This was an odd…

This was an odd convention. Many good moments, pleasant conversations, but overall, more stressful than usual. I think part of it was that Jed wasn't there -- I'm used to having his steadying presence at cons, and I missed him lots. Part of it was that everyone there was a pro -- I know some pros find that relaxing, but I actually appreciate the presence of fans. I like having lots of people around who are just there to enjoy themselves, with no desire to do any business at all. The business-y awareness started getting to me after a while.

That said, there were plenty of good times to be had. Some high points:

  • Introducing Karen to McKennitt's Book of Secrets CD on the way to Minneapolis. She loved it, and rightfully so. I was very pleased.

  • Driving around Minneapolis early in the morning on Saturday, picking up supplies for the SH tea party. The sun was bright and everything was gorgeous. It just made me really happy, for no good reason. Along with supplies, I got orange juice and croissants and a copy of Vogue -- brought them back to the room and spent a nice lazy hour with Karen and Susan.

  • Broad Universe reading: smooth and lovely. Karen read for the first time, a wonderful poem about Medea, full of slant rhyme and compelling rhythms. Very nice. Lots of other good stuff. Must do again.

  • Laurel Winter (author of Growing Wings, an award-winning children's book which I really do mean to read soon) totally falling in love with one of my art pieces and telling everyone how fabulous it was. Especially appreciated because none of my art actually sold this con. Apparently, this really isn't much of a selling convention -- lots of beautiful art, but the artists are there to try to sell book covers, not the art itself. In part because there are so few fans at this con, I suppose. Interesting dynamic, but a bit depressing. Don't think I'll bother to bring heavy glass art to one of these again -- maybe the bound books, though, since they're easy to carry.

  • SH tea party: went wonderfully, as usual. Since Jed didn't come and work his tech magic, we didn't have the magazine up on my laptop -- instead, we used WebTV, which worked surprisingly smoothly (though the wireless keyboard was a pain to use...kept duplicating or skipping keystrokes, and the resolution was rather sad). The main advantage was that the tv was hard to miss, so more people actually looked at the magazine than normally do (including Joe Haldeman :-). We co-sponsored this party with Eileen Gunn of Infinite Matrix, which was a good choice, I think. We both brought in some readers, and cross-pollinated a bit. Good time had by all.

  • A really amazing dinner with Jaime Levine and Cecilia Tan at fancy Swedish restaurant Aquavit. The food was so very good. It turns out that Jaime also went to U of C, which didn't induce her to offer us a book deal, but which did make for some fun reminiscing. And the book deal (for the Asian spec fic anthology) is not completely out of the question...we're reworking our proposal for her to look at again. We'll see. Was an absoutely wonderful time, however the book thingie goes.

  • An interesting panel on sexuality in YA novels followed by Sharyn November (of Penguin's Firebird books line) offering to look at my YA novel (Swati, the one I started this summer), and being willing to take three chapters and an outline. I can do that much, surely.

  • Nalo's collection, Skin Folk, winning the World Fantasy Award -- woohoo! Good collection, lots of great stories. Yay, Nalo!

  • Doug Lain, Harry LeBlanc, Alan DeNiro, Kristin Livdahl, Chris Barzak, Christopher Rowe, Jennifer Lackey, Cecilia Tan, Connie Wilkins, Jo Walton, Dave Smeds, Lyda Morehouse, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Ellen Datlow, Pamela Dean (and her sweeties), Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Patrick Swanswon, Jim van Pelt, Jay Lake -- friends I like talking to, authors and editors whose work I enjoy. It was a pleasure to spend time with them all, and the ones I've forgotten to list...

  • Riding in the car to the B&B, after the convention, staring out the window and suddenly realizing that there's no good reason not to make the background war in Swati based on the Sri Lankan civil war, and lots of good reasons to do it. A whole bunch of stuff just clicked beautifully into place, making me eager to start work on this novel after I finish up Kathryn. At some point, I have to do some reading, of course. But if I do use this backdrop, then I may actually be able to fold the novel into my dissertation work. Which lets me use department funding to research it, etc. Incredible insight, possibly worth the entire convention's time, money, and effort.

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