I'm sitting in the corridor outside the main ballroom, in which Kathleen Ann Goonan is doing her reading and being interviewed, I believe. I'd be in there except I'm doing my Ambergris presentation next and not only need to do a few things to prep but also need to move around before doing it. Somehow sitting in a chair for an hour before I do this thing usually saps me of energy. So, Kathleen, if you're reading this. The rude man in the hall wasn't actually rude, just preppin'.
We got to ICFA just around 10:30 today, in time for my reading opposite Patrick O'Leary and Elizabeth Hand, both of whom read great stuff, Patrick a short story that was incredibly honest and vulnerable, Liz the beginning of her new novel, which just blew me away. Great reading, too. Then I read my publisher rant from Shriek and the whole attempted suicide scene, which I think went over well, too. I was still reeling from the kind of open emotions of the first two readings and it was difficult for me to summon the requisite energy for my own. Still, like I said, I think it went well. When I tell people Shriek is about a little of everything, they don't always believe me. When I do excerpts, they begin to see how I might be right.
Afterwards, Ann and I headed to the pool area to have lunch with Cheryl Morgan and Irma H, a Finn who is involved with Finncon. Cheryl was her usual pleasant and knowledgeable self, and I really enjoyed meeting Irma, who was just a very nice and interesting person. We talked about a lot of different things. Ann and I were curious about Finnish writers and Helsinki. We're planning on spending some vacation time in Finland after Finncon.
After lunch, we went up to the book room and sold some City of Saints and put out some ParaSpheres for Ken and Rusty and Omnidawn, then hung up in the empty bar downstairs, alternatively sleeping and prepping for the Ambergris Rough Guide presentation. We have added extra music at the last second, so who knows how it will go.
Then it was time to do a run-through of the presentation with the ICFA organizers, to make sure the technical stuff was all right. Honestly, when we do this, it's a whole day thing, between the storyboard prep, the technical prep, my reading prep, and then the actual event. We didn't even do dinner with anyone else, since I thought a large group would probably wear me out (although the half-assed dinner invite from a certain E.D. wasn't exactly special).
Out at the pool afterwards, we fell asleep on the deck chairs (honestly, is this con account about the same as describing paint dry, or what?) with our bottles of Guiness stout, but not before I had a chance to ask Ted Chiang if he was waiting in the booze line. Afterwards I thought, now Jeff, that doesn't constitute an actual conversation. Now you kinda owe him a beer, in an odd way. (Later, though, had a nice conversation with him in the lobby about SF and fantasy, about co-workers' reaction to the stuff we write, etc.)
So we sat out there in our deck chairs on the concrete near the pool while just a few hundred yards away lots and lots of noisy aircraft took off from the airport. I understand the rationale for having the ICFA location where it is, but it always feels like such a fakey pseudo-Florida atmosphere in and around the hotel. I'm always longing to go back to Ann's parents' condo on the beach.
Now it's time to prep some more for the multi-media presentation.
More scintilating con reportage tomorrow...