May 24th, 2009

Magic Mirror

Wiscon 2

The con is in full swing. Panels (which I never seem to get to unless I'm on them, more's the pity). Dinners and lunches (yes, I get to those--the food in Madison is not only plentiful and cheap, it's FANTASTIC!). Conversations (as above). Parties.

I did my maiden reading (in public, that is) of The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen.  All the little fixes I made at the last possible moment actually seemed to work.  People laughed, which made me very happy.  And I think I know what part I'm going to read at the Jefferson Library gig on June 3.  So that's good.  The other readings were great, too.  Pan Morigan read from an upcoming YA about a boy and a magic shapeshifting key that really made me wish I could curl up with the rest of the book and some cheese curds, which I'll certainly be able to do--once it comes out.  Martin Meiss's SF novel portion was harder to follow aurally (I find that, for me, SF frequently is), but contained many fascinating details about bees and culture.  And Ellen read from the new story she just finished, "Dulce Domum," to happy and engaged silence.

Then I scrambled to keep up with the awesome memories and fine analytical minds of Farah Mendelsohn, Eileen Gunn, Margaret McBride, Steven Schwartz, and Sandra Lindow on The Fiction of Geoff Ryman panel.  Knowing when I was outclassed, I announced right up front that I was just there as a fan of Geoff's work, and left the analysis of themes and styles and politics to them who could be specific and give examples.  I'm not sure how useful I was, but I was cheerful.  Steve said a bunch of really interesting things about Lust which made me want to read it--something the cover had discouraged me from.

Dinner was at L'Etoile, a wonderful place with local food and an inventive chef at which we've been having dinner with the same friends on Saturday night for (mumblemumble) years.  Wandering through the Farmers Market Saturday morning, we deduced that there would be morels and asperagus and rhubarb on the menu.  Which there was.  I had chicken-fried morels with a poached egg and a slice of grilled shitake and salad (truthfully?  I couldn't taste enough morel--I'd rather have had them sauteed) and a bright green risotto that tasted wonderfuly of spring and shaved parmesan.  I also grazed off Ellen's asperagus and salmon over morel hash.  And there was creme fraiche cheesecake for dessert, which was a truly remarkable thing.

The rest of the evening was grand.  Long conversations about writing and books and life.  Watching Pat Murphy setting little bugs made of cell-phone vibrators attached to toothbrush heads scuttling over a table.  Sharing a large and mouth-puckeringly delicious rhubarb pie with a group of happy authors.  Trying on fascinating little hats with Kate Shafer and talking about Anne Hollander (who writes about the history and sociology of clothing--I'm particularly fond of her Seeing Through Clothes, but they're all good) and the difficulties of sewing cut velvet.  Getting crowned with plastic grapes at the Verbe Noire tiara party (which made me look like a basset hound or Dionysius, depending on whose comment I chose to believe).  Finally, I tottered off to bed after midnight, out of words and oompha, but full of goodwill to all.

I have not yet talked about The Kid's Books That Made Us, moderated by the incomparable sdn .  Nor will I, because I have to be on Authorial Intent vs. Reader Response (my last panel) in about 15 minutes, and should pull myself together to do that thing.

I can't believe this is going to be over tomorrow, but then, I  never can.  Ellen has already made our hotel reservations for next year.