WisCon was great. …

WisCon was great. Utterly exhausting -- I just fell asleep again for three hours, and I wouldn't be surprised if I did that a second time today, because I think I averaged about four hours sleep a night for four nights. I was just so jazzed the whole time; I didn't even feel as tired as I normally would, but it's finally hitting me now.

Memorable moments:


  • arguing with Ursula K. LeGuin -- but I swear, I didn't mean to. I just had a hard time articulating what I wanted to say about the need to prioritize artistic message over accessibility to a wide range of readers -- without discounting the need for those efforts at accessibility. She got annoyed with me, and I wanted to burst into tears. But luckily, I think I managed to restate my fuzzy ideas better a bit later in the panel, and I think she isn't annoyed with me anymore. I hope. It's no fun, having one of your heroes annoyed with you.

  • eating dinner with David Moles -- the hot plate level 4 was just as good as I remembered, the noodles were even better, and the company was the best. Someone tell me what restaurant that was.

  • dancing the Time Warp at karaoke night, after hours of being regaled with impressive vocal stylings (I think David's sister Carolyn was the most talented, although Ben did take his shirt off, which has to win some kind of points) -- I reverted entirely back to high school, and danced so enthusiastically that I looked like a complete spaz. Ridiculous amounts of fun. Jenn and I also enjoyed belting out Holding Out for Hero in the audience in support of Susan's karaoke efforts. It may be a bit dangerous to imprint on that song in high school. Please imagine us essentially screaming the words: I need a hero! The boys around us looked a little scared.

  • getting policeman knocking on my door at 4:30 a.m., warning that if they got another noise complaint, I might be evicted -- and no, I wasn't even having sex. Ben and I were apparently *talking* too loud! About family and children and story collections and life. I like having late-night con conversations with Ben. It's turning into a tradition.


  • talking with Dan Percival about monogamy and poly and boundaries and how one talks to boys and in what circumstances and whether boys are likely to know how to talk back and writing and story and dystopias which aren't actually dystopias. He also gives great shoulder rubs when you're sitting in the Governer's Club with a drink in front of you, the view of the Capitol to your left, and many friends surrounding you. Possibly elsewhere too, but that's the one I can vouch for.

  • coffee with Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, Terri Windling, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman. I'm sure you can imagine exactly how awesome it was, sitting in Michelangelo's with those folk. It made me want to rush right out and read their books all over again (and gaze at Terri's art). We had an intense and hopefully productive conversation about an exciting upcoming project. More details soon, as they coalesce.

  • late night conversations with Jedediah, some intense, some not, all good. None loud enough to rate a visit from the cops.


  • sitting on what I expected would be a silly panel about choosing between reading and sex, which turned into a wide-ranging discussion of the human need for touch -- and the human need for mental stimulation, communication, conversation. The density of literature. The varying degrees of touch-hunger, and touch-aversion. The desperation for the written word, at the breakfast table, in doctor's offices, in foreign countries. The ways in which we can starve ourselves, and how parts of our selves start shutting down. Becoming accustomed to levels of intensity. In forty-five minutes, I learned a lot, and I got to talk to one of the most interesting audience participants at greater length later in the con.

  • at the Strange Horizons tea party (fabulous as always, and Dr. Groppi has turned into a perfect host), eating scones with clotted cream and jam while Susan's cousin Jackie [insert last name?] led me into a discussion on the value of admitting your crushes, whether you have any hope of fulfilling them or not -- a discussion that eventually spread to a dozen other folks, including the objects of a couple of my crushes. :-)

  • the Carl Brandon awards ceremony -- when Susan Vaught handed back her $1000 award, with a request that it be donated to the Octavia Butler scholarship fund, I started crying. I wasn't the only one.

  • signing copies of the paperback (and some hardcover) of Bodies in Motion -- so many people bought/brought copies, and in the inscriptions I got to tell a few people, like Debbie Notkin, just how much I appreciated all I've learned from them. I also got to burble out loud about how gorgeous a book the pb is. It is very very gorgeous.

  • talking with Ben and David and Jackie at the tail end of my book launch party about whether, if you take away the biological aspects of gender and the social construct aspects of gender, there's anything left. The answer would seem to be obviously 'no', I know, but oddly enough, I'm not quite convinced. And I managed to confuse them enough that they argued with me for two hours about it.


  • reading "A Tightness in the Chest," dedicating the story to the guys I know who have taught me all I know about guys -- two of those guys were sitting in the audience.

  • talking to Cliff while packing up the dealer's table, about good things and good people, some unexpected, some not.

  • driving back to Chicago with David, talking the whole way, wanting WisCon to not be over.

WisCon. It's the best con.

Final WisCon note: if you see any more photos of me in my red sari, could you let me know? My mom gave me that sari, and she hasn't seen me in it, so I'd love to send her a photo, and lord knows when I'll have an opportunity to wear a fancy sari again... The photo of me and Ben is cute (and it's cool that he could pass for N. Indian in the sherwani I loaned him), but it disturbs my mother when she sees me snuggling with strange men (and you must admit that Ben is quite strange), so I'd rather send her a solo photo. :-)

Photos courtesy Jed Hartman.

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5 thoughts on “WisCon was great. …”

  1. I’m guessing the restaurant was Vientiane Palace, the Laotian/Thai place. Yummy.

    I really wish I’d been there for the conversation about biological and social aspects of gender; sounds like it tied in very nicely with stuff we were talking about on my panel. Alas! One can never participate in all of the conversations. Very sad.

    I’m pretty sure I have a photo of you in the sari but I haven’t yet downloaded my photos from my camera. Remind me.

  2. Mary Anne, as always, it was such a pleasure seeing you at Wiscon. I’m so glad I had such admirable cohorts during “Holding Out for a Hero”!

    Also, you looked absolutely radiant this con, and that was before I even saw you in the sari. Wowza. I know I have at least one picture, but that the lighting was bad. I’ll try to send it tonight. 🙂

  3. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Jed, yes, that’s right. Between that place, Noodles’s penne rosa, and the yum sushi at the place right next to the hotel, I ate well.

    It was great seeing you too, Jenn — wish we’d had more time to talk on our own. The curse of conventions. What I really need to do is talk everyone into visiting Chicago. I can sleep a lot of people at my place, if they’re friendly. 🙂

    Sweet of you to say I looked radiant — I was awfully happy this con, happier than I’ve been in a long while. Maybe it showed.

  4. Yep, it showed. You looked fabulous.

    And Jed, if the photo of me in the outfit for the Venetian Ball came out I’d appreciate a copy. Thanks!

  5. I second the radiance comment — you were gorgeous this con (not that you aren’t usually, but you were beaming a bit more than usual). It was lovely seeing you and I wish I could’ve hung out with you more. Tim and I are planning to visit my family in Indiana this October or November, and we’ll be road-tripping up to Chicago for a day or two to visit my uncle. I’m hoping we can also schedule a visit to you as well!

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