Tim Pratt's Journal
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2005-05-31 6:55 PM
WisCon Highlight Reel
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There is no chance of my writing a coherent, chronological, and complete convention report. I've reluctantly decided not to try. For years I've been a great believer in documenting my life in as complete detail as possible (though that detail has steadily decreased, from the time when I wrote extensive handwritten daily journal entries to now, with these fragmented tropism entries), but I'm going to keep going to conventions, and I sort of like the way they blur together in my mind as a kind of vast meta-convention of memory, so we're going to follow that route instead. But, of course, I should mention some of the highlights, mostly sans links, because I am tired, and because Google is your helpmeet.
[Some journalers seem to be concerned about the dangers of "namedropping." Frankly the worry bewilders me. The convention is about the people; it's certainly not about the panels or the layout of the hotel lobby or the quality of the chocolate martinis in the bar, as wonderful as all those things might be. To refrain from mentioning people by name seems, therefore, rather odd to me. Jumping up and down and saying "I met Famous Person!" is a bit on the pointless side, yes, though I do understand such enthusiasm.]
The only reading (apart from the one I took part in) that I attended included Dora Goss, Maureen McHugh, Haddayr Copley-Woods, and Karen Meisner (reading her Flytrap story!). They all did wonderfully, and I looooved Haddayr's piece. I wish she had time to do nothing but write fiction all day (though she rightly pointed out that she does a regular column for the Minnesota Women's Press, which you should all be reading). Haddayr has risen high on my list of people I wish I could see more regularly. Ah, well. So many of these people are once-a-year friends (with the empty spaces often filled via e-mail). Better than nothing.
Talked to Tempest for a while about the works of China Mieville, to Justine Larbalestier about agents, to Simon Owens and Meghan McCarron and David Schwartz about SF movies, to Doug Lain about Nick Mamatas (you were there in hearsay, Nicholas), to Sonya Taaffe about various matters poetic and mythic, to Ben Rosenbaum and Ted Chiang about time-travel and wormholes (well, I mean, they're intellectual giants to me, so mostly they talked, and I occasionally interjected pointless asides), to Steph Burgis about rain and fog and cities. I talked to lots of people about lots of things. Spent most of my time with Heather, Greg, and Jenn, of course, and a fair bit of time with Dave Moles and Ben Rosenbaum. As I suspected, there were people I wanted to meet, and couldn't, and there were people I was able to talk to briefly, but not at great length.
I drank nine beers on Saturday at the Ratbastards party (oh, the Ratbastards! Fine people all! And Barzak was sorely missed!), and was profoundly, apocalyptically hungover on Sunday morning. Even at 1:00 p.m., as I shuffled down to do my reading, I feared I would be unable to speak when the time came. But I went last -- after Greg read a hilarious excerpt from his first novel, and Jenn read the beginning of her wonderful Grendel story, and Heather read a chapter from her altogether fabulous evil-grandmother book. By the time my turn came, I'd sucked down enough water and painkiller to feel nearly like myself again. People tell me the reading went well, and I think the story, "The Frozen One," is only a couple of revisions away from sending out.
My toenails were painted blue for much of the weekend, thanks to Heather.
Michelangelo's (the cafe where the women come and go!) is still a great coffeehouse, and on the last day we settled in there for coffee and sandwiches with some of my favorite people -- Alan, Kristin, David, Greg, Heather, Jenn -- and mourned the end of the con and started looking forward to next year.
A few pieces of Heather's art sold, and her display was much admired.
Did a panel. Didn't say anything particularly interesting, but also didn't get booed out of the room, so call it a draw.
Some of my crushes on people shifted in orientation and intensity. (Didn't stop having crushes on anyone, but there was some significant waxing and waning in existing crushes, and one quite-fond-of was elevated officially to crush level. These shifts are of interest only to me, I would imagine.)
Flytrap sold briskly, much better than usual (contributor and subscriber copies will be trickling out this week and over the weekend). Thanks to Deb Layne at Wheatland Press and Gavin & Kelly at Small Beer for selling them! I moved a few copies of my collection, too.
I ate at the Angelic brewpub, an Afghan restaurant (mmm, duck strudel), via room service, at the Orpheum theater/restaurant (where we began to suspect our waiter was actually a confused usher from the theater who'd wandered into the restaurant by mistake, especially when we had to stir our coffee with knives), and at the slowest Italian restaurant in Wisconsin.
At the Wheatland table they had mock-ups of Polyphony 5 (where Heather's "Single White Farmhouse" is the lead story!), TEL: Stories, and Nine Muses. Between us, Heather and I have stories in all three. Thus we slowly consume the world. Or rather present ourselves to be consumed.
Didn't spend enough time with Sarah Prineas or Karen Meisner or Jed Hartman or Mary Anne Mohanraj, though I did get to hang with them at the dessert function. Also didn't spend enough time with Janet Chui and Jason Lundberg, though we got to sit around and drink drinks a bit.
The dress Heather wore at the dessert function? She was stunning, and unspeakably sexy. Everyone thought so, but only I was allowed to stare utterly without shame at her cleavage.
Talked to people about chapbooks. Tropism Press plans to do chapbooks next year, with fiction by people who aren't me and Heather. Two in the pipeline. Details will follow when I'm more certain financial catastrophe or sudden head injury won't derail our plans.
Picked up the new issue of Say from Chris Rowe, Gwenda Bond, and Alan DeNiro, who still ably hold the ramparts of their fortress of words.
By the time I was drunk enough to sing karaoke, sign-ups were closed. I wanted to sing "Big Yellow Taxi."
Read a couple of year's bests on the plane, the Hartwell/Cramer SF volume and the Strahan/Haber Fantasy volume. Good stuff I'd missed in both of them, but every moment I read them, I felt guilty for not reading stories published this year.
Economic elitism in action: We spent extra to stay on the Governor's Floor. Which meant we got free drinks in the upstairs lounge (which made up for the extra price, I suspect), and free breakfast, and ice brought to our room, and robes, and suchlike froofy crap. (Oh, and Eli -- the shower fixtures were faux gold, instead of chrome, as they are elsewhere in the hotel.) We had some frequent-flyer miles, so we flew business class on the way back home, and it was marvelous, seats that basically recline flat, footrests, tons of space, real food (not good, but not a bag of chips and a squashed brownie that costs $5, either), free booze, etc. I was conflicted about such perks, but that didn't prevent me from enjoying them. In the glorious worker's paradise, we will all fly coach.
I could go on. I'm already consick, and wish I were still there, in some conventional perpetuity, only with more sleep. The talks in the hallways. The art. The snark. The silliness. The party-crawl. The late-night talk in Jed's room, with all those fine bright people, about privelige, beauty, merit, family, and so on. The Strange Horizons tea party, with Susan Groppi majestic and editorial, speaking from her place standing on a chair. Sitting back and drinking and talking with Matt Withers. Eating the last of the free cold cuts at the Tor party with Sonya. Following the keg wherever it led. Ah, my, all so very fine, and this is a sad day, for it's nearly the longest possible amount of time before I'm at WisCon again. But that means every day gets brighter as the next one approaches.
(If we had a nice chat at the con and I didn't mention you, don't be offended. If I appeared to be enjoying myself, I was. If I appeared dazed and barely aware, I was. But this isn't meant to be complete. Unlike past years, I didn't make notes on who I talked to every day. I think this restraint is a sign of my improving mental health.)
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