pameladean: (Libellula julia)
I want to put down at least a few brief notes about things I had hoped to write about at length when my memory was fresh.

First, Minicon 50. As [ profile] mle292 so clearly explained at Opening Ceremonies, Minicon 50 did not mark the fiftieth year of there being Minicons, and nor was it actually the fiftieth Minicon. However, we were celebrating anyway. The three co-chairs had worked very hard to build up membership and guest-of-honor goodwill, all to culminate in this convention. I complained a lot about how it was a day longer than most recent Minicons. In the days of the huge Minicons, were you so inclined, you could attend a party every night for eight or nine days, beginning on the weekend before the convention and spilling over at least onto the Tuesday following it. I've become sufficiently hermitic that I don't even go to the work party or the first party at the hotel, so that my usual Minicon runs from Friday afternoon through, if you count post-convention sushi and ice cream, Monday afternoon. This year we checked into the hotel on Thursday. I still skipped the Tuesday work party and the Wednesday party at the hotel.

Eric was the at con head of the Volunteers Department and a responder for the Code of Conduct Committee, so he got talked into coming to the Wednesday party, which he said was great, but it made him feel anti-social on Thursday. We ended up borrowing Lydy's car and slipping off for dinner on our own. We went, somewhat at random, to the Malt Shop, and got caught up on one another's news. We ordinarily have a date on Friday or Saturday, but of course at a convention it all has to be fitted around other events. We had one other meal together because our timing didn't suit anybody else's. Other meals were properly conventional: sheerly by accident, we ran into Lois who is not on LJ and Jon Singer, and had lunch with them in the hotel restaurant, with very pleasant and wide-ranging conversation.

On Sunday after Closing Ceremonies we slipped away to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden for an hour or so. The weather was threatening rain, but we did manage a walk around. There were snow trillium. All the tamaracks were still buttoned up as tightly as could be; of the understory, only a few dogwoods showed the fantastical beginnings of leaves, but there were recognizable rosettes of thistle, false rue anemone, wild ginger, and trillium

We came back to a dinner with Ctein and Jon again. We went to Peninsula and had excellent food. I also ate one Dairy Queen meal in the room on the day that I had my reading; and Eric and I had a lovely meal both for food and conversation with [ profile] eileenlufkin, [ profile] mrissa, and [ profile] alecaustin at whatever the Sofitel has become -- maybe a Sheraton. I refuse to keep track. They were remodelling their actual restaurant, so they guided us through wide shadowy spaces to their temporary restaurant. It was a bit like eating in a spaceport, but the menu, while limited, had very good things on it. No blue food, however.

I usually get in at least one meal with David, but he was busy with the Cats Laughing concert on Friday night and with hosting room parties other nights. He does sometimes complain about going out for meals at conventions with people he lives with, so I trust this was more satisfactory in any case.

The dreaded 11:30 a.m. panels were both extremely good. I believe that the Scribblies (minus, sadly, Kara Dalkey) managed to keep Jane Yolen entertained while we interviewed her; and the Fairy Tale panel was by far the best one I've ever been on. Everybody was very insightful and intelligent, and there was also a running joke from I have no idea where, in which one put up one's hand if one felt uncomfortable. This came in very handy when people began complimenting one another and when Jane Yolen told family anecdotes about Adam Stemple.

On Saturday afternoon before and after my reading I spent most of my time listening to a really fine lineup of other people read -- Naomi Kritzer, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, Marissa Lingen and Alec Austin, Michael Merriam.

I had never heard Naomi read and, though I like her writing very much and already knew that she is funny, I didn't realize how much theatrical skill she put into reading her work aloud. She read a time-travel story that was a lot like an anxiety dream in its repetitive failures, but much funnier and better structured.

Marissa and Alec are a very good team both for writing and reading, with a nice contrast in manner and in particular flavor of humor; Marissa also read a work of her own that did what most of her short work tends to do to me, which is to proceed stealthily towards a point that perhaps should not be surprising but generally is. (If not surprising, or sometimes while also being surprising, this moment tends to knock the metaphorical breath out of you for other reasons, mostly the logical coming-together of disparate and intense elements.)

Jane and Adam also did a mix of collaborative and individual reading, passing scenes back and forth like, um, some kind of ball in some kind of sport I'd think of if I knew any sports. Jane's poems are often not unlike Marissa's short stories, only more compressed -- one moment you are laughing, the next your eyes sting with tears. I mostly hate war stories, but Adam read a very good one.

Michael has done a lot of spoken-word work and it informs his reading very pleasantly, insofar as that's a good word to use about rather grim subject matter. But I liked the touches of humor and the local settings.

I missed Scott Lynch and Bear reading, again, and will need to put that at the top of my list for next year because this is getting ridiculous.

My own reading went well enough, but I need to find some better solution to the fact that I always overrun a half-hour slot but cannot really fill an hour before my voice gives out. Pat Wrede came in just as I'd finished and was somewhat frustrated, since she knew I would be reading a few passages from our joint story in Points of Departure. The "print ARCs" had arrived over the weekend, and she kindly handed me hers (she commutes to the convention, we don't) to show off and read from. My own was awaiting me when I got home.

I didn't get to as much other programming as I would have liked, but I got to hear [ profile] matociquala and other fine people talk about artistic bravery.

And of course there was the Cats Laughing concert. A spreading fear that the room provided would not be large enough caused a lot of people to line up well in advance of the starting time. I myself got in line maybe half an hour before then and had good conversation with [ profile] laurel, Jon, and Mike Pins, who I think is not on LJ. We ended up sitting in a row with [ profile] ckd and [ profile] aedifica, which was pleasing. Eric didn't stand in line because he didn't want to be trapped in the middle of a crowd rather than being able to come and go. As it turned out, there was room and a little to spare, and he came and sat behind us about two-thirds of the way through the concert, having been in and out and sometimes dancing before that.

The opening act was Sister Tree, whom I had not heard before; but David had, and told me they were very good. They are, and in a way that I particularly like. They did a number of traditional folk songs in their American versions, and each of them did a version of "Cruel Sister" that arrived from and ended up at a very different place from the other's -- with footnotes. I have seldom had such a rollicking academic time.

The Cats opened with "See How the Sparrow Flies," which I had been playing a lot because of the Kickstarter extras. I loved it but remained fairly calm. However, the next song they did was Mike Ford's "Black Knight's Work," and I immediately got extremely teary and felt profoundly moved and nostalgic for the rest of the evening. The Cats sounded excellent. I kept flashing on an alternate history where they had stayed together and evolved into this form -- "So yeah, Steven decided to ditch the trap set because... " and "Scott came in about five years ago when... " They didn't sound the same any more than any of us really looks the same after 25 years -- but they sounded like themselves.

I missed far too many concerts, some because of scheduling conflicts and some because I was too scatterbrained to organize myself. But I did get to attend a room party or two with music, and also to listen to the music circle on Sunday night.

This is far from a full account. I was very happy to see Star and Pooch, as well as everybody mentioned above and quite a few I do not at all mean to leave out.

I think this will have to do, though I'm hoping that having recalled so much will shake up my brains so that I start out of bed at four a.m. remembering entire events that must be committed to writing at once.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
I had to go downtown today for the very mundane reason that I was almost out of Peridex and had to pick up another bottle from the dentist's office. I came home through the brown back yard, strewn with all the leaves last November's snow covered before I could mow them up; and glanced, by sheer habit, at the crumpled sodden leaves of one of last year's peonies. The snowdrops were up and blooming. They were not visible at all yesterday but today, there they were.

When I came upstairs I opened a lot of windows, and immediately heard the robins singing their evening song. The Cornell Ornithological Lab calls it their dawn song, and if Cornell says they sing it at dawn, then they do; but they also sing it in the evening, and sometimes when the sky darkens suddenly before a storm. In support of Cornell, I will add that they also sing it when the sun comes out after the storm is over.

I wish Minicon were earlier or later. Spring has come, and I don't want to sit around in a hotel. At least rain is forecast for part of the weekend.

Right now it's almost entirely clear except for some of those long, dark-gray clouds like islands, with Venus brightening above them.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
Somewhat belatedly, here's my Minicon programming schedule:

Friday, 11:30 AM (ugh) Krushenko's: The Scribblies Interview of GoH Jane Yolen. Emma Bull, Jane Yolen, Nate Bucklin, Pamela Dean, Patricia C. Wrede, Steven Brust.

Saturday, 11:30 AM (UGH), Krushenko's: Recreating the Fairy Tale

Fairy tales are in their own quirky way more prominent now than in past years. They are simply everywhere - they have infiltrated poetry, novellas, novels, musicals, TV, advertising, movies, music... and there seems no stopping them. They are imagined, re-imagined, stood on their heads, flung into outer space, moved into the twenty-first century and beyond. What is it about the fairy tale that makes it so compelling? Where will we take them (or they take us) next? Adam Stemple, Elise A. Matthesen, Emma Bull, Jane Yolen, Pamela Dean, Will Alexander.

Saturday, 4:30 PM (YAY), Veranda 1/2, Pamela Dean Reading.

All of these, but particularly the reading, are up against some heavy competition from other interesting programming.

I will probably be reading from a short story that a few people will have heard me read a snippet of at Wiscon several years ago. It is not, alas, finished yet, because it keeps throwing out novel-like tendrils from its rootstock and I have to keep cutting them back. It is about Con and Beldi in the city of the astronomical werewolves. There is a lot more of it than there was, and Minicon audiences are extremely kind and long-suffering and let me use them as guinea pigs for works in progress.

Hope to see some of you there.


ETA: Editorial commentary on the times provided by yours truly; there is no arcane system of acronyms employed by Minicon that I am aware of.

pameladean: (Libellula julia)
Simple but elegant, this year.  I am very excited about the interview.

For the reading, I haven't quite decided yet, but I'll probably read from a short story called "Strategy and Tactics Among the Mermaids."  It's not finished yet, so I continue my years-long habit of experimenting on Minicon audiences.

Here's the schedule:

 SAT       4:00 PM         Krushenko's

GoH Interview:  Catherynne M. Valente
    Pamela C. Dean
    Catherynne M. Valente 

 SAT       8:00 PM         Ver 1/2

Pamela Dean - Reading

pameladean: (Gentian)
FRI 8:30 PM Krushenko's

The Hero(ine)'s Quest

How three letters change the way we visualize the sword-bearer. Or should there be different rules/goals/spells for males and females on adventures? Or does asking this question make my butt look fat?

Peg Kerr, CJ Mills, Jane Yolen, Julie Czerneda, Pamela C. Dean


SAT 5:00-6:00 PM Veranda 1/2

READING Pamela Dean


SUN 1:00 PM Veranda 5/6

Which Came First

The chicken or the egg? The story or the world? Does the story you want to tell determine the setting, or does your chosen setting demand a certain kind of story to be told in it? Are there some types of stories that simply cannot be told in a particular setting? How do creators balance these seemingly opposing forces in imagining their tales?

Dana M. Baird, Jane Yolen, Marissa Lingen, Pamela C. Dean, Ruth Berman

I am amused to see that my old middle initial has been miraculously resurrected for the occasion. But not for the reading! Only for panels!

I'm not sure yet what I'll be reading. I've been working on a short story, but the bits may not connect up in an entertaining fashion. There is also new material for the Liavek novel, and a fair amount of never-read-aloud stuff from the still-in-limbo amazing and expanding shrinking novel variously known as Going North, Abiding Reflection, and My Poor Book. If you like, you may say in a comment what you would most like to hear. If I don't do what you ask, it will probably be because whatever it is doesn't work well for a reading.

pameladean: (Default)
I will be doing a reading at Minicon from 5:30 to 6:30 on Saturday evening, in Atrium 2.

I'm going to read some material that was cut from Going North, because I can.

My voice doesn't hold out very well for an entire hour, so I'll probably read for a little over half an hour, take any questions or sign any books people want to offer up, and then let you have a little more time between the end of my reading and the beginning of Emma Bull's at 7:30 than you would if I persisted until 6:30.

pameladean: (Default)
I will be doing a reading at Minicon from 5:30 to 6:30 on Saturday evening, in Atrium 2.

I'm going to read some material that was cut from Going North, because I can.

My voice doesn't hold out very well for an entire hour, so I'll probably read for a little over half an hour, take any questions or sign any books people want to offer up, and then let you have a little more time between the end of my reading and the beginning of Emma Bull's at 7:30 than you would if I persisted until 6:30.

pameladean: (Default)
I think the subject line is about all I really have to say about events in the world.

On my little square inch of ivory, I now have three half-finished LJ entries languishing while I scrabble around saying OW. This is because on Friday evening at Minicon I tripped over my sweetie Eric while we were rounding a corner together, talking animatedly (neither of us can now recall what we were talking about) and rushing to meet David, Lydy, and Ctein for dinner before Opening Ceremonies. I fell flat on my chest, knocking the wind out of myself. I am proud to say that even while I was making Unnnnngggggg noises getting air back in, I thought, "So THAT'S what that feels like!" Several members of the hotel staff were very concerned, as were my dinner partners. It might have been smarter to try icing the injury right away, but I was, amazingly, still very hungry and didn't want to miss Opening Ceremonies. In any case, I felt I was reasonably accurate in my assessment that the problem was not on the surface.

Half the people at Minicon seem to have bruised or cracked a rib at some point in their lives. The general advice was to ice the area, take anti-inflammatories, and not do anything to aggravate the pain. When I saw the doctor a week later, at an appointment previously made for a blood-pressure check, he said pretty much the same thing, confirming everyone's assertions that the medical profession really couldn't do much about the situation. I can't take ibuprofen because it makes my hands swell up ("Weird," commented my doctor), but acetaminophen worked all right for pain control, along with lavish applications of Ben-Gay. He gave me a prescription for Flexeril, which I filled, but I haven't taken any. The patient information sheet alarmed me too much. I have become blase about the possible side effects of antihypertensives, but not about random other drugs, apparently.

I managed my reading and my two panels at Minicon, although I was really not all there for the Sunday afternoon one. I can still, two weeks later, only sleep in one position; at Minicon, I had to build fortresses out of most of the available pillows before I could lie down at all; and since the hotel pillows were soft, these fortresses would gradually subside and need to be flung about and rebuilt several times every night. This kind of activity cuts into one's sleeping time. Fortunately, David, Lydy, Eric and I had split out into two rooms rather than piling into one, so I could have a bed to myself. I am much obliged to Eric for helping me put on my shoes, and for hanging around while I discovered whether it was possible to take a shower. Being in a hotel with high beds, a shallow tub, and a grab bar was probably a good thing for the first few days after this ridiculous event.

At this point, I can cough, breathe, and laugh without any difficulty. Sneezing is still very painful. At Minicon, I had to develop a special high-pitched yelp from the top of my chest so that I could laugh. I perfected it under emergency conditions at [ profile] mrissa's reading.

This is the first spring in five years that I haven't had some kind of book deadline, but I can't garden until things heal up. However, I look forward to being able to sleep in a normal position someday. My cat is puzzled, but persists in sleeping as close to me as he can get, pillow fortresses or no pillow fortresses.

pameladean: (Default)
I'm very pleased to have this almost two weeks before the convention, especially in the case of the reading.

Pamela Dean Reading - 2:00PM Saturday - Veranda 1

Ask A Writer - 4:00PM Saturday - Veranda 2
Always wanted to know how a novel is born? How does a writer structure their day? Is it all glittering parties and intelligent company? Come ask a panel of working writers anything!
Panelists: Michael Merriam (M), Jane Yolen, Pamela Dean

Building A World With History - 1:00PM Sunday - Krushenko’s
Nothing springs to life fully formed. How does history affect cultures, and how can this be used in creating strong stories in strong settings?
Panelists: Rachel Kronick (M), Jane Yolen, Pamela Dean, Ruth Berman

Thank you for participating in Minicon Programming. All panelists are encouraged to meet with other panelists in the programming Green Room before their panel. The programming green room is Cabana 201.

I haven't figured out what I'm reading yet. Last year I did some stuff that got cut from the Amazing Expanding and Shrinking Novel; this year I ought probably to read something that remained in it, but even the early chapters are full of spoilers for other books.



pameladean: (Default)

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