What was left of Hurricane Frances came rolling up the Chattahooche in the night and made a messy last stand. The rain and wind were nice enough until the electricity went away. I lay in bed, not sleeping well, having several dreams of violent death, waking to lie in the darkness with no sound to greet me but the storm and the unnerving, stranger sounds that arose from the storm from time to time. Sunrise brought only a washed-out grey excuse for daylight, that sickening sort of wan light that is made bearable only by the glow of incandescent bulbs and tasteful lampshades. Which is to say it was an entirely unpleasant sort of day. The silence was even worse than the murky light. I cannot bear silence for very long. I sleep to music and movies, my hatred for silence is so intense. With the storm gone and only light rain remaining and the whole neighborhood without power, it was very quiet. Spooky and I spent most of the day driving about Atlanta, looking at the damage, all the trees the wind had brought down, all the dark windows. The car radio made things a little better. I just couldn't stay in our huge, dark, quiet apartment.
But now the lights are on again, and I have noise to keep me company.
Did I mention that I'm sick? It isn't terribly surprising. Put 25,000 people in one place, people from all over the world, many of whom have questionable hygenic habits, and people get sick. Especially people who talk to a lot of said people and shake hands beyond counting and find themselves hugging (or being hugged by) total strangers. Fatigue, sore throat, low fever, aches, etc. Probably just a low-grade rhinovirus, so I'm swabbing my nose with zinc again.
In many ways, my eleventh Dragon*Con was wonderful. In many others ways, it was kind of awful. I want to write out some sort of account of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but I feel like ass, and I'm still not sure if I'm up to it.
I will say that I am very, very weary of how little writers seem to matter at Dragon*Con, far less than they seemed to matter way back at my first D*C in 1994. Well, unless you're Anne McCaffrey. If you're Anne McCaffrey, Dragon*Con seems to matter a great deal. The rest of us get stuck in the lowest levels of the Hyatt and act as though we should be grateful to be thrown such an extravagant crumb. Think about it: 25,000 people. And yet a reading is lucky to draw fifty or sixty. That's only .2%, right? Out of all those thousands of people, only .2% actually give enough of a crap about writers to attend readings. I wonder if they pause to consider that all their various fandoms begin, always, with a writer. That all this fantasy arises from the minds of authors, whether they're writing for books, television, motion pictures, video games, or what have you. I think that they don't. Too few of them can be bothered to buy and read even one book a year.
Like I said, as always, there were many wonderful things about Dragon*Con, and I love this convention, but it has increasingly little interest in the work of the artists who lie at the root of what Bill Sheehan (and probably many people before him) called the story tree. I love the spectacle, the costumes, the unexpected encounters with TV celebs I'd thought dead ten years, the bands, and so forth. But it's impossible to ignore that it all serves to rather violently underscore America's general lack of interest in written fantasy and science fiction.
Maybe tomorrow I'll manage an actual account of the con. I just needed to get the smallest portion of that off my chest first. The first .2%, let's say.
I will say a quick and already overdue thanks to Sissy and Kat, Jean-Paul, Rogue and Jessica, William Faith, Voltaire, Maureen, Storm Constantine, Harlan, Ted and Kelly, Sa'jathan, and everyone whose name I've forgotten (because I am -0 and ill) who helped to make substantial parts of the convention wonderful.