My weekend started early when I drove down late Thursday morning to San Jose for WFC2009. From the moment I stepped into the hotel and found my VPeeps, to the moment on Saturday early afternoon I left to come back to Sacramento, WFC2009 was non-stop fantastic!
That's fantastic as in FANTASTIC, because I had an incredible time, and fantastic as in FANtastic as there was an endless sequence of gushing fanboy squee-tastic "ohmigawd you're so-and so" moments.
Gushing fanboy moments included:
- Terry Bisson introducing himself to me (to *me*) when talking to someone near me, and then inviting me to come to "SF in SF" sometime and maybe read. Woah!
- Sharing an elevator with John Kessel, who then introduced me to the woman standing next to him: Kij Johnson (double-squee).
- Talking with James Van Pelt *three* times during the con. I really like Jim's work and Jim's discussions on his LJ about teaching writing. He was just great to talk with and is a really really good guy. A wonderful model for how to be a working and successful short fiction writer who also gives back to the community and to youth.
- Another elevator moment, this time with Jeffrey Ford.
- Saying "hi" to Ted Chiang at a party, and telling him that, as a writer and a nerd, I really appreciated his stories. He was very gracious.
- Talking footy (Aussie Rules Football) with two guys at the Australian Party Thursday night, then having it pointed out to me that it was Garth Nix and Jonathan Strahan!
- Finally getting to meet, in person, Greg van Eekhout, whose work I really like and with whom I've corresponded many times.
- Multiple chats with Doug Cohen, second-in-command at Realms of Fantasy!
- Giving my table to Nisi Shawl at the Indian restaurant! (I was just waiting for to-go and she needed a table)
- A conversation with Ann Vandermeer at a cheese party where she said nice things about the Spam Flash Fiction story I sold them last year ("All That Was Left Behind")!
- Another conversation with John Kessel before Kij Johnson's reading, where I thanked him for a piece of critique advice he gave during a panel at LA Worldcon. I've followed the advice in every critique I've ever received and have gotten kudos as a critiquee. We also talked about some of his stories. He was incredibly nice.
- Meeting up with many of my VPXI classmates (The Elevensies: Chris, Julia, Kim, Heather, Mark, Eric, Rose) and even mor VPeeps (Lucy, Dru, Erin, Dierdre and others including some of the the Fighting Thirteens and the Dirty Dozens)
- The reading for DayBreak Magazine (online arm of SHINE Anthology), where I got to lead off and had a blast reading the first chapter of "The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram", and then had a nice sip of whiskey (both items courtesy Jetse de Vries, SHINE Editor and whiskey provider).
- Parties! Australian Party; Locus party (with midnight salute to Charles Brown); Tor.com party, MythCon party (with tons of pizza); VP gathering; Jay Lake's cheese party with Ken Scholes singing.
- Panels and Readings! "Best Fiction of the Year So Far" panel; "Invention vs Tradition" panel; Kij Johnson reading the wonderfully dark, sexy and creepy story "Spar"; Greg van Eekhout reading the funny and entertaining first chapter of _Kid vs Squid_, his upcoming novel.
- Quick evening breaks to: (Thursday) have dinner with some old friends and their kids; (Friday) catch part of the Stanford/USC women's volleyball game.
- The overall sense of amazement that comes from being present at such an incredible collection of writing and publishing and editing talent, and the phenomenal buzz I carry back with me. That buzz is a huge burst of adrenalin for getting into high speed with the writing and challenging myself to make my writing better and stronger.
In summary: Best. Con. Ever. I most certainly would like to attend next year, but it's in Ohio so I'll just have to see how it goes. Especially since the family and I love Halloween, and WFC is always Halloween weekend.
I roared back to Sacramento Saturday afternoon, arriving at 4pm, just in time to quickly get prepared for Halloween. Some final house set-up, a quick change into my "tattooed punk rocker" costume, and it was time for trick or treating. I went around the park block with A and her friend MB, along with MB's mom DB and the other two kids. Much candy was obtained. The park block where we live had steady traffic and a good crowd..
After trick or treating (and a few pieces of candy obtained under the command of the "parental candy tax") C and I headed downtown to meet up with the SacFooty folks, who were pub crawling their way around Sactown. We met up at DeVere's, the excellent Irish pub, where I had a Guinness while we all compared costumes, people watched, and caught up on what we'd been doing since USFOOTY Nationals. The main theme in our group was superheroes, so we had Wonder Woman, Hulk, Supergirl, Devil/Hellboy, Robin, and a Batgirl. Alas we didn't have a superhero costume for C, cause then we could have broken out the Spider-Man costume for me. (Spider-Man is always a dicey prospect, because the costume is *skin*-*tight*. If I wear it in public, it's usually with some sort of cover.)
From DeVere's it was a short walk to Hangar 17, a smaller bar south of downtown. We commandeered the patio area and set up shop with Newcastles, Pilsner Urquels, and ginger-and-jack. The evening was just non-stop conversation, cheering for costumes, watching all the costumes on the people walking by, and laughing. It was an extremely good time and much fun was had by all. MattyB was second in the "Scary Costume" contest, losing out to an extremely well-done Beetlejuice. Some of the better costumes I saw were: the Futurama, a full Gumby costume, an Aquabats costume (for which I complimented the wearer), and the aforementioned Beetlejuice.
I discovered that I really like ginger-and-jack (Ginger Ale and Jack Daniels) and it will be a choice drink of the future. I also re-discovered how much fun it is to hang out with a crazy group of people and just have a good time with lots of laughs. I see more hanging out in the future.
C and I finally got home about 2 in the morning, happy and tired, and slept in the next morning. It was a most excellent Halloween.
And thus went the Awesome weekend of Awesome. October itself was a pretty crazy, if also wonderful, month what with US Footy Nationals, Ashland, the Math Contest, WFC, and Halloween. You need a month like that every once in a while to show you how busy and fun life can be.
November, however, will be quieter (I hope). I need to get the office dug out and get myself organized!