shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


sorry, alan

What's done is done. Yay!

This place will still be here until I figure out what to do with the archives and everyone catches on about the new site which is:

(Alan, you were going to have to update your blogroll to add Christopher's blog anyway!)

See you there!


I'm thinking of moving this blog from here to Journalscape. In fact, I have tentatively done so. But I'm not sure. Dear readers, what do you think? Post it in talk public over there or email me.


concert of disconcertion

Well, today was too busy to think straight. I can only bob my head happily to the M. Ward album (helicopter, helicopter, let your long rope down), eat chicken quesadillas from the ever-popular Tonio's and have a few glasses of wine, tape Angel and watch West Wing. Oh yes, this is an exciting evening at the Bond-Rowe Household, but a cheerful one nonetheless.

Christopher's reading THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB now, and he made his own special bookmark for it with the main character's names and a list of their characteristics. It's not necessary, but it's very cool. We may have to laminate it and send it to Karen after we finish. Or perhaps we will just use it in every book we read from now on, because all those books will be a slight disappointment after this one.

That may sound overstated, but there aren't many books that give you that completely absorbed feeling, not after childhood anyway, of being wrapped in a luminous bubble of light at the perfect level for reading. And it's hopeful, and funny, and beautiful. It's too bad it's not coming out in time for the holidays. But it will make a wonderful present, period. Happy sigh. I will read it again once Christopher's done. I keep vacillating between who my favorite character is, because I love them all.

Now I'm reading LOW RED MOON by Caitlin Kiernan, but that's a completely different thing. Then, either rereading Jane Austen or THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE. Happy, happy reading state of bliss has returned.

Oh, and everyone should visit the spiffy and kinda recently changed Electric Velocipede website. The fabulous and clever John Klima is obviously an editor of impeccable taste. And for those who don't frequent the Night Shade boards, particularly writers who proudly possess two X chromosomes, John would love to see more submissions to EV from female writers. So, send your submissions. (Well, I mean send the best stuff to us... then the rest to him. Or the stuff that doesn't fit into an issue of Say...'s theme.) (Just kidding. Maybe.)

I had links, but I lost them and sadly can't remember what they are.



There is nothing sadder than a hippy with a hammer caterwauling along with "Unchained Melody." Really, think about it.

special Tuesday...

...Because one week from today our dear Richard and Barb will be here for a rip-roaring Thanksgiving extravaganza. Should be two tons of blasting caps worth of fun.

Bleary today and I've been soaked several times but above knowledge makes it all okay. We went out after work and got wine and the new extended LOTR: The TWO TOWERS DVD, because we are first and foremost geeks and proud of it. The streets were dangerously bleak and we saw a kid almost get run over, but college kids annoy us so we felt ambiguous about it. Not really. That would be awful.

See, I'm even being nice today? Mostly.

Once again I'm behind on email, behind on everything. Expect a reply soon.

Meanwhile, in the far corners of the Internet things continue to spring up. The Fortress of Words now has its very own Night Shade Discussion Board, thanks to the very nice and generous souls who run said well of hobnobbing with sharp, funny people. Someday, maybe the FOW will even have its own website. But let's not get too heady. It's enough that Christopher has a web presence. Expect the first short short this week.

And that's all for now, I think, except this link to a story about a near-extinct whistling language in the Canary islands, which is making a comeback. I think I would have been cursed and stoned had I been born during the heyday in this place. I didn't learn to whistle until I was 13, despite no lack of trying. Thanks to the kind, hilarious Chad McWhorter, who I've lost to the sands of not keeping up with kids you went to high school with.

Oh, and of course, there's the whole new Glove Monster thing. I'm soooo surprised that anyone would level such charges against Mr. Monster.


alert, alert, alert

Christopher's new journal, which will follow the writing of his first novel and feature 120 (yeah, that's right ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY; I couldn't believe it either at first) short shorts he writes at the same time, one for each of Kentucky's counties.

And like many of the cool kids, he's on Journalscape, as you'll see. So add him to your links bar! Tune in! Turn on! Don't drop out! (School's important. So is life. We can't support you.)

This is going to be so much fun. Yay!


is that an outline, or are you just happy to see me?

So, Christopher has created the most beautiful outline I've ever seen, for his new book. And it makes so much sense, to do it this way, for this particular book, and have it on graphic display right in front of him. (He says to make sure I say that it's not done yet and this is only the beginning and it will be added to.) But I just have to put up a picture, with his permission, because it's so damn cool and pretty.

You won't be able to see all the details, but you can get an idea. Pretty, pretty.
The Map of Christopher's World. Or at least of his book. Go look. (I put it in as a link so it wouldn't take forever to load...but it's really not that huge a file.)

sand sky birds

Just as I was feeling the need for new music, someone gives me a brilliant duo of CDs. I only have one in front of me here, so the other will have to wait. But the "Transfiguration of Vincent" by M. Ward is just unbelievably good. Beautiful, sad and tuneful. Just buy it.

That's about all I've got. It's a gray day, and I'm on the fourth floor of the library. I keep working on this little thing I've been working on, instead of finishing the polish of THE FINE FELLOW, which has to be done this weekend and has to go out to some people on Monday because I've made them wait too long already.

"Dead man, dead man, don't cry..."

Someone worthy has claimed the One Story. The Thanksgiving 2003 Plan looks set to work out. I'm outlining a new YA, which maybe, maybe has the potential to be more than one book. Possibility is infinite on the fourth floor of the library. Maybe I will just stay up here nad watch the starlings trace out messages to each other in the sky.


go see, go see, go see...


No, really, it's great. It's a comedy that's actually quite hilarious. What a concept!

There's even a Narwhal. And Peter Dinklage has a small role that is extremely memorable, and Bob Newhart is really, really funny. Hell, everyone's pretty much cast perfectly. It's sweet, it's holiday-y, but most of all, it's a good movie.

Go. See. It.



things, things, things like those things

THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB is just as brilliant and perfect as expected so far and makes me just want to snuggle into bed and read until the end.

Christopher's making chicken fried rice with bell peppers and peas and stuff. It smells great.

Lots of things from the newspapers, which are depressing but necessary.

The first is this column from Newsday about Iraq -- it's manipulative, but it earns the emotion it pulls out of you because it's true.

Then there are the John Hinckley stories from today's Washington Post. Well, this one is a story, about his family wanted him to have unsupervised visitation priveleges at their home and this is commentary about it.

This is the part I found most interesting:

In 1997... Indeed, Hinckley had failed to tell doctors about his relationship with the hospital's chief pharmacist, a woman who resembled (Jodie) Foster -- an interest some doctors considered obsessive.

Hollywood agents are on their way to the medical facility now to confirm whether the woman really does look like Jodie Foster. "Jodie doesn't work enough. If this woman really does date sociopaths and look like Foster, she could be a star."

Or something like that. (If you don't know much about Hinckley, Foster is an obssession of his -- just go read the story and you'll see how much.)

OH, and there's this weird thing. I never read the lame comic soap opera strips, like Apartment 3-G, but one caught my eye last week. It was a very melodramatic thing (of course) about a stalker. Dah-duh. And this storyline has continued in a most hilarious and irrelevant (if what they're trying to do is raise stalking awareness, which I sincerely hope is the motivation) way. You can go see online at the 3-G website here. (From Wednesday: "The stalker has a mustache, Margo?")

Favorite headline for the day has to be this one: "Evolutionary quirk unites man and octopus", which has to be the clunkiest euphisms for "octopii get erections" I've ever seen.

And I swear, last of the links, two little things in the New York Times. One is a story about the website The Memory Hole, where a guy puts up government documents. Some "they" don't want us to see. Favorite graph of this one:

(Among the 50 things you are not supposed to know: the C.I.A. commits over 100,000 serious crimes per year; blood relatives of Hitler are living in the United States; an atomic bomb was dropped on North Carolina.)

And, oh, forget the other one. Christopher needs help.

George smells better. Someone better claim this One Story -- it's really good!



Due to some sort of printer problem at One Story, we seem to have been lucky enough to receive two copies of "Trouble and the Shadowy Deathblow" by Patrick Somerville. I haven't read it yet, but I haven't read a story published by this magazine I've regretted yet.

If you want it, call it in the quicktopic, or send me an email with your address. First person to do so will receive it in the mail in less than a week, possibly with other goodies enclosed.

George still has a slight smell, but Tahitian Vanilla seems to overwhelm it.

tahitian vanilla

Today is a good day. Last night was not such a good night. I had to send Christopher upstairs to shush Leo Who Sleeps With the Bongos, but they've got their interaction down so pat now that Christopher didn't have to speak, just put his fingers over his lips to indicate quiet. It worked.

Then all was fine until George got scared of the thunderbooming storm, and needed to go out, and then smelled like wet dog skunkdog. We had to light incense to sleep for the smell.

But the night before we'd smartly went and got provisions for our lunches today. And so had nice breakfast burritos, which is not a bad way to start the day, and then to work. I called and was told George could be de-skunked (somewhat) by the groomer for $5 bucks on top of a shampoo and such. So I made the appointment and he's there now.

Went to the post office mid-morning, taking a break from work, and mailed out Say...aren't you dead? to the far corners of the world, and California. It's always cool to go in with a stack of things that are going so many places. Contributors, subscribers, reviewers keep your eyes on the mailbox. And if you'd like a review copy, or to order one, just shoot me an email and we'll fix you up.

As a bonus, bought cool reptile and amphibian stamps.

Work, work, work, have sushi for lunch, leave early to go pick up George the Dog and Christopher. George still smells pungently of skunk, as does the house. There's an intriguing package from Ms. Link but I don't have time to open it. Drive, drive, drive George to the groomer, where he is very sad to be dropped off. Drag Christopher from window where he is watching the painful sight of George, seated, being dragged into the washroom. (I'm sure he's fine the moment we leave and women start cooing at him. In this respect, he's a lot like his fatherly type.)

Over to Tar-jay for Fabreze and Tahitian Vanilla candles, which smell scrumptious. Post office stop on the way home, because it's rainy and we don't want to walk. There's a lady with a shopping cart and a bag of stuff living in there now. Sometimes outside, sometimes in.

Christopher comes out with submissions and an armload of maps he's requested from various Kentucky county chamber of commerces for his novel. (He's also started a secret blog, sort of, or has created one and will start it and then it won't be secret. It's going to be a chronicle of the writing of the book and also have short shorts about the counties in the book.)


You know how yesterday I was kvetching about having too much stuff to read? (Argosy and Trunk Stories are both worth your time and money; loved the WITCH WEEK column in TS.) Well, behold, as an early Christmas present comes the answer: an advance proof copy of Karen Joy Fowler's forthcoming THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB.


You should all go pre-order right now.

Plus, there was an awesome flying Mexican dragon creature that will be wonderful dangling from the ceilling in the office. Double yay!!! And this on top of other lovely presents.

So, a good day. Maps, and clean dog (hope, hope), and the exact book I want to be reading (if I can wrestle it from Christopher's death grip...). And a dragon.

Life is sweet.


flirting with productivity

Well, not really. But I did just purchase a piece of art called "Escape Artist Christopher Moriarty." I'm never one to pass up a reasonably priced piece of art involving anything vaguely freakish or circusy. It will make a nice thematic match for my Kelli Bickman "Ringmaster" in the office.


I also put together all the packages of checks and magazines for contributors -- I don't know how to work the database to make labels, so Christopher has to do subscribers -- and they'll go out tomorrow. And turned on the heat.

Now it's time to pay bills, which will almost certainly depress me out of writing. But you just never know.

overwhelmed by freedom

It seems like there's this strange phenomenon that presents itself with a holiday in the middle of the week (well, technically the almost beginning). It calls for grand plans, this stretching Tuesday to honor The Veterans (of which my Papaw Summers was one, and I think he'd want me to do whatever I want), this blank canvas on which there is no desk to sit behind, no large Windows machine to stare into. There are movies to be seen, words to scribble, dogs to be de-skunked, household chores to be completed and still plenty of time for relaxation. And yet. What happens? The morning gets sucked into the vortex of sleeping in, then fitzing around on the Internet takes care of the rest of it, applying de-skunk mixture but still the skunk smell persists (and George is losing patience), a long bath with bright pink Lush bathbomb and read the last Argosy story I haven't read (the one that deals with veterans, my way of celebrating the holiday), then it's time to fix lunch so Christopher can come home and we can eat together (the only part that's working out as planned). So, basically, what I've accomplished this morning is not to de-skunk the dog, booking hotel reservations for Wiscon, become clean, and uh, well, that's it really.

This afternoon.... I'm not making any plans. I'll write for a bit, read for a bit, etc. No movie is calling out to me, so I'll stay home and maybe watch a Netflix.

Do you ever get completely overwhelmed by good stuff to read? This is the state I find myself in currently. I have too many good books from the library, and more coming in every day, a stack of novels I want to read, and a stack of short story collections I want to read.

A sampling of what I currently have in play:

Best American Short Stories 2003, ed. Walter Mosley
the only good thing anyone has ever done, Sandra Newman
Well, Matthew McIntosh
Love and Other Games of Chance, Lee Siegel (with blurb by Penn and Teller)
Heart, You Bully, You Punk, Leah Hager Cohen
In Montgomery and Other Poems, Gwendolyn Brooks
The Dark, ed. Ellen Datlow
Feed by M.J. Anderson
Magician of the Modern: Chick Austin and the Transformation of the Arts in America, Eugene R. Gaddis
Greenwood, Charles Vess and Karen Shaffer
the December Realms of Fantasy
Trunk Stories
latest The Believer
last two issues of One Story
and last but not least the new LCRW.

I bet Kelly and Gavin want to smash themselves over the head, because they have to read even more than this. I mean, really, it's an embarrassment of riches, but when are we supposed to write with all this amazing stuff to read? And that's not even to mention the manuscript of really great stories a friend sent us to read just recently (yay!) and the submissions now trickling in for Say... But those are different things really. I always love reading friends' stuff and reading stories for the magazine. (Send us stuff! We are determined that this next issue will be the most beautiful, best issue yet!)

Anyway. Feeling a little whelmed there, and you see what I did? I managed to kill another ten minutes till it's time to cook lunch for Mr. Rowe. (Mr. Rowe who is very excitingly starting to write a novel. Yay!)

Okay. Whew. So there were a bunch of interesting things in the Washington Post yesterday. Quickly...

Some people in Russia want to make Ivan the Terrible a saint. Because nothing says sainthood like torturing people.

Really, really, really wish this exhibit had been on during World Fantasy, as it sounds amazing.

Michael Dirda review of that Edith Grossman translation of Don Quixote.

And, finally, a piece on Steve Martin, novelist.


dog? skunk? nay--skunkdog!

So, while we were away, as some of you already know, George escaped my parents' house one sunny day and encountered a skunk. It stunk up the whole house, including the clothes of its inhabitants (my parents), and they had to air the whole place after bathing George in tomato juice, which dented the scent nada, and then in a mixture recommended by the vet, which included baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and soap and helped immensely. Except they were afraid to do his face, lest something bad happen to his ears or eyes or he ingest some of this concoction. So, when we got out to claim him, he just had skunk face and slightly skunky breath.

We immediately rebatched the concoction and gave his head a bath, chucking the collar after discovering it was ruined and plunging his shot tag into baking soda and water for a few hours (it still smells!). We thought it worked. Until he dried. Still skunk face.

It's not that bad really, unless you get a whiff in exactly the right way, or get too close to his face.

Today, we bathed him again. He's so good really, but you could tell it was just making him sad at this point. We doubled the mixture and also gave him a once over with puppy shampoo, but his face--though slightly less--still smells like skunk.

We're hoping it will wear off. If anyone has any experience with this, even second or third-hand, we'd really like to know what you did.

The amazing, the wonderful, the sparkly cute until you smell him:



Last night was the lunar eclipse so we stole a bottle of champers my parents have had in their fridge since forever, sat outside on their porch wrapped in a blanket, drank champers and watched the dragon swallow the moon. My nephews were leaving as we went outside to check on the progress of the eclipse early on and Christopher pointed and said that and let Parker look through the binoculars. Parker's reaction was basically, yeah, it's a dragon swallowing the moon all right.


From Dear Abby's syndicated column on Friday:

Dear Katie: The man to whom you have given your heart is a philandering, drug-using pyromaniac.

You tell me that's not a novel.


Down With Love is fabulous. Frothy and delightful, and I liked it much better than any of those Doris Day movies actually. Ewan McGregor was actually yummy, for once, and I was glad the turban had a purpose.


one more thing...

Dear Abbey by Terry Bisson.

I read most of it on the plane on the way home, the rest last night, and highly recommend seeking it out. Not least because PS Publishing tends to sell out everything they publish, sooner rather than later, and it's worth having, and reading, and turning over and over in your mind. There are some lovely things in this novella, beautiful and funny language, strange and resonant images, and never a sense that it's preaching. It takes a real gift to write about something like "the environment" and "the future of humankind" without doing that, doing it writing a story that never shies away from being overtly about those things and still, still not hitting any point hard enough to fracture the whole.

So, read it. It's worth it.

random pick-up sticks

Apparently, the only really cool thing about it getting dark around six at night is that we'll be able to see tonight's lunar eclipse. I like lunar eclipses, as they're so less high maitenance than solar ones. No fear of blindness, only of a slightly chilly evening. Clouds, stay thin and spread out, please. And we're on our way to my folks for the night, to pick up George the Dog, and there's no light pollution out there so we should be able to see it beautifully.

Two bad movies last night, which I will speak of only to urge you to avoid them if at all possible. The Hulk I wanted to be better than its press. But it was WORSE. Far WORSE. Possibly, one of the most boring and ploddingly written films (the dialogue, ugh!) I've ever seen. We turned it off just after the first appearance of the green smashing thing.

Dreamcatcher, by comparison, is an okay movie. It's hard for me to believe that this is what a partnership between Lawrence Kasdan and William Goldman yielded, and worth watching just to prove the point that even really talented people sometimes go wrong. It's not _that_ bad, though there's an unbelievably high ratio of flatulence-related plot developments and apparently, aliens speak with stagey British accents. That's how you know who they are! Quick, kill them! Morgan Freeman has about five minutes total in the whole movie, as a whack job who swoops around in a black helicopter with squinty eyes. Oh, the humanity! On second thought: Don't watch it.

We have Down With Love for later, which I'm sure will be bad based on these experiences. This is what happens when you run out of netflixes and have to go to Blockbuster. Blockbuster=bad.

Go play outside before it gets too cold.


the pleasure of sideways normalcy

Feeling a bit better after the big, bad, but seemingly short, Cold of Doom. Hope the other sufferers are too. Alka-Seltzer Cold helped amazingly, though not quite as amazingly as the kind they pulled off the shelves a couple of years back. Why do they flavor these medicinal concoctions? It only makes them more disgusting. But I digress... as usual.

The cold has delayed certain things a couple of days, but contributor and subscriber copies of Say...aren't you dead? should go out in the extremely near future. My realistic estimate is Monday.

Tiger trainer and ex-patriate Kentuckian extraordinaire Mabel Stark's great niece found this site and posted in the quicktopic today (for those of you who never look there), which is justification enough for keeping up this site for me. It was the very coolest surprise of today.

Tiny things:

Laura Miller's latest intentionally inflammatory column, this time on short fiction, specifically the Best American and O. Henry collections for this year. I'm actually looking forward to this year's Best American Short Stories, because Walter Mosley is interesting.

And Edith Grossman's new translation of Don Quixote sounds more than worth a spin, and I don't have a link for that but am putting it here to remind myself.

Cold going means I have to finish the script polish, as the clock is ticking in my ear on getting copies in the mail. So it goes.



John Kessel's wonderful story "It's All True" is up at Sci-Fiction. It captures the essence of Orson Welles and -- if you're familiar with John's other work, particularly related to time travel (and if you aren't, you should be; go read CORRUPTING DR NICE immediately) -- contains some nice reappearances by old... acquaintances from other stories.

And my favorite part is this, because I just can't resist putting it up here:

I fumbled for the spex, sat spraddle-legged on the floor, and slipped them on. My stomach lurched. The wall of my apartment faded into a vision of Gwenda, my PDA. I had Gwenda programmed to look like Louise Brooks.



fuzzy tropical autumn

It was a balmy 65 on the way in on the taxi ride home, windows down and desperately trying to drown out the monotonous drone of the cab driver.

I have a terrible cold coming on.

And we also came home to this news, about which the less will be said.

Good night.

well, okay...

Slightly recovered, though I seem to be nursing a bit of a cold, and we're not even home yet. We've been totally lame, not going out and seeing any of the amazing things we wanted to, but you know what? Sometimes you just need to sit in a yard with strange cats and drink for a few hours. Especially before flying.

We'll get home late-ish tonight.

I have realized that I didn't take any pictures with my digital camera, so I'll be relying on those who did to post photographic evidence. I suppose I could do one of those little "con reports" though it feels like odd to me... But I'll try.

We got to D.C. early on Thursday, around 10 a.m., took the Metro into Union Station and from there to our hotel. We stayed across the street on Kelly and Gavin's hot tip from Jim Minz that it was far, far cheaper than the smelly, oddly designed Hyatt. Plus, it had a lava lamp-esquie lounge. The beds were actually comfy and it turned out to be a good choice (no waiting for elevators!), though Holiday Inn turns out to be challenged at dealing with credit cards in a non-annoying way. We tried to arrange our bountiful stuff so Kelly and Gavin would have room for their bountiful stuff then we took off in search of lunch and scenery. Christopher and George used to live in an apartment house across from the Supreme Court Building (back side, which is now inaccessible), so we went that way and I have to say I'm sad that we never managed to make it back over there. The Hill was filled with cool shops and restaurants -- and oh, I forgot to say that the weather was unbelievably beautiful the entire time. We had lunch, went to the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is wise enough to have hosted a Karen Joy Fowler reading when she was a PEN/Faulkner nominee, to see the Fakes and Forgeries exhibit -- very interesting and there's a good literary mystery novel out about just this kind of thing right now but the name of it keeps slipping my mind.

Then we went back to check in with the convention and ran into the lovely and brilliant Marcia and Ted (they are both lovely and brilliant), chatting with some people in the lobby (I remember Jenn Reese being there, but I was starting to get blurry around then and remember no one else's face). I decided to take a short nap, while Christopher took Marcia into parts of the Senate building they probably weren't supposed to be in to see a Calder statue and to kind of show her the museum grid.


Got up in time to go see our good buddy David B. Coe (as opposed to the scary country singer David Allan Coe, who apparently sells racist tapes on the gun show circuit as well as his major label releases (bad enough)) read, since he was one of the very first readings and is always fun to listen to. Of course, it was packed, because David writes as he puts it "Chihuahua-killing fantasy novels" for Tor. Note: David Coe does not endorse the killing of Chihuahuas with his books. Copperheads, yes (and hmmm, this brings up an interesting question apropos of a conversation you might have been present for but probably weren't -- even if you don't have a hoe, can't you use your big fat fantasies to take out a snake?); dogs, no.

Then we went to the bar and paid way, way, way too much for drinks. It was really quite insane. In the way that only drinking a 9.50 glass of wine from a 9.50 bottle of wine can be. Or a seven dollar beer. John Picacio stopped by to chat on his way up to work (I would tease here, but I've done that before and been mocked so I won't). Always good to hang out with him. His work just keeps getting better and better. You should search out the resurrected International Studio Spring 2003 magazine, which has a short portfolio of his work and was a freebie at the con. (It's by the same people who are doing Argosy, which also looks unbelievably awesome.)

Eventually, just as we were getting ready to wander away, Ellen Datlow and Rick Bowes showed up and joined us and Ellen introduced us to lots of cool people, including Allan Beatts from Borderland Books in San Francisco (who I wish I'd gotten to chat to more). Ellen Klages found a bank slip at the ATM for someone with $44,000 in their checking account (had to be Robert Jordan). More people showed up, and then it was dinner time.

Two more of our favorite people in the whole world, even moreso at the time because they were our dinner dates, showed up, Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld, and we formed a dinner posse with Gavin and Kelly, Ted, Rick Bowes, Chris Barzak (who arrived at some point and made us all very happy with his presence) and possibly someone else, though these things get hard to remember on Thursday, when I'd had very little sleep.

Kelly and Gavin had just shown up and given Christopher copies of his chapbook, "Bittersweet Creek," which looks absolutely gorgeous. We ran into Susan Groppi and Karen Meisner and hugged them, but then wouldn't see them again for what felt like two days. (Cons are too busy!)

We went to the Capitol City Brewing Company, and I ordered food I couldn't even eat because I was so wiped out. Christopher wants it noted that this was the first of many meals that would have been better were we willing to walk more than a block from the hotel. We went back to the hotel, had some expensive drinks at the bar, and ran into Alan and Kristin and then we all went to the Interstitial Arts party, or as Alan and I decided to call it, "Alcohol Without Borders." Really, if I wasn't sold on the whole Interstitial thing before, I am now. I'm easy -- good beer (in bottles), decent wine and great cake is enough in my book to not only justify but make relevant a movement. Long live the Interstices!

By this time we'd lost Ted and found Marcia. David Coe told us the hilarious copperhead biting daughter story, and Karen Vess (yay!) teased him about not having a hoe with which to kill the snake. See above. Got to chat with lots of people in the doorway to the bathroom/beer room -- the only good acoustics in the party suite -- and to see Charlie (and Karen) Vess, who are two of the best people you will ever be priveleged enough to meet, as well as meet some new people, whose names I can sadly not remember. Oh, and we got to see Kij, and make dinner plans with her and her hilarious husband Chris McKitterick.

We went back to our room, possibly after an interlude somewhere else we can't remember, and thought we'd woken up Kelly and Gavin but it turned out it was just Kelly and she didn't even hear us come in. Slept like the blessed.

The next morning, we got up sort of early, and Christopher and I met Ted and Marcia to go to the Phillips Collection over on Dupont Circle, to see the "Surrealism and Modernism" exhibit they have from the Atheneum in Connecticut. Wonderful exhibit, and Marcia is the absolute best kind of person to see paintings with, because she loves them, gets them and knows all about them in a way she can tell you. Beautiful paintings. We particularly loved the Klees, and also there was a wonderful Chagall. And an Edvard Munch that was all swirly pink.

A nice morning, then we visited a Borders where Christopher used to work, then back to the convention while Marcia went off to conquer more museums.

Mostly dealer's rooming in the afternoon, I think I went to half a panel on myth. Minz took some of us over to our hotel for a drink, and I came down in the yard sale coat Kelly had given me earlier that is beautiful or hideous depending upon whether you are American or Australian. Justine told me to take it off. Justine and I talked and drank, sometimes with Minz, sometimes not, and Ted and Christopher looked at the Alex Ross art book that Kelly gave Christopher earlier in the day. I hadn't eaten very much, again, and wanted pizza. So, we got together another dinner posse, Justine and Scott, Lawrence Schimel and Celia Tan, Barzak, Alan, and Ted and Marcia. I think. Again, this was in the Union Station area, but I was happy because I got to have greasy pizza. Christopher was disturbed to learn that Lawrence, though he lives in Madrid, couldn't express an educated preference between the ONCE and Euskatel bicycling teams. Fun dinner, Justine and I started talking about a nonfiction YA idea we may do together.

Went back to the hotel and meandered toward the mass signing. Realized I was insanely tired, around the same time Christopher did. We said hi to some people, wondered up to the Mythic Journeys party, where there was an ominous looking keyboard, then went to bed early. Yes, we're lame. No, we don't care.

Somewhere in all this, we got to talk to John Kessel, always a highlight of any day. Oh, and Andy and Sydney Duncan showed up, also always a highlight. (Actually, I'm not sure if Andy and Sydney arrived on Friday or Saturday. Again, blur.)

God, how do you people do these con reports? I want to jump out the fucking window so I don't have to try and reconstruct anymore.


Kelly, Christopher and Gavin got up early to have breakfast with an editor from Bantam, but ended up missing her. I leisurely got ready and went to the Dealer's Room, where the Small Beer table remained covered while I sat behind it and waited for people to show up with essentials like a money box and a tally sheet. I talked to John Joseph Adams, because the F and SF table was right next to Small Beer's, and bought the only F and SF we seem to be missing, which has "The Essayist in the Wilderness" in it.

People showed up.

Christopher went to Jeff Ford's reading at noon -- this was when I actually went to the half panel on myth that I mentioned earlier. I found out I will probably never write a book set in a completely different culture because you have to immerse in it for up to six years before you can do it properly. Andy Duncan was shocked when I told him this later, and will now have to move back to North Carolina if he's going to write a book set there.

Alex and Beth Irvine showed up actually the day before, but I forgot to put that in here. We had some drinks in the bar with him, and wished we had enough time to go watch his cutest kids in the world trick or treat in Alexandria. JPPN 2 turned out to be delayed due to unforeseeable circumstances.

We went to the slipstream panel, right at the end of it. Interesting stuff, and another place for interstitial to be plugged. Then it was time to go get changed for the small press party arranged by Mike Jasper later in the night and go to the Strange Horizons Tea Party.

I found out Lisa Snellings was around this day, but never managed to be able to catch up with her, because she was staying with friends in town and never showed up when I was looking for her. I'm still very sad about this, as I haven't seen Lisa in three years.

The Strange Horizons Tea Party was fun, except for this weird guy who was just some person hanging in the Con Suite before the party started, that was really concerned about my and Christopher karma. Blech.

There were lots of zeppelins floating around the SH party and Susan Groppi was letting people kiss her ring, but only if they donated enough money to Strange Horizons first. She is quite the power mad editrix now, but not really.

We left to let Gavin come up to the party, but met him on the way and he'd already been relieved by Kristin and Kelly. Barzak, Alan and posse had a bottle of single malt, so we started drinking that. Coincidentally, Charlie Vess showed up around then. Dave Truesdale was discussed with various contingents, and Gordon Van Gelder took his part, saying the field needs more combative people. I stuck with my view, which is that anyone who thinks Karen Fowler's work is overrated is an idiot. (No offense.)

Then we had dinner with Kij and Chris, and the rest of the normal dinner posse (divided tables too often this time) -- Christopher got talked into doing the Tom Bombadil rap for the tables, which is truly not to be missed and would lead to an 8-Mile esque moment later in the evening after his reading at the small press party, when the room began to chant, "Bombadil, Bombadil" until he agreed to come back and do it again. The people who didn't know what they were asking for were quite scared. Kij and Christopher came up with some great names for eighties bands, that are lost to the sands of beer and time.

Back to the small press party, where there was a glass shortage, and we had champagne -- Alan from his nametag holder. Hung out, chatted, various readings. Very fun. Then we all left to go to John Kessel's brilliant reading downstairs. People will tell you that I came up with a high concept in the elevator, but it isn't true. Blow jobs really can't resuscitate old dead men, even if they're given by well-meaning young girls.

Then, Tor party, which had good booze and was great fun all around. Got to talk to Merrilee for a long time while she planned my future wedding to Christopher in a way that only she could do without being offensive. (There is no actual wedding planned, unless Merrilee has put something in motion.) Andy Duncan thinks we're married already. So there.

Lots of people at Tor party, much fun. I went to bed fairly early, thus not incriminating myself by playing the SF Slut Game.

Sunday. My roomies got up and went to breakfast with the editor they missed the day before. I repeated my pattern, of leisurely shower and yogurt and juice. Went to Chris Barzak's reading, which I didn't get to tell him how much I enjoyed -- great reading and I loved the chapter. Dealer's room. Talking to hungover, tired people. Eating bad Japanese candy. Went to awards, which were good this year and I've already talked about. I will say there was a lot of bitterness toward J.K. Rowling in the room for some odd reason.

Then, saying goodbye to people still left, up to Union Station for food and ice cream. We saw Rick Bowes last, on his way to the train (Barzak's right, he should have a sitcom). Christopher's friend Russ came and picked us up and we revived, a little, speeding out of con-land. We had wine and different conversations, ditto last night and today we go home.

This is exhausting all over again, and I'll never try to do this again. If I forgot to drop your name, I'm sorry. I really like you anyway! I promise! Ben Rosenbaum is a nice guy and can draw really good! Jason Erik Lundberg has a talented girlfriend and is a good reader! John Klima is too clever for his own good and bought a story off Christopher! Tom Doyle's very interesting! Neile Graham is excellently fun to talk about writing with! Dora Goss coordinates a good party! Holly Black has beautiful hair, but I didn't get to chat with her! And you, you were awesome!


lovely weather bones

I woke up with a fuzzy cat on my face this morning, which while not the most pleasant way to wake up in world is certainly efficient at getting the job done.

We're not home yet, stayed last night with old friends of Christopher (well, they aren't old, but he's known them a longggg time) and are doing so again tonight, in Alexandria. We could go out and do many things today, but instead I think we're going to kick back and recup from the Big Fun and possibly cab down Old Town and walk around and look at the water. Tomorrow we'll try to be industrious and hit a couple of museums before our flight, thus ensuring that even though we took it easy today we'll be exhausted for work the rest of the week. Ah well.

World Fantasy was lovely, besmirched only by the lack of your (yes, your) presence if you weren't there. And by the fact that there's never time to really get to hang out with at least five people you really want to hang out with, and that the people you do get to hang out with a lot, you could hang out with all the time and it wouldn't be too much. I only went to three programming items it occurs to me, which means it must have been a successful convention.

I thought we got crap freebie bags, but going through them just now, it turns out we got some interesting stuff. Things I would probably never find on my own which look quite good -- and more heavy on science fiction than fantasy, oddly enough -- and lots of books that will make good presents for people who don't have them yet. Still not as good as Ted's bag, but I'm banking on our own book bag karma for next year.

Michael Jasper -- one of the people I didn't get to hang out with as much as I would have liked -- did an unbelievably great job at putting together the small press debut party on Saturday night, which was a great success and went off without a hitch despite being opposite the Tor party. The numerous small press items that debuted all look wonderful and read wonderfully in the little gulps I've been able to ingest so far too. A good weekend for zines. To name a few (besides Say... of course!) there was the first issue of Trunk Stories (which looks great, order it from Small Beer), Intracities, Flytrap, the new LCRW (beautiful! perfect bound, color cover and my first advice column and lots of other, better stuff), the new Polyphony (not a zine, but I wanted to mention it anyway), and lots, lots more...

All the award winners were good this year, and really, it was a great year for nominees and winners and material in general. My only regret is that "Fitcher's Brides" didn't get a WF Award for Best Novel, and if anything I think it's because it's a book that makes something very technically hard look easy and read decadently pleasantly.

That is all for now. Everyone get home safe and rest up.

Next year let's go to good restaurants while we're at the convention. Last night eating great Thai food was like a sin, after Union Station for five days.