Con Report

Recovering from three days of almost no sleep at Readercon, and slowly making my way through a mammoth pile of business cards.

It went very well–people actually showed up to my reading, despite my being scheduled opposite China Mieville, the Guest of Honor, which I assumed meant there would be a distinct echo in the room. But to my surprise, it was about 75% full,, and I think the audience was amused and horrified at the right moments. My panel on political systems in fantasy was quite interesting, and I got to meet tnh for the first time. Since the rest of the panel didn’t show up, it was me, tnh, and Kelly Link, until Kelly pulled Alan DeNiro up to fill us out. So I felt a little, well…one of these things is not like the others…but someone asked a question at the end which is still banging around my head–maybe you can answer it better than I. The very last comment at the buzzer-line for the hour was “What kind of political systems require a fantastic framework to be explored?” I’m not sure I have an answer, but I suspect there is one.

I finally got to meet Greer Gilman, a heroine of mine, who was much more bright and sunny and delightful than I expected…I think I always picture more Annis-like authoresses, and feel suitably intimidated until I’ve met them at least three times and the other face hasn’t whipped around. Silly me.

The Meet the Pros party was very loud and long and fun, mostly because of the excellent idea of having stickers with lines from the authors’ work to collect–it meant not having to skip meeting people on account of having nothing pertinent to say other than “Hi. Um. Yeah.” I did meet China and he is far less scary-seeming when he talks, since he always dresses impeccably and has that serious-auteur shaved head, but is really quite open and friendly. I was also totally floored that he knew me already due to my having “a lot of web presence.” Okay…let’s pretend I knew that. And the whole conversation with him and rosefox cracked me up–regarding Charles Platt’s novel Garbageworld‘s influence on Mr. Mieville. I nodded and smiled but my brain was going “O rly, you think? Ubiquitous garbage and swill was an influence? I read Perdido, man, I could have told you that.”

We also met an astounding number of Cleveland area writers–here’s hoping I can meet up with some of them now that I’m home. And that first night, I had a long conversation with circehellene after the bar kicked us out–she’s quite a woman, and actually made me feel like I have a future. I don’t think I have felt so buoyed by a single discussion since college–I must have really been in the pit of things. Thank you, dear.

The poetry readings went well, I think, at least, I sold a lot of poetry at my signing. Congrats to time_shark on his win–he performs his poetry most fetchingly. And I got to finally dedicate “Eight Legs” to my great-grandmother, who would have been utterly flabbergasted to know that her grandchild was up in front of folks reading about her.

On to a fabulous and epic Indian dinner with…deep breath: sovay, rushthatspeaks, nineweaving, raxvulpine, eredien, yhlee, godlyperspectiv, grailquestion, lesser_celery, 2muchexposition, and hans_the_bold. Much good conversation and puns were to be had, complete with my evangelizing about my new favorite novel, Tonguecat, which is no longer in print in the US, but you should all definitely be picking up used copies, because it is brilliant, y’all. Utterly stunning language, and a plot with everything you could ask for in the way of fairy tales, city-based fantasy, environment-based SF, and then on top of that, Prometheus. It’s kind of like a novel-length Rapid Advance of Sorrow, which happens to currently be my favorite short story of all time. Gavin Grant sold me Tonguecat at Wiscon, and I can’t thank him enough–and incidentally, he usually has copies at the Small Beer table at cons. I haven’t been this excited about a book in ages.

Saturday night was sort of amazing and quasi-holy. Ellen_kushner and Delia Sherman took to the green room with a guitar and several of us sat around singing folk songs until the wee hours. I actually shivered, listening to all of us sing Wild Mountain Thyme. Really something else–otherspace.

The Interstitial Arts discussion was truly inspiring–makes my brain whirl with plans. Often online one sees the word “interstitial” used in an ironic or tongue in cheek manner, but I think I understand much more about it now, which is itself ironic since I was on the panel in the first place. But interstitiality is where it’s at, as far as I’m concerned, though I think the wisest thing said on the panel (can’t recall who said it, might have been EK again) was that artists are always working beyond the theory, waiting for the theory to catch up.

Thanks to ellen_kushner asking me about my Prime books early in the panel, several audience members followed me directly to my signing, which, shockingly, was not a barren wasteland of me sitting embarrassed at the table. I thought it was optimistic of the programming folks to assign me an hour by myself, but it went by in a blink, and I sold several books and talked to wonderful people and actually signed things. I’m not Dora Goss yet, who spends 3/4 of any con hunched in a hall signing things, but I’m not a total loser, I think.

I also, against all better judgement, acquired an elisem necklace, “Portrait of the Alchemist as a Young Woman.” I had to. It’s so gorgeous, and it makes me feel like I can write anything. And the wicked temptress let me wear it through my signing, so by the end of the hour, I couldn’t bear to take it off. Ah well, I love it so. You can see it here–it’s far bigger than it looks, and loops around me like golden rope. I watched her make it all weekend, and once it was around my neck, it was just mine. I had no choice, you know? Usually so practical, this Taurus girl. At least I got to trade several of my books for a chunk of the price. That makes it ok, right?

All in all, I barely slept and hardly sat down for three days. I’m exhausted. I have so much work to do. More on the emotional impact of cons when I recover, but for now, plans within plans, and Cat working her fingers to bones.

Oh, wait, and naufiel! Naufiel, who came to all of my events, and gave me such a big hug when I arrived, and is so beautiful and fun and awesome and even more cleavagey than me (I got more comments about my bustline at this con…) anyway, Look at Miss Ohio! Here’s looking at you kid, the two Miss Ohios who aren’t really Miss Ohios. And there were my darling G & G, who have yet to miss a con with me and sat up in the room cutting bookmarks with a portable papercutter and took photographs and are just the most wonder-ful support network a girl could ask for. Takes a village to raise a book, you know. Does Ohio make the best people? Possible.

Posted in Blog Posts

207 Responses to Con Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *