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Tally Ho!
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Hidden City was a blast, except for the Hidden Sickness, which laid some of the workshoppers low. I was stuffed-up one night, and had to sleep sitting up on a ramp of pillows, but all-in-all, it could've been worse, and I felt better by morning. I must confess, however, that I am responsible for the one near-death experience of the workshop. The second night (I think) I drank about five glasses of wine. And, with my judgement thus sufficiently impaired, I proceeded to get into the hot tub.

I have been drunk in a hot tub once or twice. It's never a good idea, but I've done it.

I've never been that drunk, at that altitude, in a hot tub before, however. I was fine for a while, sitting in warmth in the cool air, talking to people. Eventually I got too hot, and sat up on the edge of the tub to cool off.

Then, with no noticeable divide between consciousness and un-, I found myself having a beautiful dream of warmth, comfort, and bliss. The next thing I knew, people were holding on to my arms and crowding around me in concern. I'd apparently just toppled off the edge of the tub, face-first into the water, and David Cleary and Heather lifted me up and saved me from drowning. Heather helped me back into the house, where I was suitably mortified, and everyone else was suitably concerned.

Let this be a lesson to you: don't drink five glasses of wine and then get into a hot tub at an altitude of ~7,000 feet above sea level.

But, my NDE aside, the workshop was largely spared unpleasant events. We hiked around waterfalls, and down to Vikingsholm (so cool I want to use it in a novel, but Greg has dibs, since he's working on some Norse stuff now). Some of us drove all the way around the lake, which was flat-out gorgeous. I'd never been to Tahoe before, and I'd like to go back. The food was marvelous (and all due props go to Susan and Jae for making our meals such a pleasure). I played a fair bit of pool on the undersized table in the loft, said table tucked-up under a sloping roof so you hit your head if you tried to shoot from one side -- certainly added a layer of additional complication to the game. The stories people brought to workshop were all worthy, some of them already easily good enough for publication. I got some good crits on my story, "Komodo," and expect to revise and send it out by early next week. I also wrote a new story, "Life in Stone," which is strange and violent and about the dangers of immortality and the treachery of memory. I had a conversation with Greg and Jenn about my apparent inability to write actual short stories -- they nearly always come out novelettes, and for me, 5,000 words is "short." They asked me if I'd ever tried to write flash or short-shorts, and with a couple of isolated exceptions, I hadn't. So I started a series of loosely-linked flash pieces called "Noble Rot". I don't know if they'll be any good, but they're fun to write (I've done three so far, featuring aliens, demons, and overconfident gods).

The week went by too quickly. I wish the whole of my life was writing, and talking to writers, and eating good food, and playing games, and walking around beautiful places. But at least I get a goodly percentage of that stuff in my life.

Thanks to all my fellow Hidden Citizens for making it such a great experience.


Linkage: Chris Barzak's marvelous story "Born on the Edge of an Adjective" is up at Fantastic Metropolis. It's the first story by Chris I ever read, and it led to him becoming one of my favorite new authors. Go, read, enjoy.

Gabe Chouinard posted an interesting interview with Jonathan Carroll, first in a series of interviews.


There are so so so so so many books I’m looking forward to reading. Miéville's Iron Council. Steph Swainston's Year of Our War. Jonathan Carroll's Glass Soup. Sean Stewart's Perfect Circle. Pratchett's Going Postal. But none of them are out yet! I have to wait! Bah! I've been re-reading Preacher because nothing else in the house really appeals to me, and I'm trying to save money and avoid buying new books. Might have to hit the library soon. Though reading Preacher is no hardship -- I love reading that whole series in one gulp. It's so beautifully put together. I'm learning structure from a series of comic books. Well, why not?

Actually, the book situation isn't that dire. There's an extra galley of Stephen King's Song of Susannah at work, so I'm reading that on my breaks, too, which is pretty awesome. Hard to believe the last book in that series will be out before year's end. I've been reading the Dark Tower books since I was in middle school. They've been an ongoing part of my literary life, and soon they'll be an artifact of the past. I'm keenly aware that my time with these characters is coming to an end, and I'm savoring every page of the books that remain.


I have a relatively modest to-do list today, on my once-a-fortnight free day. I want to do a few hours of reading. I'd hoped to read in the hammock, but so far the day is rather gray and cool, so unless it warms up and the clouds clear off, that's unlikely. (Sux. Yesterday the weather was just gorgeous.) I want to type "Life in Stone" and, in the process, do a first-pass revision. I want to write another installment or two in "Noble Rot." I want to write the introduction of my Dean Koontz essay. Should be doable, if I can avoid the siren song of surfing around online all day. Wish me luck.

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