Friday morning we set out for Readercon, me, blackholly, mroctober, and a small table that was just along for the ride. We arrived in time for me to dump my luggage, pick up my badge, pull out my turquoise folder of manuscripts, and even get something to eat in the bar before my reading.
Surprise! I had six or seven attendees, only two of whom I knew personally; one was the reader after me, though. I read "Worship" first, the story just bought by Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. I'd never read it aloud before. It's not sf/f, but no one left. One person afterwards said they found it very moving (I'm summing up the conversation). Then I read "Detox," the story for So Fey, rushing a little so I wouldn't impinge on the next reader's time (she said it was okay, but I didn't want to, and managed to finish on the hour). That one reads pretty well; perhaps because I had a dry run with it at Gaylaxicon.
Had a free hour after that before two panels in a row. I spent it making a quick pass through the Den of Iniquitous Spending (that would be the dealers' room/Book Store) and saying hello to a few folks, getting a nice cup of iced Coca Cola in the Green Room, etc.. The panel was the one for which I felt ill-prepared, but we had an organized moderator who would feed us questions, and that I can do, no problem. Unfortunately, due to the traffic resulting from heavy rain, our moderator hadn't yet made it to the con, and his stand-in only had about five minutes to think of something to say. Luckily, there were two experienced, talkative people on the panel, and I managed to make a few coherent comments now and again. (I know they were coherent because someone told me so, later.)
Then on to "The Career of Kate Wilhelm." I'd prepared relentlessly for this one, and was able to slip in references to a number of novels. I would have enjoyed going on for another hour on the topic, if that had been on the schedule. I was told later, secondhand, that this one was quite good, and I would appreciate a pointer if anyone took notes.
Friday night is always the "Meet the Prose" party, which I adore, even though I've usually already met most of the pros. I love picking a sentence to send in for my page of stickers, trying to find something that will stand out and be amusing and weird, or merely long, like Chip Delany, whose sentence required two stickers. This year I went to "Detox" for: Her mental picture is something like a cartoon Keebler elf, only wearing brown, maybe like the little dresses the cookie-selling brownies wear, but with some of that Queer Eye stylish flair.
Also, I love seeing other people's sentences, so I become a party animal and exchange sentences wildly. It's too loud in there for long conversations, anyway. I ran out of my stickers, and of space on my sheet, before I could collect them all, so I began fitting stickers along the sides and in the interstices between columns. I displayed my own empty sheet and proclaimed it a work of "Absurdist Slipstream Interstitialism," or at least that's what it had become by the end of the evening. Sat with malkingray for a few moments of restfulness. Finally located filomancer, and met Wendy Walker and Tom La Farge, who are lovely people; we had a great talk about museums and Philadelphia's Mütter Museum and Rosenbach Library and Museum in particular. Kate Wilhelm graciously signed the books I'd brought, since I was scheduled against her autograph session the following day.
The party was fun. But I was very tired, so when friends began vanishing to play Mafia, I escaped to my room, ate a handful of cookies, and timed some readings for the Rapid-Fire Reading the next day before gratefully collapsing into sleep.