Wiscon randomosity — I think I’ll repeat the numbered list format of BEA explication. Post title inspired by Gillian Welch’s "Everything is Free"; every spring I’m moved to pull out that record — Time (the Revelator) — and listen to it, but only this morning did it occur to me that all the songs I like best on it are about being an artist and how hard it is and how you do it anyway, if you have to, regardless of the compensation. Which seems as nice a soundtrack for talking about Wiscon as any.
1. Yes, it’s true, I spent much of the weekend feeling incredibly guilty about poor cat and dog at home alone (we hired a pet sitter). They’re pretty needy, after all. At one point, Christopher said, "We’re never traveling again, are we?" However, this eased off as we got closer to going back home and with regular reports from our heros, the Melissas, who did some extra checking in and quality time while we were gone. So, if I bored you with cat and dog whining — well, sorry.
2. As predicted, I went complete babbling fangirl when I met Nicola Griffith and Kelley Eskridge (also still kicking myself for not bringing copies of their books along to get signed), who seem to be two of the loveliest people on the planet and did an amazing joint reading of their essay "As We Mean To Go On" from Bookmark Now. Anyway, news from the reading: Griffith reports that the new Aud novel is turned in (and superlong: both bits of knowledge that make me go whee!) and Eskridge is starting a movement to teach managers how to be better at it (which is also very exciting and shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read her wonderful novel Solitaire) and there’ll be a manifesto and everything (I’ll link when it’s up). Oh, and Griffith is working on a strange, excellent-sounding memoir of her wild child days, which will include scratch and sniff and other cool things, and Eskridge is working on working on her next novel. End fangirlness.
3. Psych! One of the best parts of the weekend was seeing Geoff Ryman get fawned over as Tiptree winner. He’s just the most charming, generous, funny person ever and, it should be noted, the Tallest Man in Science Fiction. (I now have a dream of he and former Tiptree winner John Kessel in the same place at the same time and photos being taken with The Two Tallest Men in Science Fiction. It’s a good dream.) It turns out he’s also an amazing reader, really a performer, and just gutted the audience with a new story called "Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter." And, even better, he gave us a copy of The King’s Last Song, which makes me happy happy happy and I’ll be reading it as soon as I finish the dragon books.
4. KJF’s new book, as noted before, is going to be superamazing. Also, she is the funniest person I know. And she’s rocking this new t-shirts and jeans and chunky glasses look. A moderate amount of Veronica Mars talk was managed.
5. Did a reading of a small section of Aztec Dance Tunes, for which I was totally ill-prepared, and greatly enjoyed the readings of my far-more-prepared and brilliant readingmates, Karen Meisner, Lauren McLaughlin and Claire Light.
6. Speaking of which, Lauren’s reading piece is now up on Salon. Go read "The Perfect Man."
7. Once again, I didn’t meet Lawrence Schimel, although there was an unfortunate mix-up at the Ratbastards’ now-legendary karaoke dance party where I introduced myself to someone I thought was Lawrence Schimel, only turned out not to be, and, um, thought I was hitting on him. And was thus bewildered when I spooked and ran saying, "No! No!" when he asked, "Are you a cowgirl? Not even on the inside?" Whoops.
8. Lots of people it was great to see (more listing to come), including the Hugo-nominated John Scalzi (and his better half Krissy), who has posted some fab pictures including this one. Though perhaps I hadn’t counted on seeing quite this much of him. You have to admire someone who’s such a good sport. I’ll be sending the shirtless striptease photo later today, sir.
10. It was beyond great to have a substantial amount of time with some of the posse: Kelly Link, Gavin Grant (who read from another great new story), Richard Butner (ditto), Barb Gilly (master mimic), Ted Chiang (bringer of logic), etc.
11. A few of us went on the batting clean-up field trip to see X3 yesterday (most people had been earlier in the festivities) — Christopher, Richard and Barb, Kelly and Gavin, Holly, Jeremy Lassen (VIP motherfucker) and Ted — then proceeded to tear it apart, while stilling bringing the geek love for the Xies. Problems aside, still a great deal of fun. If a grim, grim movie. And hello, can you really make plot points be people dying when we KNOW they aren’t really dead? The whole movie is predicated on a mysterious resurrection. C’mon! Actually, my favorite thing is that earlier that morning we’d been talking about lame devices that are overused in fiction written by children and other beginners, such as ending chapters with people constantly being knocked out or falling alseep, and Kristin added that she’d recently reread something she wrote as a pre-teen and was shocked at the amount of gazing off balconies … which is, of course, how X3 ends. With Wolvie staring forlornly off a balcony.
12. Chris Barzak is back in the U.S. of A. And is now SF’s official Master of Revels. This also makes me very, very, very, very, very happy; a happiness which would only be greater if I’d been able to monopolize a greater deal of time with him. But, still: yay!
13. Midori Snyder‘s daughter Taiko has the Best Voice Ever.
14. A completely embarrassing (in the good way) moment in which Midori introduced me to Terri Windling and revealed that she reads this blog. I am truly not worthy. (There was a droolworthy art by Terri in the art show; Christopher and I bought a couple of pieces after much deliberation over which we a) liked best and b) could swing the $$ for.)
15. I hate doing these things because I’m forgetting stuff and people.
16. Lovely sushi dinner with the gang. At our table, Matt Ruff and his wife Lisa Gold, Christopher, Kelly and me. Matt and Lisa were great dinner companions and I’ll definitely be picking up Margarettown by Gabrielle Zevin off his rec.
17. The Death of the Panel panel lasted for about five minutes and then we had a long give and take about alternatives to the panel and issues and ideas about how to make them better. Secretly, I am thinking the whole time: While that sounds fun, I go to readings and the bar.
18. The list of folks it was beyond the awesome to see/hang with/meet (who haven’t been pre-mentioned): Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld (as per usual, though not nearly enough of them this time), Doselle Young (though not enough of his wife Janine), Darice, Shana Cohen, Dave Schwartz (who I feel tragic for missing the reading of), Judith Berman, Sharyn November, Hannah Wolf Bowen, (Dr.) Susan Groppi and Matt Withers (whose fake blog is a mystery to me), David Moles, Ben Rosenbaum (mostly shirted), Chance Morrison (who I don’t think I saw after Saturday night; wah!), the fabulous Marcia, Carol Emswhiller, (H)Al Duncan, Jim Minz, Elad Haber, Alan DeNiro (karaoke star), Veronica Schanoes, Elizabeth Bear (except I kept seeing her from a distance, so this goes in the lame category of "see"), Steph Burgis and Patrick Samphire (oh, for more time!), Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw, Mary Rickert and Brian the Best Bartender Ever. Man, I hate this part. And the headsmacking of gobsmacking forgetfulness that will happen later, but, well, my memory is not good for this litany of names stuff.
19. Oddly, this year, this all sounds much more exhausting than it was. Despite worries of the "largest Wiscon ever" being unwieldy and stressful, it, well, wasn’t. Note how many times I’ve used the phrase best ever in this post.
20. It’s good to be home. I saw a camel, right up next to the road, eating grass. No, really.