Monday, November 07, 2005

We got back from Madison and World Fantasy last night, exhausted but happy. Gambit circumvented our safety gate the very first day and managed to either get over or under the gate at all the different heights that Lynn, our pet sitter, tried. I'm guessing he stayed confined before we left because he wasn't feeling very well. He did only very minor damage and Lynn swept the new areas to get anything loose up out of his reach. He's sleeping at my feet right now and isn't coughing anymore. Last night we got to see him gently nibble our oldest cat's ears and neck. Tora, a neutered male, is a terror most of the time but has always been incredibly caring and gentle with kittens. He's showing the same affection and patience with the puppy who is slightly larger and much wilder than he is. He was the one who missed our old dog the most and I've been able to take him off the kitty prozac since the puppy came. No more cats fighting.

Little Con Report - Con Catchwords: Hey-o, Dragon Tits, Drive-by workshop gang signs, and Drunkomancy

Now the convention was a lot of fun as always but you were all missed terribly. Madison is just not the same without you. You know who you are. Big smooch!

I spent most of the convention in a fog that only lifted the very last day. On Thursday, we got into our room around midnight and I went right to bed. Any dreams of catching up on my puppy-deprived sleep dimmed each morning when I woke up way before I planned to. It did allow me to make the only two panels I attended the whole weekend on Friday. My favorite of the two panels was the Fantasy in Unexpected Places panel moderated by Jeff Vandermeer with Kelly Link, Matt Cheney (filling in for Dora Goss who arrived the next day), Graham Joyce and Carol Emshwiller. Everyone was wonderfully witty and the ninety minutes never dragged. The panel explored "fringe fantasy" versus the mainstream fantasy epic model and why the panelists wrote what they did. Whether they were writing in response to the mainstream of fantasy publishing or mainstream realism or because they couldn't write any other way, all said fantasy allowed an author to get at a truth that mimetic fiction didn't.

Friday had the added surprise of finding Kelly Everding and Eric Lorberer from Rain Taxi visiting because so many friends were in town. In one of those small world kinds of things, Rudi Dornemann who has the wonderful story, "The Sky Green Box" in this issue of Rabid Transit, Menagerie, went to graduate school at University of Massachusetts, Amherst with Kelly and Eric.

We spent most of the evening in the lounge outside the Governor's Club bar visiting with friends. I got to meet Hal Duncan from the Infernokrusher discussions (I was just a bystander) and for the first time, at least the first time while sensible, really got to talk with Hannah Bowen and Meghan McCarron. I ended up that night sipping wonderful homebrewed cider at the West Coast Indie Press Posse and Scribe Agency party and hanging with Brett Cox and Robert Wexler. Alan and I went to bed early for us around 2 a.m. Alan had picked up Margo Lanagan's fantastic World Fantasy Award winning Black Juice and I was able to read and be blown away by the World Fantasy Award winning, "Singing My Sister Down," that night before falling to sleep.

Saturday, I spent most of the day sitting and letting the world come to me. First, to relieve Midori Snyder for lunch at the Endicott Studios table, later at the Small Beer Press dealer's table and finally at the sales table at the Got 'Zine party we co-hosted with Small Beer, Electric Velocipede and Trunk Stories. It was about all my little mind could handle and I like nothing better than meeting interesting new people and trying to introduce them to books I love. We had so much help with set-up and clean up that it wasn't the chore a party usually is. Karen Meisner made a much needed appearance and all was well with the world.

Sunday, David Moles arranged a casual reading for Twenty Epics with Dave Schwartz, Alan and Meghan and then we had the banquet. We don't normally go to the banquet but must have been feeling flush when we registered. It was totally worth it, if only to hear Peter Straub's strange, convoluted and funny talk confirming that there are secrets that writers become privvy to as they ascend to fame. He said he was at level 5 and put Kelly at the top at level 11 and rising. It wasn't a surprise as we've all always known that she has the secrets of the universe in addition to a thorough knowledge of zombies.

This convention more than any other was relaxed but I also felt like I was constantly passing people I wanted to talk to but was already deep in conversation with someone else and vice versa. I missed every reading I wanted to go to except my husband's. But, World Fantasy is all about books and with books we came home. On my reading stack with Black Juice are: Spirits Unwrapped edited by Daniel Braum with stories by Rudi Dornemann and Catherine Dybiec Holm amongst others, the premier issue of Fantasy Magazine from Prime Books with a great story by Jeff Ford - the only one I've read in the magazine so far - and a large number of paperbacks and 'zines. Oh and the forthcoming books excerpt sampler which must be read, preferably aloud, to be believed.

I got up early this morning to let the pooch out and pulled a sweatshirt from my still packed bag. It wasn't until I got outside that I realized the sweatshirt had sat against my jeans from Saturday night. That horrible stale beer smell was coming from the Capitol Amber ale I had spilled down my leg while moving the kegs at the end of the party.

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