Come next week it will be very quiet in Portland's independent bookstores, coffee shops, and the free-sample lines at Trader Joe's. All the writers will be at Wordstock III. That's the annual gi-normous literary event overflowing with authors, editors, booksellers – and for all I know, bookbinders. I've already coughed up 90-some bucks to hear a Famous Author and to attend a workshop that promises to strip away all excuses for procrastinating on my next great work. The notion of paying for something in the Oregon State Convention Center is painful. Confession time: I regularly sneak into conventions and workshops. It might be a stretch to call it a hobby, but it's the closest thing I've got to one since my shoeboxes of baseball cards were "accidentally" given to Goodwill in 1968. Here's how it works: Dress neatly, carry a yellow legal pad, walk determinedly into a crowded hotel meeting room or convention hall. It helps to have a nametag, which does not need to match the other nametags. It just needs to be big, plastic, and printed on a computer. (Crayon: no.) One pastry per event, max. No gift bags. Best to stay out of the raffle drawings, trust me. The bounty: comfy, climate-controlled environments. Great people watching, excellent sound bites of overheard conversation; wide-ranging educational opportunities. Portland's convention center has better pickings than the downtown hotels, but the art is not up to the level of that in the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle. Hilton and Westin rule. Doubletree and Red Lion could give them a run for the conference money. Continuing-education sessions for lawyers and faith-based events are easiest to infiltrate. Fashion-industry, financial and accounting folks are toughest. Imposters are most likely to be outed at scrapbooking, genealogy, or weight-loss/nutrition sessions. Sales gatherings are a tossup. It takes a lot of the fun out of it to be a paying guest, but I'm trying to be optimistic about Wordstock III. Stay tuned.