Milling and Swilling

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The Science Fiction Writers of America host an annual holiday reception for members, authors, editors and agents. You know it’s the holiday season when everyone dresses up and convenes for the first time of the fall. Traditionally nicknamed the “mill and swill,” the reception is a much-anticipated event. After all, it’s the one time we get to see some of our friends and colleagues away from the office or the convention floor, where we can gossip, joke and mingle for hours.For the last few years, it has been held at the Society of Illustrators and it’s a wonderful locale for an event given the sumptuous artwork on the walls and several floors with which to wander. There’s even an outdoor terrace area on the second floor and on a balmy night such as yesterday, it was well used. For some, such as my pals Keith and David, the scotch tasting station (manned by a knowledgeable bloke in a kilt) was a magnet. Many others congregated near the cheese and crackers.I got there a wee bit early and was among the first in so got to see many people in a short period of time. I could name drop but won’t, suffice to say I saw many people all of whom seemed just as happy to see me. We caught up in the usual shorthand of a reception, hitting the highlights of the recent past.By 9, I was debating between lingering or leaving to make a sensible train. I had said at least hi to all those I wanted to see, chatted with many of them but recognized the place had filled to the point where mobility in search of some of those people was going to be problematic. Being a Monday, I also recognized I was setting the pace for the rest of the week. Logic prevailed and I left soon after, getting home just after 11.It was nice seeing everyone and I wished I could have stayed longer without the commute. And so, the holiday festivities begin.

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