I had a painfully long…

I had a painfully long drive up to Wheeling yesterday -- it wouldn't have been so long or so painful, but my Garmin got confused about street names and location at the end, and it took quite a bit of driving around in circles (making actual u-turns more than once) before I figured it out. With me, of course, getting increasingly stressed as I went from early to my panel to barely on time to actually late to quite late. I HATE HATE HATE being late to things. It makes me crazy. I think it was twenty minutes into the panel before I arrived -- luckily, they had spent the first twenty minutes talking about movies, which I have mostly not seen because my kids still make it pretty hard to leave the house for an entire movie. So not much damage done in the end.

After the panel, I got to have lunch with John Scalzi -- a really nice meal, where we ordered the exact same dishes and found ourselves in basic agreement on almost everything. :-) I tried to talk him into centering more of his fiction on class-based writing; given his background, I think it would be fascinating and powerful. He's been thinking about it. We'll see what happens. And in the meantime, it's so lovely to see one of my authors doing so well. Obligatory note that I am strangely proprietary about the first few years of Strange Horizons authors, and tend to have a kind of foster-parent relationship with them. Entirely in my own head, and manifesting only in how proud I am of them when they succeed, so it's not quite as weird and creepy as it sounds. And John is succeeding magnificently, and I am so proud of him. It's also just fun talking to someone smart and quick-witted with the dialogue -- John went to U of C, and spending time with him reminded me of the geeky folk I loved back at U Chicago. Sometimes it was a rush being surrounded by them, even when I couldn't understand a word they were saying. Luckily, I could understand John. Lunch was such a pleasure.

I would have liked to have more time with him -- as we were leaving, we started to talk about Egypt and Mubarak, and I think it could have been an enlightening discussion for me. I still don't know nearly as much about the situation there as I feel I should, and John tends to be very up on politics. But time ran short; I had to get home to pick up the kids from school. Ah well -- I talked about the politics some with Jed on the phone on the way back. Although admittedly, I was mostly wanting to be jubilant and excited for the Egyptian people, and Jed was much cooler and more cynical about the whole thing -- as he said at one point, he came close to 'harshing my mellow'. But he didn't succeed, and I remain really rather thrilled. Dictator ousted, no violence on the part of the protestors. Major point for the Egyptian people, and for satyagraha. I do think Gandhi would be pleased.

Now I am crossing my fingers and toes and hoping all goes smoothly going forward. I heard on NPR yesterday that something like 85 countries have ousted dictators in the past decade, but only 30 have made the transition to a peaceful democratic government. We'll see what happens.

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