Well, I *think* it’s the…

Well, I *think* it's the eleventh, anyway. No calendar nearby, and it's been so long since I updated this...oh well. I'm sure someone will correct me, though i f you do, send it to moh2@rainbow.uchicago.edu, 'cause I can't access the lanminds account until I get back to California on Saturday night.

So, I'm in CT. Sorry I didn't write sooner, but WorldCon was even more intense and exhausting than expected -- even though I could access this account, I didn't ha ve the mental energy to deal with journaling. But today I have both energy and tim e, so settle in, and I'll try to give you an idea of what the last week was like.

I actually ended up leaving home even earlier than I needed to -- it was getting hot, and I knew the airport would be air conditioned, so I had David drop me off before rush hour traffic (barely) instead of after. So I got to the airport aro und 3:30ish for a 9 p.m. flight. Mostly spent the time reading, as I mentioned in m y airport journal entry (instead of writing as I'd virtuously planned), but did finally read _Tales of the City_, which I picked up in a bookstore and read the first page of and then read a few more pages and then sat down on the floor and read fifty pages and then bought the darn thing, even though I had several other books in my bag 'cause I had to know how it finished. Tremendously good set of linked stories of fascinating people in San Francisco -- highly recommended for both the native and the tourist. I gave my copy to Nancy (Clarion classmate) as a thank-you-for-letting-me-stay-with-you-present, and now will have to go buy anot her one, as this is a book I definitely want to own. I'm blanking on the authors na me -- Armistead Maupin, maybe? Something like that? I finished the book around th e time the plane took off.

Thought I would sleep, but didn't for a while. Squirmed around in the seats (luckily no one sitting next to me, so I got to put the arm up and have space fo r two), finally lying down with pillow and blanket (yes, I'm small. I can rest my head on the armrest by the window and curl up relatively comfortably). But I wa s still wide awake. Eventually they came by with food service, which I didn't eat , but I did get a glass of wine (which they never did bring me back my change for) , and tried to scribble some poetry which mostly didn't work -- I wonder where tha t is -- and finally dozed off for an hour or two.

Ah, found the poetry. On post-its, as that was all I had in my bag by way of pa per (and the Tower Air flight attendants couldn't seem to find me any full-size; ver y annoying). I'll post the drafts below, but I think they need serious work -- was fuzzy-headed when I wrote them.

Measuring Love

      In my unreasonable fondness
      for his chewed-up pens?

In his sitting, always, by my side
until I fall asleep?

      In nine-hour long-distance conversations
      about politics, rather than relationships?

In the curl of hair on his chest,
and the strength of his hands?

      In blond
brown
    hair, soft in my fingers; in a thumping heart under my ear?

    I am comparing pounds and liters, inches and centimeters.

How to measure
      who I love
    more?

*****

Ugh. I'll spare you the other one until I revise it more. I was very tired.

Arrived in New York around 5:30 a.m., quite fuzzy-headed. As a result, almost g ot taken. See, I knew I needed to get to Penn Station to catch my train to Baltimo re, and I knew I had hours to do it in. So I was going to catch the subway, yes? O nly I asked a man in uniform where the entrance was, and he said that it wasn't runn ing yet. I was a little bewildered, but okay, and when he called over a cabbie, wen t along with the man. Got to the cab, and the guy settled me in the front, told m e it'd be $40. That was way more than I'd planned on spending, but I wasn't sure how far it was to Penn Station from JFK. He said that this was a shared cab and it would be a lot more if I took a regular Yellow Cab, and that the subway wouldn't start running until 8 a.m. Then he told me to wait a minute, and he'd be right back. I sat there for a few minutes, while it slowly dawned on me that I was probably being taken. Got out, trying to figure out how to open the trunk when he came back. He argued a little, but finally got him to admit that the subway was in fact running -- but he didn't think I'd want to take it with my bags, that it wasn't safe. Was really pretty angry at that point, but being the polite person I am, I just got my bags and walked back across the parking lot to the airport. A t that point I was realizing how heavy my bags were, but there was no way I was taking a cab. Asked someone where the subway was, and they told me, but also sa id they were doing a shuttle for $12 or so instead, and I decided that was just fin e with me. Ended up having a really good shuttle ride -- of the six passengers, o ne happened to be from Los Gatos (where Kevin's family lives) and told me some interesting things about real estate (her field), and another was this charming older woman who'd defected from Rumania years ago. We had a wonderful conversation, so the morning wasn't a total loss. I did feel like a bit of an idiot, though...

Oof -- if I cover the rest of the week in this much detail, it'll take pages and pages. Skimming over the high points:

  • Absolutely wonderful seeing some of my Clarion classmates again. Nancy, Therese, Robert and I spent the most time together, and by the end of it, I didn 't want to leave them. Funny how Clarion can bring you so quickly to feeling like family. Also saw Bill and Ceej and Naomi at the tail end of the Con, which was a pleasure. Ceej has lost a lot of weight and been exercising and looks fabulous -- good for her! And Bill is out with a new book, _Blood Lines_, which is in my backpack even now, waiting to be read.
  • My panels all went swimmingly. The first was an education and sf panel (wit h notables David Brin and Greg Bear), where I found myself volunteering to coordin ate assembling a sf/education booklist and lesson plans. I need to learn how to construct a searchable database for the web. Oof. I volunteer too much. And w as impromptu called up onto another panel on related subject later in the day, whic h was also very interesting. I do strongly believe in the value of using sf in education, and I have a head start on this with the booklists I've already put together, so perhaps it won't be too bad. The Future of Erotica panel was packe d, despite (or because of) its midnight scheduling. Great fun panelling with Cecel ia Tan, as always, and met Michael Capobianco and Jagi Lamplighter as well.
  • Met tons of interesting people, both famous and non. Would take too long to list them all, and I'm not sure what good it would do (other than to prod my pathetic memory)
  • Favorite new person is Alex -- hey Alex! Alex was my one fan at the convent ion (okay, eventually I met his brother Michael, but Alex was there for the entire c on, so he has seniority), and it was great fun hanging out with him. He even put me up one night when I couldn't find Nancy and Therese (bad planning on my part, but worked out quite all right).
  • The critiquing workshop went very well too, and I have a favorite new hard s f novelist to watch as a result. Catherine Asaro was one of the other industry professionals, and her first novel, _Primary Inversions_, was really interesting . She's a physicist by trade, so I'm told she gets the science right, and the star-spanning political machinations and heart-wrenching pscyhological difficult ies of the characters are exactly my style. I'm looking forward eagerly to the November sequel, and in the meantime, plan to pick up her other books.
  • Perhaps the most solid fun of the Con were the hours of the Clarion party (impromptu organization by Michele, Brian and yours truly) on Saturday night. M et Clarionites and teachers from several years, interesting conversations with Mike and Wolf and Andy Duncan and Greg Bear (the last on erotica), had some scotch (m y sole drink of the entire con), and was really happy (if tired) throughout. One of the Clarion '98 people is in the Bay Area (Susan), and I'm looking forward to getting together with her when I get back.

  • And most hopefully, people were generally quite enthusiastic about Clean Sheets. They weren't sure I could pull it off, but they seemed to think I had a better chance of making an online zine work than most, which was encouraging.

Well, my sister is waiting for me, so I'd best get going. The Con wasn't entire ly perfect -- a few people got on my nerves, and I was very exhausted for most of i t, and I ate badly -- but I definitely think it was worth the trip; productive and I had a lot of fun. Hope I can scrape together the money for AussieCon next year, and my schedule permits my going...

Talk to y'all later...

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