Wiscon Redux

Ok, so I am settled into a cafe here in Youngstown with wifi access that you *don’t* have to pay for, which seems to be the problem with a lot of cafes I stop in at. So many are those T-mobile spots like at airports where you have to buy access, which I think is not good for business really, people, at least not mine. I will buy scones and coffee and tea and sandwiches, but don’t charge me for a connection!

Wiscon. I love Wiscon. I’ve been attending for the past seven or eight years, only missing one when I was living in Japan, and I have to say, if a convention committee anywhere wants to know how to run a successful convention with lots of happy people attending, you should go to Wiscon to learn what’s up in the “They know what they’re doing” department. Wiscon gets the best people: smart, articulate, aware, jovial, supportive. After attending the Clarion writing workshop in 1998, Wiscon was the place where I started to find my second family. The only bad thing about Wiscon is that it only occurs once a year for several days. This is unfair. It means I never have enough time to spend with everyone I love, like and want to get to know better. My Friday nights at Wiscon are pretty much shot no matter what because I MC the Ratbastard’s Karaoke Party, which I absolutely love doing, but it means I never get to be out talking to people at the party for more than the space of a three minute song. It also really drains me to MC, even though I love doing it. My energies ebb all day Saturday from the frantic fast pace and trying to be energetic and encouraging and entertaining for the party. It’s worth it though, because so many people are nice enough to tell me during or after the party or the next day how much fun they had, and I’m glad that Alan and Kristin and I have something we can do to make people happy and jazzed that first night of the convention after the opening ceremonies. It makes me feel like we can give back for all the happiness Wiscon gives us.

Highlights of the convention were seeing Maureen McHugh for the first time in years. You look great, Maureen! And I will definitely take you up on visiting Austin in the future. I really do need to come to Texas and shatter my image of it. Catching up with Terri Windling, one of my angels, and dancing with Karen Fowler while she reveals she knows the words to the “My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard” song, watching Heather Shaw-Pratt teaching her baby how to shake its bootie before it joins us in the outer world, seeing Mary Rickert and her really awesome nice husband Bill (though not enough as I’d like–guess I will just have to move to Milwaukee or thereabouts), dancing with my editor Juliet Ulman, who has this really cute move she does where she puts her hands on her knees and shakes it all the way down and out to the beat (I would steal this move for my own dance move repetoire, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t look as cute when I do it), chatting with Chance because I love chatting with Chance, and seeing Haddayr Copley-Woods’ smiling face everywhere I went (yes, appt. next year for sure!) and teasing back and forth with Tim Pratt over who our editor loves best (I still think it’s him!) and carousing with Alan Deniro and Kristin Livdahl as always, and listening to Kelly Link’s and Laurie Marks’ beautiful Guest of Honor speech, and seeing Cat Valente get crowned and Shelley Jackson’s fabulous hair and dress, and seeing Graham again, brother in the American-in-training/Brit-in-training exchange program, meeting Niall Harrison, who is really really nice and funny and smart, and their friend Liz, and subjecting Rick Bowes to Wiscon’s outrageous energy, being called the cute boy by Midori Snyder always makes me melt and smile like a cute boy should, signing people’s copies of my story in Twenty Epics and Interfictions (I am still surprised when people seem to know me let alone want me to sign anthologies with my story in them) clapping for Tempest Bradford’s slightly drunken toasts, singing “I Wanna Be Sedated” with Nick Mamatas (still grateful he wanted to sing that song!) and hugging Hannah Bowen even if I didn’t get a chance to talk to her ALL WEEKEND (what’s up with that, where were you?) talking with Jackie M. over race and class issues, squeezing Susan Groppi and Karen Meisner whenever I had the chance (though again, failure to get my Susan and Karen time–next year I will make sure to come in early and stay at Ms. Meisner’s instead of coming in on Friday because of a freelance project I was doing here in town), hearing Dave read the water poet story, which I love, meeting Steve Berman and his fabulous friends finally, drinking and dancing with the Nightshade Boys, seeing and signing Sharyn November’s copy of the Coyote Road, which looks GORGEOUS (like her hair), reading with Meghan and Alice and Rick, watching Gavin Grant smile proudly at his awesome wife as she gave her Guest of Honor speech, and seeing Kelly’s sweet cute mom so excited to be there and proud of her daughter as well, and seeing E. Sedia’s new book, and hearing from her that there’s a new award called the Plunkett starting next year for works that investigate class issues (much needed) and what else? What else? I know I’m forgetting someone and something. I can’t help it. It was the best convention ever.

Disappointments: again, not getting to spend as much time with everyone I wanted to spend the entire weekend with. Being afraid to read a really sad section of One for Sorrow at my reading and going for a part that has funny stuff in it too because I feel better when I make people laugh more than cry. Also, not getting the chance to do that tarot reading with Barth Anderson (who gave me one at Clarion in 1998 which pretty much detailed my life for the past nine years in general, making me feel like that poor woman in The Red Violin who traveled the world like the fortune teller told her, but trapped inside that damned violin ad infinitum!). Also, not getting to talk to Greg Van Eekhout and Jenn Reese as much as I’d have liked, beyond a little bit waiting in line for reservations and drinks and whatnot, and at parties for very briefly.

I missed Dora Goss and Elad Haber. Next year, I hope you two will be able to come again. It wasn’t the same, even with all the greatness happening.

I’m glad to be home and have my bed back, and brownies Tony made for me to come home to, and my parents, who picked me up at the airport as is our ritual, and hearing my dad’s idea on a One for Sorrow sequel, which was actually really awesome though I’m not sure if I can do a sequal to One for Sorrow (but who knows, that idea was really pretty awesome, Dad) and now it is sunny and beautiful and I’m sitting in a comfy chair drinking tea in a cafe with people walking by outside and I’m feeling, you know, lucky and happy.



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14 responses to “Wiscon Redux”

  1. bowes, rick Avatar
    bowes, rick

    God will punish you.

  2. Steve Avatar

    Meeting you in the flesh was one of the finer moments of the conference. Now I finally know a fellow to help me shop for clothes and talk about writing. That would be a terrific outing.

  3. sdn Avatar

    jason and i agreed that you and heather-plus-one were the best dancers there.

  4. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    God will surely punish me, yes, I know, Rick. 😉

    Clothes shopping and writing talk looked forward to in the future, Steve.

    The best? Wow, and I was out of practice! I’m glad I’ve still got a little somethin’ somethin’ going on. Thanks for telling me. And yes, Heather-plus-one was pretty damned amazing. 🙂

  5. Jody Avatar

    You know for a fact that nobody looks as cute as you when ya dance. One of my favorite moves is when you put one hand on the back of your neck and you’re groovin’ to the music… then you close your eyes and get completly lost. You are too cute.

  6. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    Oh I miss you! Next time you call, email me a day or two before so I can make sure to be ready to answer it when the unavailable number comes up! I get so mad every time I miss hearing from you! XOXOX Love you.

  7. fusakota Avatar

    Chris, okaeri-nasai!

    1-ban tanoshii noha YOUR DAD’S SEQUEL no hanashi.
    NEXT tanoshii noha TONY-san no BROWNIES no hanashi.

    Anata ga LUCKY de HAPPY nanoha kitto souiu koto dakara desho?

  8. Maureen McQ Avatar

    Add Haddayr to the list of best dancers and I agree. Good to see you.

    Come to Austin!
    Come to Austin!
    Come to Austin!

  9. Karen M Avatar

    Loved seeing you, honey. Coordinating songs together gave me new appreciation for your karaoke-hosting skillz.

    Wish I’d had more time to spend with you (and Rick Bowes, who is clearly a holy terror and some sort of puckish wizard I’d like to know better).

  10. Elad Haber Avatar

    Next year, for sure. 🙂

  11. Alan Avatar

    I missed Dora Goss and Elad Haber. Mase (aka Jen Lackey) also. Hopefully next year.

  12. Nathan Ballingrud Avatar

    I keep hearing about how great Wiscon is. Next year I’m going for sure.

  13. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    Yes, okaasan, that’s right!

    And Haddayr is definitely one of the awesome-est dancers, Maureen, much agreed. Austin in the future, for sure.

    Loved seeing you too, Karen. And yes, Rick Bowes is a puckish wizard and holy terror. I will try to get him to come again next year.

    For sure, Elad, we’ll hold you to it. 🙂

    Ack, and Mace, you’re right, Alan! Where the heck was she??

    You should totally come, Nathan, really! It’s an awesome convention. The best, and the one I always look forward to.

  14. bowes, rick Avatar
    bowes, rick

    By day a puckish wizard. By night a holy terror. And she didn’t even know me when I drank!

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