It's taken me forever to get back to this blog on World Fantasy.
I had a fabulous time.
Z'boss, Jonathan, and I flew into Chicago on Wednesday, rented a van, and drove to Madison. It was just a long slow sunset most of the drive, and gorgeous countryside. The first night we met up with Garth Nix and a few of the Aussie contingent for dinner. Garth is an endlessly nice guy. He hosted many late nights in his suite with the Locus crowd and others, and always had good wine and Armagnac at the ready. Thursday, my birthday, started our heavy schedule of interviews and meetings, but we got away for an Thai lunch with Graham Joyce, whose accent the waitress couldn't understand, which led to me having giggle fits as he tried over and over to get her to understand him. That night the Aussies threw their party in one of the con suites. Jonathan, Mz'melia, and Gary got a cake for me for my 35th, and the whole room sang "Happy Birthday". It took a large glass of wine to get past the keen desire to disappear into the wallpaper, but I was happy that my birthday hadn't come and gone unnoticed. Bonus birthday card sporting naked rollerskaters and signed by many friends.
Got to see a bit of Gary Wolfe interviewing Peter Straub. Other than that, no programming for me, too many meetings/interviews. Would have like to have seen some readings. The Locus Foundation had its board meeting, which I attended to take the minutes as I had last year, but then was voted onto the board -- that was a shocker. It makes sense, and I feel honored, but it wasn't something I expected.
The weekend flew by. The dealers' room was small, but packed. Meetings were successful; as always, there is so much information to take in. Everyone has different priorities and goals, and while we all want the field to expand and shine, there are so many different theories on how to achieve that. The parties felt more social than last year; having one party floor makes the whole thing one big shindig. Got to hang out with Jay Lake; the Night Shade boys -- Jason and Jeremy (love my Night Shade posse shirt!); John, Lou, Chris & Allison; Kelly & Gavin. Met the talented Conrad Williams, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ebear, some new authors (one of whom is practically my neighbor); the list goes on.
I really didn't have any idea what Madison would be like. It's a funny mix of college town and capitol, suits in the day and tipsy students at night. The capitol building is full of gilded carved balustrades, painted ceilings, and marble columns; I stole away for a half hour with a con buddy to climb up into the rotunda and out onto its balcony. From there you can see the whole city and the two lakes on either side of it. Friday night late ended in one of those memorable late-night conversations, watching the water hyacinth float on Lake Mendota, till the cold sunk in deep and we had to bolt shivering back to the hotel.
One of the highlights of the weekend was friend John Picacio winning the award for Best Artist at the banquet on Sunday. Truly proud of him and pleased that he is being recognized for the talent that he is. Needless to say, there was much whooping and hollering when his name was announced as the winner.
And then the con was over. The last day was spent, as Mz'melia put it so memorably, "somewhere between dumb and falling down," due to exhaustion. Driving back to Chicago, we saw a "Cheese gifts * Fireworks * Gas" sign, and had to stop. Picked up some cheese curds for the hub (who hails from a teeny town outside of Green Bay). Happy to be home, but looking forward to next year already.