Dragon*Con Postmortem and Resurrection: In a Nutshell and Out

Back at ye olde day job this week, which means I’m officially resurrected from Dragon*Con. Eying my to-do list—which really ought to have decreased after the convention and instead seems to have gotten bigger—and dwelling upon the virtues of being corpsified.

In a nutshell, Dragon*Con ran me down with a semi, backed up and rolled over me again, and then got out and stepped on me. And yet I had fun, due almost totally to the fabulous folks I got to hang with. My Daily Dragon staff and my DC2K writers group, of which there was significant overlap, did a fabulous job keeping me sane, giggling, and on a sugar high. I got to gab briefly with cmpriest and daveybeauchamp, touch base with stephenhsegal, and finally, finally spend some face time with mouseferatu.

Y’know, I do wonder about folks who have only ever interacted with me at Dragon*Con, whether they think I’m just a hyper, scatterbrained spaz all the time. daveybeauchamp and I have had several conversations now about how different our personalities are at conventions versus how we our in our everyday lives. I’m quiet, shy, and coherent usually. Honest!

Less nutshelly:

My “Marketing Short Fiction” talk for Ann Crispin on Friday went really well this year. Some years I barely manage to get through it without wanting to climb under a rock, certain I have wasted an hour of my audiences’ lives. Other years, I feel like I managed to make some small connection with the poor folks listening to me ramble on, and I’m pretty happy if I can achieve that. This year, I actually felt like I engaged with Ann’s workshop attendees. I had fun and was even able to think about doing those things you’re supposed to do when addressing a group: make eye contact, banter to keep folks amused, and deviate from the script so it’s not all lecture-lecture-lecture. I’m never going to be a good public speaker. Hell, I’m never going to stop being terrified of public speaking. But I’m pretty pleased with how this talk went.

‘Course I could just be deluding myself, and I was the most boring, irritating, tedious speaker any of them have ever had the misfortune of listening to, but I likes me my little fantasies.

I also swung by The Missing Volume‘s booth in the vendor area on Friday. Glennis LeBlanc (the owner/operator) had graciously offered me an autographing slot, but I didn’t figure I’d have the time, plus I’m not delusional enough to think I’m much of a draw. But I figured the least I could do was swing by and sign the copies of Returning My Sister’s Face she had available. When I arrived she was doing a brisk business, but stopped to say hello and to let me know that my book was actually selling well, which, of course, I was utterly delighted to hear.

Also enjoyed my panels. My “Outside Our Shores” one on Saturday was sparsely attended, but I was thrilled to discover that in a fabulous bit of cosmic serendipity, samhenderson was also on it. I haven’t seen Sam since we attended LaunchPad together, and I knew she was going to be at the convention*, but we hadn’t arranged a meet-up before the chaos began, and I would have been terribly bummed if I hadn’t gotten a chance to chat with her.

My Sunday panel, “What Women Want,” had a much larger crowd, and the discussion turned quite animated. I’m a little fuzzy on how that went as I hadn’t slept in over 28 hours by that point, and I was both loopy and buzzed on a massive dose of caffeine. britzkrieg and j_hotlanta came out for it (huggins to them both!), and they didn’t pretend not to know me afterward, so I cleave to the hope that I didn’t come off as a total flake. I do wish I could’ve had a chance to chat with Shannon Butcher. From what we both said on the panel, I got the impression that she and I shared some views on writing and storytelling, and I would’ve liked to have better made her acquaintance. But she ended up being seated at the other end of the table from me and disappeared pretty quickly afterward.

Then, of course, there were the Hugo Awards—the reason that I was so very, very sleep deprived on Sunday, not to mention extra twitchy for most of the convention. A lot more people came out for the 6AM (!) Hugo Breakfast at the (overpriced) Hyatt buffet than I expected. maryrobinette took point in disseminating updates from the real-time Twitter/Coveritlive broadcast stream. I would have liked to have had chatted more with her, but I was so jittery I felt like I was vibrating. stephenhsegal was cucumber-cool while I was all but bouncing in my seat, but then the Hugos are old hat to him ;). I think I thanked his dad, stu_segal, something like a half-dozen times for organizing the breakfast—as I was both very appreciative and not processing cognitive input/output well, making me prone to getting stuck in repetitive loops.

So yeah, I did not win my very own shiny rocket ship. Honestly, I didn’t expect to, and I’m just incredibly honored and ecstatic to have been a finalist this year. That, in itself, is a dream come true. Really, the main pang of disappointment I felt that morning was when I saw I hadn’t been included in the Hugo video/slide show presentation that they showed at the opening of the awards ceremonies—which the Hugo committee had graciously provided Stephen and Stu with a copy of so we could watch it in Atlanta too. Call it narcissism or vanity or hubris, and I’m not sure if an email got lost or I just somehow slipped through a crack, but I would’ve liked to have been included in that memento and celebration of the awards. Silly of me, I know.

There’s vasty gobs more to blog about, people that I’ve forgotten to mention and thank, and Dragon*Con observations in general to be made, but this post is already way longer than I meant it to be. And I think I saw my to-do list edging toward the scissors on my desk. I so don’t need a blade-wielding to-do list running amok through the state capitol.

*In an amusing crossing of our creative spheres—previously unbeknownst to either of us—Sam’s marvelous short story, “Bottles,” was adapted into a short film, which film fosteronfilm accepted for this year’s film festival. Would have completely missed that Sam was the writer if Matthew hadn’t turned to me as he was reading over the press releases of the films he’d accepted and asked “Have you ever heard of the Rhysling Award?” (as Sam won it this year in the “Long Poem” category). Of course I had, which led to follow-up dialogue, and subsequent revelation and excitedness ensued.

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