By Eric Heyl
Originally published in The Columnist members-only newsletter
As you probably have long suspected, being the NSNC president is extremely cool — and not just because of the large army at my command, the life-or-death decisions I often make and the high-quality stationery that comes with the position.
It’s extremely cool because I have an almost superhero-like heightened awareness of how this organization brings columnists and bloggers together. Nowhere is that more evident than on the NSNC discussion board. Visit the Yahoo site, and you’ll find people promoting their works, engaging in lively writing debates and thankfully keeping the recipe exchanges to an absolute minimum.
It’s been particularly gratifying to observe people who attended their first conference in Hartford, Conn., keep that June event’s afterglow alive by consistently communicating with the people they met there via Facebook and Twitter. That’s largely because I predicted that bonding would happen, and I would have looked foolish had the first-timers been introverted and standoffish. That could have caused the masses to question my leadership ability and possibly led to an uprising not unlike what you’ll see in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire when it opens in a few months.
So thanks, first-timers. You saved me a lot of potential grief.
I mention this ongoing communication because I’m curious to see the response when I momentarily drop the first few nuggets of information regarding the 2014 conference. We’ve formalized plans to hold it June 26-29 in Washington, D.C.
You don’t have to carve those dates into your flesh, but you might want to input them into your smartphone so you don’t forget them.
We’ve begun negotiations with a hotel in close proximity to Reagan International Airport, which should keep cab fares reasonable. And we’ve already started programming this surefire extravaganza (and by “started,” I mean I wake up in a cold sweat most nights saying to myself, “Holy (cow), we really need to start programming next year’s conference.” More programming details and less sweat to come, hopefully.)
I can also announce that Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post will be the recipient of next year’s Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award. Weingarten is a fantastic writer with an incredible body of work under his belt and two Pulitzers on his living room mantle that presumably he dusts regularly.
Are we off to a good start for 2014? Do you think you might be able to make it? Are you holding out until you can determine if the conference hotel is a little more relaxed in its hospitality suite policies than the hotel in Hartford?
I expect I’ll soon see answers to those questions on the Yahoo message board, Facebook and Twitter. Just remember, though, that in discussing the conference, please keep the recipe exchanges to an absolute minimum.
To paraphrase the great Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own: There’s no souffles in column writing.