Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maybe they should have used the small room... there I was--at the RWA General Meeting., expected more. I think the Board also expected more. They moved it from a small room to an extra uber-large room with more than enough space for the angry masses. They even issued tickets.

One per person, attached to the back of the badges.

I figured, okay--this is going to be interesting, the biggest, baddest, most radical meeting since the founding of RWA. The wave was coming, I thought. The future was on us, and I was going to be there--camera in hand.

Fifteen minutes in, it wasn't all that. Maybe it was just the sheer distance from the Opening Session--up two levels, across the building and down this really long hall. Although--to be fair, if the President could make it without breaking a sweat, the rabid fangrrls of Change should have packed that thing. Another fifteen minutes, and the president put off the start of the meeting--tabulating the proxies, she said.

I figured, okay--well, maybe everyone just dropped by--left their proxies and went off to do whatever it was they spent a thousand and change to do in DC. At the Opening Session, Janet Evanovich was a great speaker--funny and inspirational. Hard to pull off. Maybe people were tired from all that clapping?

But the President laid it out on the line.

Out of the nineteen hundred registered voters at the conference, there were a little over four hundred in attendance. Another nine hundred mailed in proxies that dealt with specific issues before the board.

With my casual knowledge of the people over on the Change loop, I knew everyone who wasn't going was supposed to mail their proxies to Kristen.

Y'know what? They didn't.

And I'll be the first to say, if you promise to do something that "you" say is important to you--fucking do it.

Don't whine to me that nothing is changing--everything is static and no one freaking understands, when you can't get off your dead butt and stamp an envelope.

So Pershing--who knew what was up--(c'mon, people think she's dumb or something. She might--as people who know her say--have the abrasive personality of a drill sergeant, but you don't rise to President of RWA without having "some" brains) says, "I understand there's a resolution before the Board, but I don't have a copy. Will someone who has a copy please present it to the Board."

And no one stands up.

So she says again, "Will the people who brought the resolution before the Board, please read their resolution?"

And someone says (in a very small voice), "Uh--we don't have a copy."

Seriously, people.

Nobody thought to bring a copy? The woman plays the classic put the ball in the other court, I don't have a copy, read it, and nobody thought forward?

"If no one has a copy," Pershing says, "and can't read it--we can't do anything." And the meeting rolled on.

The rules for the GH ad RITA changed for the better, which is a good thing. Lol--back to the old RITA rules where if you had a perfect bound copy of your e-book you could enter it. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

Half an hour later, before they officially opened the floor to questions, someone texts a copy of the resolution to the now not-so-rabid Change coalition.

They read it, and despite the extremely official "look", someone--well, forgot to research "how" to change the by-laws. Instead of asking for sweeping, non-specific changes to the nature of PAN, PRO and the Mission Statement, they needed to submit the resolution (with the proper wording, which was "in" the by-laws) one hundred and twenty days in advance and push it through presentation to the General Membership.

BY this time the people behind me were talking like crazy. Regular people, right? The hoi-polloi of RWA. They knew something was in the air, but the rumor mills had been cranking, and they weren't quite sure. I got everything from e-pub this to e-pub that, but the general consensus was that whoever that group was over in the corner was too stupid to live.

The RWA lawyer laid out the procedures to initiate change, and the President eyes Change and says, "Is someone willing to work on the resolution?" And maybe I didn't hear it or the voice was small or something, but I don't think anyone jumped up and shouted, "I will!"

They did however, straggle into line at the speakers podium.

From the pictures you can tell the huge stack of speaker registration forms weren't in short supply. Plenty to go around.

By that time, the gossip mill around me was in full tidal-wave. Pershing says despite the fact they couldn't do anything this year, she was willing to hear six pros and cons on the now-dead resolution, and I pretty much got myself out of there.

I will say--for someone who knew she was going into battle, Pershing was well prepared. For all I knew she had the resolution, but she played it well--putting the onus of presentation on the people from Change. I don't think (in her wildest dreams) she thought she'd win without a fight. She had ammo, a plan and the balls to back it up, and--yeah, well--it was a damned pretty resolution, graphics and all. Nice language (somebody studied their Roberts), lots of loudly vocal and uncommitted support, and all the sticking power of dry toilet paper.

We totally struck a major blow today.

For the other side.


Jeanna said...

So what gets you through all this? I don't think there are enough drugs on the planet to keep me in such close quarters for so long a time.

jodi said...

I enjoy watching it, Jeanna. I've never been rabid about anything (except those articles you skim, lol) and I thought "history" deserved someone to record it.

It wasn't so much history as--I'm not going to bring my study of military science into it--but Pershing definitely came out on top.

Melissa Blue said...

My Litigation instructor said the side that usually wins the case is the side that is prepared. The other side might have one hell of an argument, but if their notes aren't in order, if they don't have copies for everyone--basically if they can't back up what they say the other side wins by default. Unfortunately that's what happened at the meeting. Pershing could have easily been buried in data backing up the fact you can make money in e-publishing. That e-publishing has its own business model that works. That for some it's not just a stepping stone...then yeah others might have sat up straighter to listen.

None of that happened. It's unfortunate.