So, Wiscon. The first thing on Thursday was a meeting with Broad Universe's board (I'm on the advisory board), where I mostly monopolized the meeting for an hour talking about Mary Anne's Compulsive Plans to Organize Everything and Thereby Actually Get Things Done. Some of which I think they may take as useful and implement. This turned out to be something of a theme this weekend -- I had similar conversations with the Clarion East fundraising people, and the Interstitial Arts people. Carl Brandon is moving in similar directions, but you can subsitutute "Victor" for "Mary Anne" in the phrase above for that group. :-) A lot of interesting groups have been formed in the genre in the last few years, with great ideas and goals, and with lots of smart people working on them -- it's exciting, watching them move towards a more...ummm...goal-oriented model. My conclusion on all this is that most of them need a) a project manager and b) many more committees to organize their volunteer staff. That seems do-able.
After the meeting, things were leisurely for a bit. I called my folks and Kev and such and let them know about the conversation with Bob that I'd had just before the BU meeting (such a terrific start to the convention -- the timing really couldn't have been better for getting that news). Then met up with my Jedediah who had just gotten in, and headed over to A Room of One's Own bookstore to hear McKillip and Arnason, the guests of honor, read. Very nice. After the reading, we went to Karen's for barbecue, big hunks of ground beef grilled by her manly Swede, which somehow felt very appropriate. I also toasted marshmallows with Jeremiah. :-) Stayed up lateish talking with Ben Rosenbaum and Susan Groppi and Ted Chiang -- I'm afraid we bored Susan a bit when we got into a detailed discussion of agents -- how you pick 'em. Ben advocates spreadsheets. :-)
Friday morning, Susan and I headed back to the hotel pretty early. I actually did a workout with weights and went for a swim, which made me feel excessively virtuous. Around noonish, the dealer's room opened for set-up, so I spent a while setting up the SLF Small Press Co-op table (also my stuff in the art show). Very exciting. I got to use my plexiglass brochure holders. I'll note that full-size flyers tend to flop over a bit, and that tri-folded brochures or other smaller pieces like bookmarks and postcards stay much more upright and visible. We need to make a trifolded membership brochure for the SLF. On the list. The banner looked gorgeous, though it was actually too high! Somehow I had just assumed the tables were three feet off the ground, which turned out to be patently untrue. Was okay, though -- we just folded the top over the edge of the table and it still ended up looking really good, and hopefully will for many dealer's rooms to come.
Various people helped to staff the table, so I wasn't completely stuck there -- I think for next time, though, I'll schedule myself there even less than I did. For this con, pretty much whenever I wasn't actually on a panel, I was at the table.
I think it was this day that I had a panel called "Fishing in the Mainstream" about cross-genre stuff. Went well. Interesting panelists, good conversation. Too much to try to summarize, though we did have a particularly interesting conversation about endings, happy or otherwise, and the differences between how they play out in the genre and in the mainstream. I also chided people for using 'literary' and 'mainstream' interchangeably -- I'm trying really hard to use 'mainstream' when I'm referring to the genre, and 'literary fiction' only occasionally for that sub-genre -- mostly, I reserve the word 'literary' for actual quality descriptions (and thus apply it to both literary mainstream work and literary spec fic work) and try to avoid using it as a definition of a kind of genre. I hope that made sense. I'm also trying to use 'spec fic fiction' rather than 'genre fiction', though that's much more of an uphill battle, even just in my own head. But I do think it's important that we acknowledge that 'mainstream' is a genre definition. The word 'genre' is too useful to let it stand in vaguely for spec fic -- or sometimes, and unpredictably, spec fic + horror and/or romance and/or mystery.
Dinner with Jed and others at a Laotian-Thai place two blocks away, which I liked so much that I ended up eating there again. Their very-spicy is *almost* too hot for me to eat. Yum. In the evening, wandering the parties. I'm forgetting what the main parties were that I spent time at that night. It all turns into a blur so quickly...