Back from WisCon

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Wow. WisCon was a real whirlwind for me, mostly because I decided I would drive in each day (just short of a 2-hour drive for me from Racine to Madison). That lasted for, oh, the first night, when I drove home at 11pm and nearly drove off the road at midnight. Well, ok, I didn't nearly drive off the road, but I had to pull out some “stay awake” tricks, like opening the windows to let in the cold air, punching my thigh to produce a bit of pain and thereby get the blood moving, breathing deeply… I made it, but it wasn't something I wanted to repeat last night. Will Alexander was nice enough to let me stay with him in the hostel he had booked. His wife was going to come, so he had booked a room with bunk beds, and she ended up not coming. Her loss is… Well, you get the idea. And before you ask, Will was on top.

The main reason I didn't want to have to drive back again yesterday was because we had a “Last of the Michigan Clarionites” reading from 9pm – 10:15pm. The reading was really fun. I'm getting better at them, I think, thanks in large part to Mary Robinette Kowal and her excellent reading advice over the years. I developed this annoying throat tightening thing a few years back. I had never experienced it before even though I have regularly given classes, talks, and presentations to large and important audiences in the course of my corporate life. But writing is different, as I'm sure you'll agree. It's your baby that's at stake, and so it has always been much harder for me to face than a class on customizing IBM software. Anyway, I felt a little tightening early on, but the key is to slow down, breathe often, and take the opportunity for theatrical pauses in the reading until the tightness goes away. It worked for me, and I think the reading went quite well. I read from a work-in-progress, the short story I posted about the woman who has her daughter stolen by the people in the mirrors.

The other stories from my Clarion classmates were great. Will Alexander, Sarah Kelly, Aimee Payne, Will Ludwigsen, and Robert Joseph Levy read.   also read, just not at our reading. He had his own  reading and didn't feel it necessary to read at ours… J/K, Steve! Steve was a busy, busy man. I had no idea how connected he was. I thought I  knew people, but Steve puts me to shame.

As for the rest of the con, what I saw of it in my 2 days, was a lot of fun. I met quite a few people I already knew, and as these things go, I met some new folks as well. It was great to meet   in person (Hi, Sarah!), and I ran across my good friend Rachel Klees-Anderson, one of my oldest friends, a great artist, and an aspiring fantasy writer. I hope she keeps at it and gets her stories buttoned up and sent out because I know she'll do well if she sticks to it. I also missed Rachel's sister, Carol, but hopefully I'll run across them again at World Fantasy.

WisCon was really low key for me. Since I have an agent now, I wasn't worried about networking so much. I just went and treated it as an escape from my normal life, and from that perspective it worked amazingly well. I didn't worry about some of the high-stress things in my life right now, and I really needed that.