I told myself that I wouldn’t spend so much time chatting about tea and the weather today.
Because when I threw back the curtains this morning, it was foggy.
Everyone has their favorite types of weather. Sunshine, thunder, puffy clouds, rain. Fog is one of mine.
(Is this an apt time to confess that bookmarkedone’s garrett looks out on a cemetery? No, no. I’ve fed you a lot of wild tales, but living next door to a graveyard, that’s too perfect an aesthetic to be believed).
Tea, fog, and a writing conference. Night crickets still singing in the dewy grass. A mourning dove comfortably pattering across a lower roof to check on me and walk back, grey feathers and bright orange feet. The way the pale gold sunlight finally pierces the fog and gives the leaves a light greenness that is more beautiful than you ever remembered.
Scold me all you like for not getting to the point. It was too beautiful to miss.
Day 2 started out with an author interview featuring Ian Douglas.
Author interviews are just cozy.
You’re sitting with an author, listening to them talk, their glasses slightly askew, shelves crammed with knickknacks and books, as if you’ve known each other long enough to be called old friends.
As opposed to perfect strangers on a conference Zoom call, of course.
The Douglas session was lovely.
- Finding inspiration (and taking notes before it evaporates again)
- Writing characters that grow and change,
- Independent vs. small press vs. big six publishers (he’s staunchly small press, in case you’re curious)
- Crafting the first line (as opposed to being too clever for one’s own good)
Really, it was nice just to hear Douglas stop and say “I don’t know!” in regards to a question because he’d been writing too long at that point to remember and “Buy my book!” (which, of course, just happened to be within arm’s reach so he could show the covers on camera). It’s charming to know that no matter how successful you are, some things don’t change.
(an interlude of internet connectivity issues, and getting distracted by noisy corvids outside…)
And back I came for the interview with Andy Weir.
Weir was actually the only name I was certain I recognized when breezing through the panelist list pre-conference. I knew he was big in the SF/F book world. It slipped my mind at the time what he’d written.
The Martian. He wrote The Martian. And Project Hail Mary.
So despite being ridiculously popular and successful at this point, Weir’s actually nice enough. Interview included discussion of
- his cat (JoJo. Comparatively polite. Judged from a distance, sitting very neatly and waiting until stream ended to demand attention from Weir. Yes, the chat went wild over glimpses of him in the background. Yes, Weir pounced on the first “oi is that a cat” with yes it’s my cat this is his name let me tell you about him hellooo. You know. As one must.)
- his writing fanfic (happily. Refusing to accept judgement)
- his desire to write ever-deeper characters, since he sees that as a personal writing challenge.
Guys…just checking, but…if I started posting serial fiction on the bookmarked blog…you’re not just sitting around waiting to launch me into a fairytale writing career…right?
(clears throat). Right, yes, anyway.
It was a lovely panel. Weir has a good sense of humor (i.e., shouting happily at every glimpse of someone else’s pet in the Zoom window), and you can tell he loves writing.
I didn’t go to every panel this time. And I probably don’t have the time/stamina/interest/energy to do so for the rest of the week either.
And my internet connection was kind of a wreck today.
So what you’re getting now is my special highlights of the con, not a complete overview.
I know, you’re delighted. Two bookmarkedone posts in a week! What luck! Please, you flatter me.
Next was an interview with Nghi Vo
…another author I’m not familiar with. This one was more a book club-type discussion of her latest novel, but on the other hand–
- the comparison of the Fay realm to Hollywood is frankly totally unexpected and gorgeous
- Vo was charming in the “I’m a feral author” and “got-recognized-so-said-NO-definitely-not-me-and-ran” type of way. You know, the best kind.
- Little Free Libraries
I meant to attend the last panel, but aforementioned Connectivity Issues reemerged…it wasn’t the sort of panel you’re going to do well by just catching half of it…or less than half…or just a few words at a time and just sibilants caught by the microphone and then part of the Q&A when everyone else already knows what they’re talking about…
My brain’s feeling pretty crammed with everything I stuffed in it, so I’m signing off now. Tomorrow promises to be an equally interesting day…even if there isn’t fog.