WisCon 2005

WisCon 2005

As ya’ll may or may not know, my life’s in transition right now. (If you’re really curious and I haven’t talked with you, feel free to send me an email.) After every WisCon, I always have this great sense of transformation — as if over the course of a weekend, I changed. A great deal. As I’m in transition anyway, this WisCon, in some ways, was particularly, well, transforming.


I drove down with my friend Lynn on Thursday morning. I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before — between packing and doing too much and being too excited, well, just didn’t sleep. It was a nice trip down though, with good conversation which included gems like the concept that some of the people we know may be shelties — they must herd other people, whether those other people want to be herded or not, as well as butt crack being the new cleavage.

My tradition has been to meet Carrie in the lobby of the hotel at some point Thursday night and go out for sushi.. Carrie wasn’t at WisCon again, so I went out to dinner with Rich. I’ve known Rich since I was a freshman in college — spring of 1980 to be more precise. He’s one of my oldest and dearest friends, and even though he was coming down with a cold, we went out for sushi together. Then we went to the bar in the hotel and drank scotch and talked and flirted and my, it was good. He is a fine, fine man, a true romantic.

I had breakfast Friday morning with Anne Harris. It was one of the highlights of the con for me. Not only was it Anne Harris, but she and I are both working on our fourth novels. I am not in any way comparing my writing to Anne’s. However, there are some things that happen, some things that you’ve discovered, by your fourth novel. I hadn’t realized they were fourth novel kinds of things — but talking with Anne gave me some insight into my own process, which is always a good thing.

Friday morning was the workshop — I ran one of the novel writing workshop sessions. It went very well. The participants were all professional and had great comments and critiques and I learned some things and there are also things that I need to think about — about how older people view time.

I went to the fancy French restaurant (L’Etoile?) Friday night for dinner with Laurel. We had champagne and toasted one another and ate really good food. Didn’t finish dinner so that way I could have dessert.

I think it was Friday evening when I discovered that I was a lot more fragile than I realized, both physically and emotionally. I went to party at Rez’s room — a party that included single-malt scotch. After about an hour, I went back to my room to get something. It was 9 PM, and I realized that I’d hit the wall. There was no way in hell that I was going to go out again and face anyone.

That proceeded to be the pattern for the rest of the con then. Leave the room for a while, talk, interact, do panels, then go back to the room and just chill. It made me sad, and a little frustrated with myself, that I was so delicate. However, I wasn’t about to push myself any more than I was either. I couldn’t hurt myself deliberately by not paying attention to how I was feeling — I was hurting enough as it was.

Saturday morning I had no plans. I ran into Aaron. We went for coffee and croissant at L’Etoile then walked around the farmer’s market. While heading back to the hotel, we passed a pottery stall. Aaron spotted a beautiful porcelain bowl that he really liked. I bought it for him and Molly for a wedding present. That’s the best way to get wedding presents I’ve decided — actually going shopping with the couple, and getting them exactly what they want and need.

I had lunch with Michael. Michael is a friend who had wanted to be in the writer’s workshop, in my group. However, the post office lost his manuscript, so he didn’t get in. I read it anyway and we did the critique over lunch. Fortunately, Michael can write at the sentence level, and his paragraphs are mostly well constructed, so we didn’t have to talk about basics. Instead we talked about plot and scene structure and characters and like that. He told me later that I helped him a lot.

Saturday afternoon I had a reading (thank you again Justine!) S. N. Arly read the first part of this fabulous story about a were-woman. I read two short bits — one from “Caves of Buda” and one from “The Jaguar and The Wolf.” Sylvia Kelso read a bit from her new novel coming out in July, and Laurie Marks read the first chapter of her new novel.

After that, I met with some people to talk about mid-career writer stuff. It was my first visit up to the Governor’s club. I’ve already made my room reservation up there for next year. (^_^)

After that, I spent some time talking with Kristine about the proposal for her novel — and at one point something made her mind go “click” and I could watch the ideas just pop for her. It was neat.

That night was the auction. I went to that for a while, wandered for a while, and then crashed really early again. (And yes, I’d taken an hour’s long nap during the day, and had spent lots of time alone, decompressing, in the room. I was still in bed before 11.)

Sunday was my busiest day. Had breakfast with Victor, (badger2305) who I adore and who is also someone I’ve known for a long time — since 1984 or ’85, I believe. We went for a short walk after breakfast which was also very good.

I had a panel at 10 — the first panel I’ve ever moderated. The topic was “To Whom is the Writer Responsible.” It was a very interesting panel — the people on it were very sharp.

One of the things that I loved about that panel were that the panelists all approached the issue from different perspectives. One, Doug Lain, (douglain) approached it from an Avant Guard aspect, where it is the artist’s responsibility to change society for the better through their art. Caroline Gilman (who recently published this history book about Lewis and Clark) approached the question from the POV of a historian. Sylvia Kelso is a teacher and has done some historical fiction, and I’ve done historical fiction, so we approached it from those perspectives.

It was a lively panel, with lots of good questions and good input from the audience. I was nervous, of course, beforehand. But everything turned out fine.

Sunday I had lunch with Aaron and Molly and their friend Sharon. It was lovely and lively and full of good cheer. I crashed hard afterward — not because of the company, but because it was all too much again.

Sunday afternoon I had drinks with Michael and Jean. I was supposed to have dinner with my Clarion classmates who were there, but that kind of fell through. I did end up doing dinner with a large group and talking about slash and fan fic, and when is the creator actually finished with a product. (Anne and Rob — robgates — had been on a panel called “The Taboo Topic of Slash” right before dinner.)

Sunday night was the dessert salon. I made it through that, and the GoH speeches, but by the time they’d finished I was twitchy. It felt like I had this aura, in a one inch radius all around my body, filled with this vibrating energy. This was actually not a good thing. I went back to my room, where I ended up doing Tai Chi. I was dressed in a fancy black gown, but it was loose enough that I could go all the way through form. Twice. It helped me calm down enough that I could go and face the parties and the noise and the people again.

Monday morning I had breakfast with Cliff (Obadiah, who is lovely and has given me great critiques on all my novels), then a 10 AM panel, “Novel vs. Short Story.” I felt very much in awe being on this panel — all the other panelists were award winning authors, had all won the Nebula at the very least. Lunch was kind of a picked up, hurried affair while I attended one of the highlights of every WisCon for me — the mid-career writer’s panel. (I did other mid-career stuff through out the weekend — and again, talking with and listening to people who aren’t beginners, but are at the same place or further along in their careers than I am always does wonders for me. I remember the first time this panel was held very well — and how thrilled I was to listen to these older, wiser women speak. It helped me so much, continues to help me.)

Then came the drive home, and the next day, the trip back here, to Wyoming. I’m so very, very happy to be here, to be home.

I’m giving myself one more day to relax (and do this huge report.) Tomorrow, I’m planning on starting serious work on the novel again. It’s strange, kind of hard to explain, but I can feel the stuff, the characters, the words, the joy at the back of my head. And because I am where I am in terms of my writing and my career, I believe that I know how to pull it forward. It may take a couple of days to get back into it, but I have no doubt that I will get back into it, that I am capable of getting back into it.

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Comments (20)

  1. Transition

    Libations and blessings on all transitioning folk right now, Leah. I know the gist and though I don’t know you well, I was moved by the depth of what is happening for you. You’re in my thoughts, as is that fabulous dress you wore Saturday!

    Take care…

    • Re: Transition

      Phoenix! So glad to hear from you.

      I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to share food — plans just kind of fell apart (that, and I ended up being tripled booked for that meal.)

      Thanks for the good wishes — know that they’re returned. I always think of you fondly. Thank you also for introducing me to Lyn.

      Take care of yourself too. . .

  2. It sounds like a wonderful con. I do the go-back-and-chill-in-the-room thing a lot, so lots of sympathy there, for all the reasons. Would love to hear some of those fourth-novel thoughts, if you ever feel like musing on it aloud here.

    • Will probably muse on fourth-novel stuff when I can. And the con, yes, is wonderful. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but really, it is mine. And someone else asked me to ramble more about research process too. .

  3. This sounds like a lot of excellent self care in a situation where it’s really tempting to push beyond your own barriers. Yeah!

    • I do try to take care of myself when I can. . .thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Anonymous

    not really anon – this is D. Silver

    I had a great time, and it was wonderful to chat with you as much as I had a chance. It looks like you did a good job of taking care of yourself. Let’s do a better job of keeping touch. Perhaps it will help with the post-Wiscon letdown. I know it will help me!

    Diane

    • Re: not really anon – this is D. Silver

      I had a lovely time with you as well. I did what I could to take care of myself, and I think it worked — just tired still, not sick.

      And I’d love to stay in touch. . .Sending you email now.

      –Me

  5. Transition

    Libations and blessings on all transitioning folk right now, Leah. I know the gist and though I don’t know you well, I was moved by the depth of what is happening for you. You’re in my thoughts, as is that fabulous dress you wore Saturday!

    Take care…

    • Re: Transition

      Phoenix! So glad to hear from you.

      I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to share food — plans just kind of fell apart (that, and I ended up being tripled booked for that meal.)

      Thanks for the good wishes — know that they’re returned. I always think of you fondly. Thank you also for introducing me to Lyn.

      Take care of yourself too. . .

  6. It sounds like a wonderful con. I do the go-back-and-chill-in-the-room thing a lot, so lots of sympathy there, for all the reasons. Would love to hear some of those fourth-novel thoughts, if you ever feel like musing on it aloud here.

    • Will probably muse on fourth-novel stuff when I can. And the con, yes, is wonderful. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but really, it is mine. And someone else asked me to ramble more about research process too. .

  7. This sounds like a lot of excellent self care in a situation where it’s really tempting to push beyond your own barriers. Yeah!

  8. Anonymous

    not really anon – this is D. Silver

    I had a great time, and it was wonderful to chat with you as much as I had a chance. It looks like you did a good job of taking care of yourself. Let’s do a better job of keeping touch. Perhaps it will help with the post-Wiscon letdown. I know it will help me!

    Diane

    • Re: not really anon – this is D. Silver

      I had a lovely time with you as well. I did what I could to take care of myself, and I think it worked — just tired still, not sick.

      And I’d love to stay in touch. . .Sending you email now.

      –Me

    • Yes.

      This is why people come back year after year, are addicted to it.

      Glad you had a good time!

    • Yes.

      This is why people come back year after year, are addicted to it.

      Glad you had a good time!

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