July 13th, 2009


Readercon 2009 Report

As always with Readercon, my experience was somewhat like that of being a pinball in a particularly elaborate pinball machine.

The trip up was lovely--no heat wave, no breakdowns, no tow truck, no last-minute boatlike rental car, no desperate attempts to keep driver awake (last year was quite an adventure).  I rode up with two fellow workshoppers, Judith and Steve; we continued discussing some of the topics from our July 5th meeting, and career issues, and the like.

I had a reading shortly after I arrived, then half an hour to eat a little hummus with vegetables (with my tax person, whom I didn't even glimpse for the rest of the con), then a discussion group, then my sole "regular" panel.  By the discussion group, I was really missing my hoodie, which I'd left up in the room.  Long sleeves were not enough for the arctic air conditioning.  After I was done with the panel, I rushed upstairs and got my hoodie and a pair of socks, then went back down to the bar with the express intention of eating a cow.  I didn't see anyone I knew well enough to accost, so I headed into the lobby and snagged Ann and Geary and Rosemary to join me, and then we acquired Jeff Carver as well.  I had iced tea, which just barely kept me awake for the Meet the Prose party, which was later than usual.  Also mobbed.  I collected stickers all along my arm, and then took a picture of them, and then ripped them off--they weren't entirely comfortable and looked like a cyberpunkish cast.  Michael Swanwick's sticker ended up on my nose.  I don't know why I let him get away with these things.

Saturday started off with waking up way too early, then breakfast with Judith and Graham and conversation about Dubai and Dr. Who, at separate times, not in relation (though the latest ep was filmed there).  I bought Greer's gorgeous Cloud and Ashes, and at the Wesleyan table, the paperback of Farah Mendlesohn's On Joanna Russ and a re-release of Delany's Jewel-Hinged Jaw essay collection.  Then I absconded quickly with my loot so as to avoid buying more.  Chatted with Alaya and Tempest in the green room.  Had lunch with Judith and Connie, with whom I discussed some website stuff, saw Kat and Beth's cute baby!!! then became a Minion of Ellen Klages for her "Improv for Writers" workshop.  That was most excellent--I am most certainly not an actor,  but I loved the way the techniques she described and then had people use were applicable to writing and the writing process.  I left in the final half hour of the two-hour workshop due to a desperate need for sleep; after an hour's nap, I was much revived and joined a posse of people for Korean barbecue--Judith, Ben, Beth, Amy, Tom, Hildy, and at the last minute we snagged Jim.  After delicious, delicious food (one of my favorites in the world), someone asked if anyone wanted to go to the nearby new used bookstore.  Clearly, this was a rhetorical question.  I got a hardcover of Paul Fussel's The Great War and Modern Memory, and Mr. Kipling's Army, and a book on Daily Life in Babylonia, and a really cool book on the Spanish Armada which Jim pimped to me.  We returned to the hotel and laughed like crazy at the Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition -- Tournament of Champions!  "In the beginning was the Word...and the Word begat the Phrase, and (etc., etc.) the Paragraph begat the Little Sections Set Off by Asterisks...."

Sunday, breakfast with Ann and Judith, duscussing careers and life and How to Suppress Women's Writing and how sadly applicable it is still, and had a visit from Tom and side-chats with Greer and Faye abuot women's colleges.  I also chatted with Gene Wolfe about oatmeal.  I had my kaffeeklatsch which, fortuitously, involved someone who was a big fan of clipper ships and had done a lot of sailing, so I picked her brain a lot.  We had never met before, but she came because she was interested in the Duchess book--she didn't know I was working on a sea adventure!  I love it when a plan comes together.

Extensive loitering in the green room and lobby followed--got to tell Ellen how much I'd enjoyed her workshop and how useful it was, chatted with Sarah and Tempest and Ann and assorted Macdonalds and Connie and Ellen (Kushner) and Susannah and probably some other people I have forgotten about.

Then Drive-Con Two, and further discussion of the panels/talks we attended, careers, projects, future projects, and bonus me reading aloud from How to Suppress Women's Writing.  Got home around 9:30 pm.

Tired now.