you: when you're going to be at a public event, have some stories in your reticule. You may not need them. But if you do, you'll be glad you were prepared. Trying to be funny, and succinct, with no prep is very difficult. Make it easy on yourself. Be prepared.