Yes, I survived WorldCon…

Yes, I survived WorldCon -- but just barely.

The problem wasn't WorldCon itself, but rather the immense stack of reading and classroom prep I returned to when I got back...I'm still digging myself out from under the backlog, though I hope to be all caught up by Thursday afternoon. I managed to frantically read enough Monday night and Tuesday morning to be semi-prepared and coherent for classes, but I really *hate* only having read part of the assignment. No more!

The con itself was pretty decent, as WorldCons go. It's a big, intimidating thing, a WorldCon, and it's much easier to feel lost and frustrated at it than at a smaller con, I think. But I had my trusty Jed by my side (and I may make light of it now, but he kept me from exhausted tears at least once, and I am very glad to have had him with me), and a resolution to try to relax at least some of the time, to eat enough and sleep enough, and while I didn't manage that last one, I came closer than I might have. Gods, it's weird going to bed at 3 a.m. every night. I'm so glad I don't do that normally. I missed mornings.

There were various lovely things about the con. One highlight was meeting up with Cecilia to finish editing our book proposal, and then handing it off to Betsy Mitchell of Warner. Fingers crossed. She may not take the book, but at least she treated us like real people, which is a hopeful sign. If she isn't interested, I suppose we'll make the rounds at Ace and Tor and such, but really, Warner is ideal for this particular book. Will see how it goes.

People also said many fabulous things about Strange Horizons. Perhaps the best example of that was when I was sitting in the front row in a big panel on magazine publishing in the future -- the panelists were comparing stats for electronic magazines, and I raised my hand to add ours. I had gotten as far as, "I'm Mary Anne Mohanraj, and I publish Strange Horizons, an online prozine -- " when this wave of applause swept through the room. It was a big hall, and while I couldn't tell for certain, it sure sounded like at least half the people were cheering us on. That was an incredibly good moment. The tea party went very well too, and just generally, people only had nice things to say about the magazine. Some of the more established pros even took the time to give us their take on things -- it's awfully nice to be treated like a professional editor. :-) I mean, I am one, I know -- but that's not the same thing as being accepted as one.

One of the best things, of course, was meeting two more of my staff. Will, our webmaster, is a charming 20-something, usually wearing a hat. Slim, sweet -- and he sings! He and Sunita, one of our art editors, joined me and Jed Friday night for round-singing, which was also thoroughly enjoyable. What I like best about round-singing is that you get to sing the whole time -- *and* it's okay if you're not quite certain of the notes, 'cause you can drop out and other people will keep going. Sunita was staying with a friend, rather than at the hotel, so she didn't stay late, and I'm sorry we didn't get to spend more time together, but we had a lovely full day before the con started, when I went to stay at her house for the night, meet her family, etc. and so on. Lots of fun. It was great meeting them both, and meeting lots of SH authors, and of course seeing all my old friends and acquaintances.

Honestly, though -- the best part of my weekend for me was probably Saturday evening, when Jed and I took the train down to Swarthmore, where he went to college. I'm not sure I can describe it well to you -- I wish Jed kept a journal! We walked up the campus to the main building, wandered over to the bell tower, which was just gorgeous -- I think I fell in love with it. Then we walked past lots of brick buildings as the last light was fading from the sky. By the time we decided to walk into the woods (there are actual woods! right on campus! (when I was telling David this on the phone this afternoon, he said, "oh, right -- you were on an urban campus." Ayup. Chicago had grassy quads, and a lake nearby, but definitely no woods.)), it had gotten completely dark. The trees hid most of the moonlight. We picked our way down through the woods, with me leaning on him and trying hard not to twist my ankle (I hadn't packed hiking shoes for the convention!), trying to make our way by the barely lighter spot that seemed to be in front of us. Eventually we emerged from the woods, onto a wide meadow, filled with spilling moonlight. At one end, strange concrete stubs stuck up from the grass, of varying shapes and heights. Abstract art? A workman's prank? Who knows? I could have stayed down there a long time, but we had a train to catch, so we didn't linger too long. (On the way back up, we used his penlight. Much easier! :-) It really was very peaceful down there; I can so easily imagine Jedediah in that setting. It's nice to see a little of where he came from.

It's thunderstorming now, and I should probably go lie in bed and enjoy the rainy breeze coming in my bedroom window. More work in the morning -- preparing a presentation and a quiz and doing a little poetry commenting. (Eventually, I'll have to do poetry grading, which frankly terrifies me, but we'll worry about that when we come to it.) I think I can do all that in two hours...hmm...though maybe I should be prudent and allow a little more time. Two and a half hours will still get me eight hours sleep, if I don't stay up much later. I could use that sleep -- my lingering cold got worse during the convention, unsurprisingly. I plan to rest lots this weekend, though, so no worries.

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