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Shyness and Lack of Gushing
Readercon '97, Massachusetts
As Mumbled and Whimpered by Jasmine Sailing

Date: Mon, 14 July 1997 11:28:43 (MDT)

Well, I guess I'm stuck with botching the journal for Readercon. Technically the convention began on the 11th, but the journey began a bit too early on the 10th. Of July, that is. The day after my birfday. In a sense it was relieving to just get out; to escape the swarms always converging in my mailbox, to let people know about Death Equinox without having to respond to endless emails about it, to see the box of my new issue that was shipped to me at the hotel. Of course whenever I feel like hiding at places such as these I realize I actually don't want to be bored. The social pack critter instinct pops up and suddenly I can't deal with it comfortably; from my cave in the basement, through my computer. This entails actually going out there to meet people IN THE FLESH! Ack!

So we escaped to the airport, said the tear-jerking goodbyes to the baby (Amara) -- knowing perfectly well that we would spend the 4 days of our absence saying "doggy", "haggabwa", "bup", and talking about the cute girl we were leaving behind. I had pictures of both kids (saying bye to the baby is more difficult because she doesn't understand that we'll be back, thankfully Griffin understands this) with me, that was something at least. After a fairly uneventful flight we arrived in Boston early Thursday evening. I had to do my typical psychotic dash for a cigarette, then we got the book heavy luggage and headed outside to wait an hour for the "limo" (shuttle). And smoke more, in my case. Being controlled by an addiction like that is annoying, but it's my life and I'm used to it. Known for it, remembered by The Joey Zone as the ever-resourceful butt-smoker, something or other. Life revolves around Jasmine's foul cigarettes, but but she's at least nice enough to avoid puffing on non-smokers.

The shuttle ride out to booniesville, the Westborough Marriott, took an hour. An hour of the other 2 early con attendees sitting behind us, yacking non-stop about who wrote this and who critiqued that. We thought "Geeze, aren't we going to have to hear about this all weekend?" and opted for discussing interesting traffic topics with the driver. I've spent most of my life in the desert states and love looking at the seemingly endless trees whenever I'm out on the East Coast. Of course you see more and more houses cropping up in them, and you realize that one day there will be no trees there, so it's equally as depressing as being in the mountains here (where California moved in to bulldoze life for more houses that'll be abandoned at the first sign of deep snow). We hit 3 toll booths, that's another culture shock for plains/desert nomads.

The convention was starting on Friday, but I'd thought it was a 4 day thing like any other convention I go to. Oops. The hotel was beyond boonies, it was in the middle of an industrial park. We wandered around -- marvelled over seeing the headquarters for Staples, Inc, and I told Bruce it might actually make a more interesting story to say "I pissed on the door of the headquarters of Staples, Inc" as opposed to "I saw it, dewd", but he didn't take me up on the idea -- gave up and went back to the hotel. Ate in the restaurant (only one kitchen in the hotel; they have the same food and prices for the restaurant, bar, and room service. There was no escaping it. I was remembering the days I would bring cans of soup and can openers to cons, wishing I'd done it again.); horrified the guests by dunking my fries into a glop of sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, and onions. Went back to our hotel room and realized we were doomed to one hell of a boring night. Oh, of course we heard the exact same types of conversations in the restaurant as we did in the shuttle. No thanks. We watched Braveheart on HBO. We don't have cable here, don't want it, found it ironic that we flew out to a literary convention to watch the hypno-ray in our hotel room. We grudgingly decided it was better than staring at walls though... And, hell, it's nice to just relax and be braindead every now and then. We also have some kind of strange tradition of always winding up with Mel Gibson movies on in hotels. Not sure what cursed us to that. Well, besides Road Warrior. We did at least learn that when Braveheart was ripped off for Fox's Roar (accidentally saw part of this after we came back. Not sure what it was about, but people certainly did roar a lot. We assumed that was caused by the pain of flesh eroding from soap/water contamination), it became the scummy Celts vs the clean Celts. A little appreciated historical fact is that Celts, and particularly Scots, had deadly allergic reactions to soap and water. Hence the dirty Scots in Braveheart were victorious and bred (I'm a partial descendent, though it's also my teutonic blood that makes baths deadly for me), whereas the ones in Roar are obviously of the breed that died off due to cleansing themselves. Good riddance, I suppose...

Both that night and the next day we'd wanted to creep off to Boston, but the shuttle was $24 per person and it was the only escape. *Sigh*. There wasn't any choice but to hole up and wait through the early Friday hours. Listened to a NASA guy talk about Mars on the local public radio station. Watched the hopes for a new James Earl Ray trial on CNN, and hoped right along with him and the King family. Maybe they'll get around to it before the cancer kills him. Yeah... Then OJ came on and we quickly changed the channel. I watched my soaps that everyone who watches worse night time programming loves thinking I'm stoopid for, and got ready to go out into the convention while they were on. My UPS package of 56 copies of the new Cyber-Psychos AOD (#7) also arrived during that time period so we got to drool all over the spiffy covers.

There still wasn't much to do when we wandered out there around 3:30. I got my guest badge, Bruce got his guest of guest badge, we sat around yapping with the programming person (Ellen Brody). I asked every few minutes if any of the guests I knew were there yet. Nope. Then we went back to the room, grabbed pictures of the kids to show off, continued to sit around waiting. I'd also needed to "mentally prepare" while we were back at the room, as I had the misfortune of being in the very first block of panels. Smoked a bowl, popped a tab, went back out and had a rum and coke. Munched some chips. Went to the panel at 6, wishing anyone I knew was there. The panel was "Fiction As Alternate Personal History", which is appropriate enough for me. The only other participants present when I arrived were Esther Friesner and Katya Reimann. We started yapping, Allen Steele arrived after 10 minutes, Cecilia Tan after 30, the moderator never arrived. I was my typical self and ran my mouth off about processing trauma through fiction, and even about doing it so heavily that people mistake you for being far more fucked up and bitter than you really are. About processing Paul the Junkie's death being confused with a recent marriage in a story I'd written, about rape trauma, about the lovely writers I edit such as Mike Hemmingson who loses one girlfriend after another and alienates the world through his powerful scribblings (because people can't handle Truth). It was fun enough. At one point Allen Steele was talking about a stoned guy and people were sniggering -- and I was wondering what people would think if they'd known I was more or less stoned, tripping, and drunk at that very moment. It was a panel...

Run back to the room, do things I really shouldn't detail here, wander back out. Shortly afterward was the Paul Di Filippo reading. I started calling him "Flippo" all weekend to make my life easier, maybe I'll do that here as well. Flippo read many excerpts of sick humour/bad taste natures from his novel Ciphers (upcoming from Permeable Press and Cambrian Publications) and we did much giggling. You should read his books if you haven't. Lovely writer, I must say. Interesting speaker as well. And he is, after all, the True Seeker of the Mud Puppy. And, possibly more importantly, his humour certainly defies PC standards. That god-awful stigma that could get me shot because my gay friends got me in the habit of jokingly calling them fags... Afterward I charged up bellowing that my new issue was finally out and gave him one. Spoke briefly, made sure we knew who we were for Bad Craziness the next day, then he got nabbed by a fan so Bruce and I wandered off.

Immediately after that was a "Science Fiction of Cyril M. Kornbluth" panel, which I went to (belatedly, of course, since I can hardly bounce from a reading to a panel without a cigarette and some coffee in between) because Mark Rich was on it. I needed to apologize to him for past slothful negligences. That's another aspect of cons for me: chronic mass apologies. I'd meant to accept a story from Mark, then I went and got pregnant and had a couple of months of chronic convulsions which kept me from doing anything. Yeah, silly me! I guess I confused Mark when I wandered up to him, he thought I wanted to talk to Algis Budrys. Nope. I apologized, gave him the new issue. He said that's ok, and traded a copy of his Kornbluth newsletter. It's a good thing that people know how to be forgiving amongst small press...

We finally found Lance and Andi Olsen right after that. Lance, if you hadn't known, is quite a swell novelist. His wife Andi also does some pretty incredible art, which you can see on the cover of Lance's latest novel from Permeable Press Time Famine. I had to compliment Lance on his duck and horse stories in his novel Burnt from Wordcraft of Oregon, then we led them to registration so Ellen Brody could rest assured that I would finally stop poking my head in to ask "Have Lance and Andi shown up yet?" every few seconds. Gave them shit about being booked on the weekend of Death Equinox, asked Lance if he could get malaria or something. Oh well. =) Then we drifted and reconverged for the Samuel "Chip" Delaney reading, wherein I met him and threw a copy of the magazine at him as well (of course I'd given one to the Olsens). His readings were quite perverse and intriguing. I would recommend reading Hogg (Black Ice Books) for a fine example.

After that it was finally getting late and the Olsens were off to check into their hotel a mile away, so Bruce and I retired to the bar where we proceeded to get very bored again. I normally don't drink, but I do tend to do it at conventions for the lone exception. Being in the land of Pete's Wicked Ale and Sam Adams, I was at least happy with the choice of draws. I wasn't happy with the annoying sports bar or their choices in music. We had 2 beers a piece before we gave up and headed for the Meet the Pro(se) party. Stayed there for a few minutes before we gave up and retired early for the night. I dumped my cigarettes and lighter on Ellen Datlow, gave her a copy of the new issue, didn't get acknowledged, wandered off feeling pretty bummed about the convention.

The problem was... well, at World Horror you can at least find people in the bar. That wasn't the case here. Maybe that's a good thing, but you could at least sip iced tea together in the bar rather than being bored in your room. I wanted to socialize and network, it wasn't happening. I'd also been realizing with horror that I seemed to be at a fan con, whereas I don't really believe that I have many fans. Maybe I do and it just hasn't occurred to me yet. I'd been feeling a bit put out prior to the con because everyone who talked me into going then decided to cop out and not attend themselves. And they did this after Bruce and I plunked down $900 for non-refundable airplane tickets. The only one who was still coming was The Joey Zone, and he and the Perilous Cheryl LaBeau were only to be present from 12-6 on Saturday. Then the Olsens, who were as new there as Bruce and I were, got bumped from the Marriott and had to stay a mile away. *Sigh*.

This loneliness wasn't the fault of Readercon. Contrary to popular misconception, I am indeed a very shy person. I get lost in crowds, I have a difficult time meeting people. If everyone doesn't jump in my face and start yacking I'm pretty much screwed. I hide in corners, wishing anyone would notice me (yeah, the one huddled behind the 5 foot plant where no one can see her. Notice me anyway!). Unless I get drunk, then I'm suddenly the most flamboyant and obnoxious person around. I drank at this convention, but I never actually got DRUNK. Maybe a little tipsy on Saturday night. =) To further cause problems for myself with shyness, I'd wandered through the dealers' room on Friday looking for anyone who might psychically predict that I had stuff to sell and beg me for it. It didn't happen, I got no further than noticing that the guy by the door had Ziesing and Eyeball books. After it was too late to do anything that night, I vowed to ask him the next morning. Ask, grovel, plead, do puppy dog eyes, whatever. And so I did. He was out of space but gestured saying I should talk to Chris over there. Chris heard and was waiting for me to ask him. I started mumbling that I had my books and magazines, he shoved everything on his table downward and let me set out whatever I wanted. It was a great spot, easily viewed from the door, and he didn't even want a discount. Can't beat that... The only disconcerting thing was that I noticed his appearance and demeanor somewhat reminded me of my ex-husband. Then I looked at his name tag and realized he had the same last name as my ex-husband. D'oh, I guess. Seemed like a nice guy, though, if not exactly social. There, that was easy, I didn't even need to talk to more than 2 people to get a good set-up.

Afterward I barged rudely into the last half of a panel Flippo was on ("How March the Morons?: Satiric SF") and announced that I would be doing the same thing for the next one: a critical theory panel which starred Lance. I needed to say "Just ignore me as I barge in, knock chairs over, and send people screaming from hot coffee dumped down their backs, during the middle of the most important thought process you've ever had". So goes life at conventions! Unfortunately, I didn't even manage the last half of that one. As always, my addictions were dominant. I needed to snag some coffee and nicotine before I could go anywhere. I also needed to "mentally prepare" for my upcoming panel in the same fashion I had the previous night. That required a trip back to my room, and then...

I got jumped by The Joey Zone and Perilous Cheryl LaBeau before I could reach the panel. They'd confused me by arriving a half hour early. I got my birfday presents from Joey, had another cigarette, tried once again to head for the panel, got thwarted by Liz Hand and Gordon Von Gelder (St. Martin's) making an appearance. We hung around outside the dealers' room, everyone yacked, my magazine got ogled and snagged, and then the 3 of us hit the last 10 minutes of the panel while Joey and Cheryl hit (the explosion is still ringing in my ears) the dealers' room. It was then noon, and time to really start amping out for the big panel at 1. First I had to talk to Ms. Elizabeth Hand about doing us the honours of being a Death Equinox '98 GoH. She plotted encouraging her ex-spouse to be responsible with the kids so she could do so. And then we snagged Joey again so we could head back to the room. Gave him his copies of the magazine, sold more to him, talked shit for a while, got queried as to whether or not I was going to kick his ass for dragging me out to Readercon... I said that actually I'd been whining "Well, if Joey gets here I'll finally have a fan". Then we went our separate ways so we could reconverge for the panel. I had to grab yet more caffeine and nicotine, and shove a few goldfish (uh, crackers, though Mike Hemmingson won't believe me) down my throat. And we were off. And I was nervous as hell. I wasn't sure if anyone would bother coming as we'd been shoved down into the basement.

This was the panel I came up with after looking over the offerings and thinking "Hrm". "Bad Craziness: Society, Subversion, and Speculative Fictions" starring moi as the participant moderator, The Joey Zone, Flippo, and the deranged baby duck murderer (Lance Olsen). And it actually went well. Despite being crammed downstairs, the room was overcrowded and people were standing. It was one of those discussions where you would swear the audience forgot they're supposed to let the people ON the panel talk as well, but otherwise things went smoothly. One person annoyed me, one person pissed Joey off. We yapped about espousing our agendas through literature, we yapped about earlier writings and their possible effects on society, we yapped and yapped. Half of the audience was hellbent on discussing Heinlein, which didn't really seem to be what the panelees had in mind. Fortunately we're all good shouters. =) At one point I felt compelled to make sure everyone noted the irony of the subversive panel being down in the basement, that mention seemed to suddenly draw the subject of anarchy out of the crowd but we managed to veer aside from that soon enough. Fortunately a friend of Joey's, a reviewer at the Comics Journal by the name of Gene Kannenberg, recorded the panel and will be transcribing it for inclusion in Cyber-Psychos AOD #8. I'm not certain that any of us knew what we were doing, aside from poking each other with our elbows, but it was fun and should make for an interesting read. "Watch the wackos come out of the closet about their agendas..." Actually I think Joey's secret agenda might've been to mention my projects in as many ways as possible, but we'll leave that open for debate. =) I got to admit that I had to yell at Mike Hemmingson for upsetting me too much, via harsh fiction, by the end of the editing process for Nice Little Stories Jam-Packed With Depraved Sex & Violence so that's good enough for me. Yep, I get bugged by these things too. That's why I publish them! I'm just not quite the cold and heartless person people would love to assume I am. Yeah, bummer.

After that it was time for Joey and Cheryl to buy me my birthday lunch. We thought we were going to do this in the restaurant so of course the discussion moved to the lobby while I smoked. And the person who had pissed Joey off decided he was invited, taking a while to be peeled away from our vicinity. The restaurant was closed to lunch so we raided the free buffet, headed back to our room, ordered from room service. I sprawled in a chair snarfing veggies and being crippled until my foot rest was stolen from me, then I reclined in bed to finish eating. Joey threatened to have a picture taken and call it "Jasmine socializing at Readercon", and I retorted "Jasmine believes in being comfortable". Yeah, just vote me most likely to be fully slacked out and sprawled all over the damned place... After lunch and another bout in the dealers' room it was time for them to take off. I was happy to notice that I already needed to dump another stack of CPAODs in there. I headed back to handle that, Zeena Fabreaux suddenly and inexplicably possessed me to bitch about the complete lack of condoms in the hotel. Cheryl, being the saviour that she is, yelled at the bellboy to bring us some prophylactics. Realizing I'd been possessed, I blushed. This happens sometimes... strange aversion to unexpected possession? Who knows. Regardless, the durned bellboy didn't bring us any condoms and we refrained from being screwed.

We'd arranged meeting with the Olsens and whoever else wanted to come along for our alternative banquet (as opposed to paying for the convention banquet) and it was slowly reaching that time. We bumped into Liz Hand again in the bar, got more compliments on Death Equinox. Generally slothed around. Headed for the lobby at 6. Sat down, smoked, got descended upon by a fan boy. The guy (who was amazingly thin for a fan boy, actually) decided to do the sensitive male come-on of "Oh it just pains me so much to see you lighting that cigarette and killing yourself". I sighed, didn't bother to comment that my husband was sitting right across the end table from me, answered whatever questions while sprawling (comfortably, as usual) half out of my chair. Why I smoke, why I quit and started again, bla bla bla. He couldn't grasp it, so I furthered his confusion by saying I'd quit all the worse things (and gave speed as an example) and couldn't quit it all at once. Had to relay my intro to cocaine when I was 15, silly things like that. He still couldn't get a grip about me killing myself, so I explained that it'd be heart attack or stroke as I already have that form of trouble from speed and cigarettes make it worse. And I showed him a clump of scars from old suicidal bouts, saying "I used to try a lot harder". That still didn't finish scaring him off (he must've been afraid of looking wimpy at that point), so I finally asked Bruce to watch my stuff while I ran to the bathroom. Apparently it took the guy all of 15 seconds to scurry off and disappear after that. Damn, I should've been yet more blunt about my past. I guess he can consider himself lucky. =)

Then Flippo arrived and said the food crowds were approaching. And they were, and they were rather large. We waded through the crowds, scored a ride with the Olsens, waited for the mob to reach a snarf destination conclusion. I was informed of one of my current contributors, Jeffrey Thomas, being huddled in a corner so I wandered off to say howdy to him. Being a recluse, it's always nice to see the other recluses creep out of hiding for conventions. As I said, it gives me a chance to apologize to everyone for not having been in touch with them for so long. =) Jeff, by the way, is another amusingly perverse scribe of fiction. He's been a non-fiction writer in many interesting places, and also edits the zine The End. He happens to live there in Westborough, and was surprised that something worth attending was happening on his doorstep. I expect you can look for him behind the 5 foot plants as well...

Off to the food, though, which I didn't really want to eat since I'd been shoving my face full all day. I kept wandering off to smoke (everyone got separated at the Italian restaurant, groups of 4, we sat with the Olsens and I accidentally duplicated Andi's order that I didn't want), and then I drifted off to the bathroom. This would've been uneventful if it hadn't been for the fact that I never learn not to wear clothes with zippers that zip up. After the time my corset skirt popped off and left me wandering around downtown in my bright pink panties, then did it again to me at a live music show, you would think I could've figured it out. Nope. The suit I was wearing this particular day did it to me as well, this time exposing my top as my belt kept it from sliding all the way off. I retreated back to the stall, stripped, proceeded to try to get the zipper to rethread. No luck. I kept working on it, kept hoping someone would notice I was missing and come to my rescue. I heard the bathroom door open and barged out. A little old lady was standing there looking terrified of the tall naked woman barging out on her. I thought "oops" and retreated back to the stall. Next I terrified a younger woman. Then Andi came in looking for me and was, ironically, the only person I didn't barge out on. She asked if I needed help. I replied "Uh, yes" and handed my outfit under the door to her, asking if she could thread the zipper. No luck. She went out to find help, I wound up terrifying 2 little girls while waiting. Andi came back with Lance's jacket, I dashed out to finish my beer before we left. Well, missed that dinner gathering!

And, no, I'm not sure where the sudden modesty came from. I kept getting to the point of being ready to wander through the restaurant half naked. Hell, I had a bra on. I would've been legal. Either I didn't want to look like a complete idiot for buying faulty clothes, or the expressions of abject terror on the faces of all of the unsuspecting people in the bathroom got to me. Or both. Either way, I would've given up and wandered out there soon enough. No question there; I didn't have my nicotine with me. As it turned out, though, the reason for the caught and broken zipper was pretty simple. Don Webb, sitting in Austin and feeling a little bummed about not being with us, was having perverse thoughts resulting from my assigning the introduction for t. Winter-Damon and Randy Chandler's Forbidden Gospels of Man-Cruel, Book 2 to him for scribbling while I was away. While having these thoughts, he began wondering if he could stir up some fun of perversion at the con. He summoned Zeena Fabreaux in the spirit, and sent her off to find the means. Zeena assumed I would be my typical self and wander through the fancy restaurant half naked, causing glorious chaos, so she snagged my zipper and caused it to break. Unfortunately I botched it ALL up with my sudden attack of modesty. ={

Other than the car that tried to blow up to compliment the sunset, the rest of the evening was fairly uneventful. Bruce managed to fix my zipper (I knew there was some reason I married him) and we hung out at the hotel bar despite knowing nothing would happen there. Still, boredom leads to irrational behaviour. We sat and drank. We tried 2 con parties and gave up on them. We eventually went to bed. Mind me, now, I'm not faulting Readercon for the boredom. It's a pretty neat convention. It's just not what I'm used to and we couldn't seem to adjust properly for it. Here people go to morning programming and bypass the bar. It might be nice if they add a slightly later track of programming in future years, as not everyone is capable of going to bed at 9pm. Such early hours are merely odd for me... I was confuzzled. I proved my powers of adjustment by making it to a 10am reading the next day though.

Lance was reading segments from Tonguing the Zeitgeist and Time Famine (both Permeable Press), plus part of a new novel which he announced was probably getting rejected in New York right about then and would be upcoming from Permeable shortly. Before the reading commenced (shortly after I ran in with soaked hair from diving out of bed, into the shower, and dashing over there at top speed) I decided to let everyone know what their names were. Finally clued Paul Di Filippo in on being Flippo (he told of how a letter had once turned him into "Di Fi", so he stuck with it); announced that I'm Psycho, Bruce is Typo, and Lance is the deranged baby duck murderer. Oh he of the smashed in duckling brains entertained us for an hour. The section from Zeitgeist was the cadillac sermon, our little replacement for Sunday morning church. I've read the book and it wasn't the first time I saw him read from it, but it was still lovely. All of the novel segments were quite witty. I'm putting it mildly. It's kinda silly not to read his books. Being the perceptive person that he is, the deranged baby duck murderer stopped reading and announced that Jasmine was jittering rather heavily for a cigarette. Jasmine immediately dashed out the door, blundered into a catering event, and puffed away while the post-reading interrogations commenced. Then she blundered back.

And she became me again. Dave Rogers, the editor and publisher of Freezer Burn, was introduced at the reading as he has an excerpt from Lance's upcoming novel in his current issue. I was eyeballing him for a trade, but had to dash off with a person who needed the current CPAOD. I pointed him out to the friendly dealers' table I was settled at, as that was the only time during the entire convention that I didn't happen to have copies in hand (I'd been too rushed with getting out of bed and hauling ass over there in the wee morning hours). Bad publisher, no peace pipe! Fortunately none of this had particularly bad effects later.

There wasn't much left to the day after that. Typo and I loafed around, went to a panel about ripping off ideas that Flippo was on. Er, a panel ("My Version of X") about being inspired by previous good works which you respect. Something we all tend to do, something I don't really consider possible to avoid. Even if you only do it subconsciously, you are still being influenced. We also caught a panel about relating to asshole characters, sympathizing with them, that Delaney was on. It was moderated by Ellen Kushner, whom I regularly hear on our local NPR station (KGNU) as she has a show called Sound and Spirit. After that panel the Olsens had to take off so we said our goodbyes and shed our tears (er sumpin') and went back to loafing aimlessly. Bruce wanted to watch the last panel of the day, I wanted to sit in the lobby looking stupid. Or maybe I didn't want to, but I did it anyway.

I was still feeling a bit burnt out and unloved, the fanless person at a fan convention. And then I was saved by 2 people. One let me know that he'd been turned on to the magazine and loved it, and would probably be coming to Death Equinox as that looked great as well. Another was Dave Rogers who found me and handed me a copy of Freezer Burn. I tried handing him a trade copy of CPAOD, but apparently he'd already gotten one. He came back later and commented that he'd read my editorial the night before and appreciated the way I really put myself into it. There's the type of compliment I like to hear. As most of what I do takes on a psychological focus, I really do try to lay myself bare with writing. To many people, that's a disgusting thing to do. To many other people, it's wonderful and let's them moreso feel what they are reading. I know I'm not a perfect person, there aren't many ways I haven't fucked up, and I do make that apparent through writing. If doing so can actually reach a few people out there, it's worth dealing with the assholes who can't resist sinking a pitchfork and line of salt in once they see a few wounds bared. I suddenly found myself feeling much more chipper again. I didn't feel as inclined to just go hide. I felt appreciated. It's amazing how much one good compliment can sometimes do for a person, if it happens to be something they needed to know. I guess I needed to know that not everyone thinks I'm just a bloated wind-bag. =) Thanks to Dave for snapping me back out of it there...

I had to run to the dealers' room to settle with Mr. Edwards (Chris). $104 in sales, mainly for the new issue. Also for Nice Little Stories Jam-Packed With Depraved Sex & Violence by Michael Hemmingson, and Star Bones Weep the Blood of Angels by Sue Storm, and a couple of Permeable Press items I'd set out: the issue of Q I'm in, & Shock Waves because Flippo was in it. Not bad for cozier convention sales. I was wishing I'd had the nerve to get a dealers' set-up on Friday so I could've had a little more time than 1.5 days for selling things. I was also pretty shocked by Monsieur Edwards. Not only did he not take a discount, he was honest as well. I accidentally added the bill up to $4 less than it should've been. He corrected me and gave me the proper higher amount. Wow. These actual shows of honesty and decency always boggle my mind. I gave him a copy each of Shock Waves and Star Bones. I said thanks. He said no problem. I went back to waiting for Bruce, who finally got out of the last panel. We grabbed our suitcases (it was 4, we'd checked out at noon) and prepared for the airport shuttle. Zeena comforted me, and I lost my modesty enough to change my clothes in the hotel hall. I did keep my bra and undies on at all times, though!

The most interesting aspect of the ride to the airport was the people sitting behind us who really loved the sound of their voices. They were talking about Readercon being too PoMo, started saying bad things about everyone I actually liked at the con, said it's all too pretentious in those fields. Being part of the "pretentious" contingent, I can't claim to have agreed with anything they said. At the same time it's interesting to look at the pseudo-barrier between the "weirdos" (the pretentious ones) and the straight SF/Fantasy crowds. I would humbly speculate that both sides of the fence tend to think of the other side as bloated and pretentious. But then you have the people who simply don't care and have no problem with drifting between the camps. This is fine. The way I see it is that I don't particularly like fluffy material, largely because I prefer material which effects me on a personal level, but I do appreciate being able to explore the various genres to see what is there. To pick up whatever is lurking around in the sleazy under belly, to give anything a chance because even some fluffy writers actually do mask some hefty psychological power behind their writings. Trying to call all of any one thing completely bad is self-defeating and self-robbing, IMHO. I say this because part of the back seat banter was that these people consistently (year by year) refuse to go to any panels featuring a certain interesting person because he said "deconstructionism" a few times and they decided they couldn't ever handle hearing it again. Okey. I gotta say, I attended some of his panels/functions and I didn't hear him use that word a single time. Fear of one silly word makes people miss so much. I just don't know about that... Anyway, that's my deconstruction of the situation. =)

But we survived the stereotypifications of pretensions and safely arrived at the airport. We were grabbing a bite to eat when we noticed the Olsens sitting there doing the same. Damn, might've had a less annoying ride if we'd known we were all going to show up at the same time! The baby duck smasher was suggesting that next time we do Readercon we all go in on group promotions to help each other out. Dealers' table split between CPAOD and Permeable Press (which I habitually do without Brian Clark being present anyway), mass readings and autograph sessions for us, more panels. Next year could be good for this very thing as Bruce Sterling is the guest speaker and might draw some interest in our general direction. Not quite sure if we can make it next year but, if we do, I would say that sounds like a plan. At least if Zeena nudges me out of spending the entire group readings huddled naked in bathrooms, that is...

It was time to go. The flight was pretty terrible. Over-crowded with Californians who couldn't figure out how to settle down. Thanks to them we left an hour late, and even after we left the flight attendants kept having to announce over the intercom "It is REQUIRED that ALL people remain seated while the fasten seatbelts sign is on". I pretty much felt like I hated everyone on the flight, sorry to say. It was also too hot, the air vents weren't working at first... could've been worse though. Apparently one of the planes we weren't on at Logan Airport had a worse glitch-up: the engine caught on fire and everyone had to slide out of there. We wondered if they went feet first, as the chipper instruction video indicates you should do.

Coming back home from cons is never fun because you get the sad feeling of missing everyone you saw there. You know it'll be a long while before you see them again. Beyond that, you have to rejoin life. I came back to the newsgroup we'd just launched suffering from various forms of unwanted chaos. I came back to finding out that my new printer hadn't sent my new issue anywhere and wasn't going to, so now I have to wait for it all to be shipped out to me. Then I get to try plowing through the extensive mailing lists myself. As a result, about the only people who have seen the new issue are the folks who were at Readercon, and everyone else will need to continue having embolisms at me for a while. And I came back to the current sequel to Deadlines and Stress From HELL!!!! For a minute there I was thinking "I shouldn't have come back". I could be a credit card vagabond living in hotels, forget about everything else. See friends, only work by promoting, whatever. Of course the look on my daughter's face when she saw her missing Dada and Mama at the airport makes coming back more than worth it though. That big pudgy smile, that sheer joy that you inevitably grow out of as you become a jaded and haggard curmudgeon. Being away from her, and knowing that she doesn't understand why I'm away, is worse hell than the torture of sorting life's disasters out at home. Yeah, that's mushy. It's also true, though.

Besides, I'll see ALMOST everyone at Death Equinox in October. =) Excusing deranged baby duck murderers who just can't seem to get malaria at the proper moments...

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