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Home again. It's going to be a very hot day here in Providence. Not as hot as the triple digits of last week, but hot. Dr. Muñoz has been wheeled into my office, in hopes I can manage to work through the broil and sizzle.

As for Readercon 21, it went very well. In some ways, it was my favorite Readercon thus far (it was my third), though in some ways it was also the hardest and most trying. I suppose I could attempt to do this in a day-by-day format. But I think that would be tiresome, both for me to write and for you to read. Maybe I could make a list of notable moments. Maybe that's a better idea. And, afterwards, there are a few unremarkable photos. Spooky had the camera, but few photos were taken (however, the ones that were, prove I have begun a transformation into a Muppet).

* It was heavenly, having an air-conditioned room for three straight nights, sleep without sweat, and so forth. We also had television, which we've pretty much been without for more than two years. That part was very strange, and left me missing television not in the least.

* During the convention, I managed to miss almost all of the programming that I wanted to see, including, on Thursday night, Greer's (nineweaving) and Michael Cisco's readings. Truthfully, in my defence, I had no idea that there was any programming on Thursday night, which might teach me to start actually reading the schedule. I did make Greer's "How I Wrote Cloud and Ashes" presentation on Saturday, and Peter's "How I Wrote Skylark/A Dark Matter," two very bright spots during the weekend. The only other two panels I attended where I wasn't a panelist were "The New and Improved Future of Magazines, Pt. 1" and "Comparing Translations Redux: E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Golden Pot" (1814)."

* As for panels in which I was a participant, the best of the lot was certainly "New England: At Home to the Unheimlich," thanks, in large part, to Elizabeth Hand's skillful moderation. Mostly, I don't like doing panels. My last bit of programming was my last panel of the con, "It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF," which would have been utterly insufferable, except for the presence of Cat Valente (catvalente) as a co-discussant. I'm not going to go into any great detail about the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking into account the sensibilities of potential readers before we wrote about "taboo subjects." Or the people who whined about needing to know exactly the sort of sexuality they were in for before buying a book, lest they be faced with something they find distasteful. You know, books as consumer goods, not books as art. All that needs saying is that I did not come charging down from the stage and bitch slap anybody. I only barked loudly. I think the panel was saved when Cat and I detoured into a debate concerning the relationship of Captain Jack and Ianto Jones. Otherwise, it was mostly a washout.

* I did not see nearly enough of Elizabeth Bear (matociquala).

* Probably the most wonderful bit of the whole con took place very late on Saturday night and very early on Sunday morning. An impromptu group convened, consisting of myself, Greer, Sonya Taaffe (sovay), Geoffrey Goodwin (readingthedar), Gemma Files (handfulof_dust), Spooky (humglum), Erik Amundsen (cucumberseed), and Micheal Cisco. It began as two or three unrelated conversations, but eventually turned into something like a full-fledged workshop addressing the problems I've had writing the Next New Novel, the one I have been calling The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Many persuasive arguments were made. I listened, and offered counterarguments. I listened to the counter-counterarguments, which grew increasingly convincing. By two ayem, I'd come to see the novel as an entirely different beast than I'd thought it was, and hopefully one I can write over the next few months. My great, great thanks to everyone. You may have saved my life.

* It was great to finally meet Paul T. Riddell (txtriffidranch), he of Texas Triffid Ranch. He gifted me and Spooky with a twenty-year-old horse-crippler cactus (Echinocactus texensis), and showed me his magnificent Anomalocaris tattoo. Paleo-related tattoos almost seemed like a theme during the con. I also met Nevenah Smith, who has a lovely Platecarpus skeleton tattooed on her left leg, and a tattoo of Coelurosauravus tattooed on her right forearm.

* I did my best to buy no books. And, in fact, I only paid for a copy of Elizabeth Hand's Generation Loss, which I got for $3, and a copy of Cat's Yume No Uon: The Book of Dreams, which I got for $10. But then Geoffrey and I got our hands on an ARC of Kathe Koja's forthcoming Under the Poppy. And then, Spooky and I ran into the amazing Kelly Link at the Small Beer Press table, just as the dealer's room was getting ready to close, and she gifted us with a small mountain of books, including her own Pretty Monsters, Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, and Holly Black's (blackholly) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories.

* The reading for Ellen Datlow's (ellen_dalow) Haunted Legends anthology went well. I read the first two sections of "As Red as Red." My own reading on Sunday didn't go so well, I don't think. Great crowd, but I was exhausted and, I discovered, "The Sea Troll's Daughter" is a hard story to read aloud, especially when it must be read quickly, in order to squeeze it into a single hour.

* The Red Tree did not win The Shirley Jackson Award for best novel of 2009, but— and I'm serious —I'm so proud of the nomination and the little stone I got denoting the nomination, that I can't imagine I'd have been a whole lot happier if it had won. To have my novel chosen by such a distinguished group of jurors and advisors, as one of the six novels from last year worthy of the award, that was recognition enough.

* Friday's reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream went very well. Indeed, there's talk of doing The Tempest next year.

And on that note— though I'm surely leaving out lots and lots —I'm going to leave you with a few photos. There is work I have to get done today, the platypus reminds me. But later, my favorite quotes from the weekend...





Just before the reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream began, me conversating with Jim Freund.



The Haunted Legends panel.



Also the Haunted Legends panel.



Cat reads from "15 Panels Depicting the Sadness of the Baku & the Jotai."



I read "The Sea Troll's Daughter."

All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac.

Comments

( 64 comments — Have your say! )
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readingthedark
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
You didn't mention the young woman with the enchanting yet squeaky voice who pretty much thanked you for saving her life. (I have a new theory: people save lives all the time and just don't realize it. The downside is that lots of people also commit brutal murders without even noticing.)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)

Yes, I am remiss for not mentioning her. And the parenthetical there is highly quotable.
jadakath
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Muppet Con
I have to say, you do look really adorable in that outfit, and quite Muppet-ish. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Wouldn't it be cool to have a muppet of yourself?
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Muppet Con

Wouldn't it be cool to have a muppet of yourself?

Well...yeah.

But still...
Re: Muppet Con - txtriffidranch - Jul. 12th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
mellawyrden
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination! It's inspiring to hear you could discuss your next novel with trusted friends.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)

It's inspiring to hear you could discuss your next novel with trusted friends.

I really was a wonderful thing, and something I'd never really done before.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)

And with that hat and those shades, you are one sexy muppet.

Spooky said I had "this Quentin Crisp thing going on."

(no subject) - sovay - Jul. 12th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
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sovay
Jul. 12th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Probably the most wonderful bit of the whole con took place very late on Saturday night and very early on Sunday morning.

It was wonderful. And I am very much looking forward to whatever comes of it.

. All that needs saying is that I did not come charging down from the stage and bitch slap anybody. I only barked loudly.

Your restraint was noted from the audience. There's a lot of stupid in the world; and unfortunately, a lot of it comes to cons like anywhere else.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)

Your restraint was noted from the audience.

I'm glad. I felt kind of like I really went off, but sheesh, I was tired and my tolerance for morons was utterly spent.
(no subject) - sovay - Jul. 12th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Beautiful Sea Things - akrain - Jul. 13th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
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txtriffidranch
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Hey, what can I say? You were onto something when you brought up the idea of palaeo fandom. (Apparently Marianne Collins was both flattered and horrified when she heard about my tat of her Anomalocaris, and there was a point in 1992 where I could clear out a Dallas Palaeo Society meeting by showing it off. Now, I can go to the Royal Tyrrell, and all anyone wants to do is take pictures for the staff break room.)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)

Hey, what can I say? You were onto something when you brought up the idea of palaeo fandom.

Maybe there's a book in there somewhere.
(no subject) - txtriffidranch - Jul. 13th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
gargirl
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
It sounds like an excellent con, except for; "the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking into account the sensibilities of potential readers before we wrote about "taboo subjects." Or the people who whined about needing to know exactly the sort of sexuality they were in for before buying a book, lest they be faced with something they find distasteful. "

Oddly, I still have the capacity to be stunned by this, even after hearing it time after time, it's always a surprise. People so enjoy being offended and screaming about it, it's a strange thing to enjoy.
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(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 12th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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fusijui
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Glad it was good!

Aside from the delicate whiners. Wow. Man, I'm imagining how satisfying (yet pointless!) it would be to go after them -- but then I remember *I* have no financial stake in fandom~customers/my reputation therein/etc. Gahhh.

Not seeing the Muppet thing at all, but Quentin Crisp, yeah, gotta agree. Not just the hat; the tie and big loose collar, I think.

Sorry to say the only name that rang any bells was Kathe Koja's, and it's a nice surprise to know she's still writing - I had the idea she'd dropped out. 'Cipher' is one of my favorite novels, by any metric.

Which is not to say I'm not eagerly anticipating a certain new volume, with absolutely perfect covers, I hear...
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)


Sorry to say the only name that rang any bells was Kathe Koja's, and it's a nice surprise to know she's still writing - I had the idea she'd dropped out. 'Cipher' is one of my favorite novels, by any metric.


She didn't so much drop out, as, after Kink, make a move to writing YA novels (which are quite good). This is her first adult novel since 1996.
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greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)

I love your tie.

Thank you. I think it's a part of the "new look" I'm working out.
stsisyphus
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
I gotta say that I feel your look is a bit more Patti Smith, but to affect "Crispness" is a demanding art.

All that needs saying is that I did not come charging down from the stage and bitch slap anybody.

And here I was expecting you to merely incinerate them from afar.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

And here I was expecting you to merely incinerate them from afar.

If only I had that ability.
cucumberseed
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
You know, books as consumer goods, not books as art.

I think this is the year that I repent any tolerance that I may have had for that notion - not that there was much to begin with or much left. Your and catvalente's responses were all I would have wanted to say and lost in cusswords.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)

Your and [info]yuki_onna's responses were all I would have wanted to say and lost in cusswords.

My instincts were to use far stronger language than I did, and I think I may have sprained something holding back. I just won't listen to this crap any longer.
(no subject) - cucumberseed - Jul. 12th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sovay - Jul. 12th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 12th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
lady_theadora
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
There's a quote I read recently, which I completely agree with and I think applies to the panel listeners who called authors "selfish":

Not for the first time a fantasy occurred to me: before people make pronouncements on what sexual behavior society should tolerate, they ought to make the clearest possible statement of their own sexual experience, what they have learnt from it, and how it might colour their attitudes. "I have a horror of penetration." "I am involved with someone who satisfies me sexually." "I would rather have a backrub than make love." "I'm only sexually attracted to other women." "I feel free only when I masturbate." "I have never had an orgasm and don't understand what all the fuss is about." "I was molested as a child and still see men's sexuality as furtive and monstrous." How would it change the way we talk about sex and power, if we had the self-awareness and the honesty to acknowledge psychological states as such, instead of passing them off as pure intellectual beliefs?

- Helen Garner, from The First Stone: Some Questions about Sex and Power.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)

An excellent and thoughtful quote; thank you.
rosefox
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
The woman with the fossil tattoos whom you mention is Nevenah Smith (intelligentrix).
greygirlbeast
Jul. 12th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)

Thank you!
(no subject) - nineweaving - Jul. 13th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC) - Expand
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greygirlbeast
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)

thank you for defending the honor of our ghosts

You're welcome. But I don't think I was so much defending Southern ghosts, per se, as defending all ghosts, by saying there's no "spookiest" region in this or any other nation.

I loved your matching tie and nails. If what you were wearing is a "new look" for you, you definitely could have fooled me. It looked polished, and you were utterly cool.

Thank you!
handful_ofdust
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
I have to say, being involved in that late-night conversation was the capper to a fangirl moment which lasted pretty much all weekend. To be useful to someone you revere is...amazing. Thanks.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)

I have to say, being involved in that late-night conversation was the capper to a fangirl moment which lasted pretty much all weekend. To be useful to someone you revere is...amazing. Thanks.

You helped me solve problems I've been struggling with for months. The thanks go to you.
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( 64 comments — Have your say! )