Thursday, June 03, 2010

WisCon Report (Updated)

This is going to be disjointed, but then so is my typical con experience.

Our WisCon vacation started with the trip down on Friday. Breakfast with the usual suspects (Ben, Steph, Sara, James) here before caravaning to Madison. We put a WisCon 2010 banner in the back window of the Smart car but didn't get any waves for it until we were within a few blocks of the hotel. Parked next to a Mini in the ramp because the Smart makes it look huge.

Bumped into my (one and only) cousin Liz in the lobby. She gave me a shark finger puppet. Laura got a mouse.

Got registered and checked in then went to the gathering. Laura dug through the ARC pile while I chatted with Michael Damien Thomas and a rotating cast of other young writers.

Then we (the usual suspects plus J. Simon) headed for dinner at the Irish Pub on the capital square to celebrate James' new job, CIO of UMn Morris. He got the call on the way down. Lovely fish and chips with a glass of Dalwhinnie, also a fair bit of Sara's Irish stew. Nom.

Crashed hard and early, nothing like a small hole in your neck and big doses of antibiotics three times a day to knock you over.

Saturday was Panels Day for me.

Started the day off with a morning juvenalia panel in which Mary Robinette Kowal, the legendary Carol Emshwiller and I read from some of our earliest works by way of showing the world that everybody sucked at some point. It was good fun, though I have to note that none of what we read was too awful and some of mine are even up on the web + part II and III. We also got a very brief personal puppet interpretation of one of Mary's stories (written at age nine), which rocked.

After that we settled in for a hallway party for a bit. Most WisCons Laura and I can be found hanging out in the second floor hall a good bit of the time during the day as we're there to see old friends and new and most pass by at some point.

My next panel was a field guide to editors, which was populated mostly by professional and well regarded editors, plus Pat Rothfuss and I who are both primarily writers at this point. On one level I felt far more underqualified for this panel than any other I've been on in years. On another I think it was probably good to have a couple of folks who mostly write to talk about the other end. Best moment: Pat doing a little cautionary (don't do this when you meet an editor) improv piece from the point of view of a desperate writer that ended in him clutching John Jospeh Adams' arm and saying "you smell so good…like New York."

Then more hall party and a lovely Indian dinner with J. and the usual suspects.

Finally it was off to the Tor party where I chatted with a number of folks. Best moment: after chatting with Jim Frenkel senior editor at Tor and my one time agent about my new series, he blinked a couple of times and said "You just can't do anything simple, can you?" Guilty as charged.

Sunday started off with more hall party, this time playing with a non-uniform bouncy ball which is both a great physics toy and a good way to start conversations. We've made quite a few friends over the years playing with bouncy balls in the hallways of conventions of the sf and physics varieties.

Then I handed over twenty years of accumulated rejections to my archivist, the lovely and talented Lynne Thomas. It was actually quite hard to do, probably because I paid for those in blood. I am going to get copies of them all and have them bound though, so that's something.

Eventually went out for dinner with Mary Robinette Kowal, the Thomases, and the Monettes. Lovely Indian food again, and much good conversation.

Rounded off the night with an impromptu room party, which included my laughing and snorting Glenlivet into my sinuses, and some really spiffy trifle from the Governor's club desert buffet.

At the point that broke up it was time to crash and burn which meant that I didn't make it to Eleanor's launch party for which I feel a bit guilty. OTOH, I don't think I'd have made it down even without the room party. I was really beat this WisCon and the only reason I lasted as long as I did was I was able to be social from the comfort of my own bed.

Monday was goodbyes and the sign-out where, as with last year, I sat with John Joseph Adams and Alex Bledsoe which was a lot fun. They're both good conversationalists and we're collectively not too far apart in how much we sign. Most amusing moment Pat Rothfuss coming up and (entirely facetiously) shrieking "Kelly McCullough! Squeeeeee!" while putting his hands against one cheek. Very nicely done. Pat's sense of the silly is at least as strong as mine, which makes him a lot of fun to hang out with.

Finally, home to collapse, with bad traffic adding an hour to the trip.

Updated to add: Congratulations to Dr. Berg! Long time friend and one-time assistant to my one-time agent, Tracy Berg, has just successfully defended her Ph.D and there was much hanging out and rejoicing with Dr. Berg, which included some fabulous 15 year cheddar and her joining us for Indian food on Saturday.


Mary Robinette Kowal said...

I so much enjoyed getting to spend some time with you at this con. And seriously, your juvenilia is not going to make anyone feel better about sucking.

Kelly McCullough said...

Mary, it was really nice to get a chance to spend some time with you as well, and I have to say the same about even your nine-year-old-writer stuff.

Kelly Swails said...

Bouncy ball for the win! :)

So bummed I didn't make Wiscon this year. Always next year ...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time, Kelly, but I obviously missed something. Small hole in your neck?!? Glad you had fun!