Tomorrow I fly to D.C. to run the 2016 World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association.
See that dark smudge on the spine? That's from palm sweat generated from the pressure of talking to one person while worrying over the satisfaction of a hundred more. I don't call my wife from these conferences. I don't eat, and I don't even drink like normal. I hardly go to the bathroom. I just listen. And talk. And worry. And laugh. And sweat. For days straight, until at one point on the last day, someone is standing in front of me—I think it's a he—and his lips are moving and it sounds like he's saying something, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what.
Afterward it takes a few days to recover. Today I'm getting lots of fluids and rest, trying to recover ahead of time. To precover.
Running a good conference is intellectually and emotionally exhilarating. The days actually go by faster than I wish, leaving me full of regret for conversations cut short or not had at all. In fact, I'm already regretting some of those conversations. Pregretting them.
And I always return home feeling much better about a career that's based largely on human relationships—for having communicated with these communicators, looking them in the eye, tossing words back and forth, pressing flesh—and exchanging a little palm sweat.
See you in Washington next week—or back here, the week after.