Monday, July 10, 2006

Readercon

Getting Back From Readercon

So we got back from Readercon yesterday afternoon. We had a great time meeting some of our favorite authors and going to the awesome panels put together by the Readercon organizers. We also quickly learned (me more than Cindy) that we are going to have to work on getting over the anxiety, awkwardness, and nervousness that accompanies meeting authors we hold in high esteem (Our apologies to any authors we made feel uncomfortable during the course of the convention). But other than that it was a really great time. And sleeping in the car turned out not to be as awful as we thought it would. So here are some of our experiences:

Meeting the Authors (in loose chronological order)

There was a meet the pros party scheduled for the first night, and we were ecstatic about meeting our favorite authors. Excitement soon turned into bewilderment at our awkwardness (mostly mine), and fear of saying something stupid to an author. We stood and looked around for someone we recognized, which was pretty pointless because we were too damn nervous to walk up and say hi.

Awesome Moment # 1: I eventually stopped Jeffrey Ford while he was making his way somewhere. We began talking about it being our first convention and he advised us to not be nervous and to get out there and meet people. He was really encouraging.

So we continuted to look around at faces. We saw China Miéville and his girlfriend drinking some wine. R. Scott Bakker standing next to another really tall author whom we couldn't identify. Eventually, on our way out of the party room, we ran into Jim Crowley and said hi. We then ran into Paul Witcover and payed compliments.

Awkward Moment # 1: I asked Richard Bowes for a sticker (authors had a page of stickers with a one line quote printed on them), but if you already know me you know I barely move my lips when I speak, and I often speak too softly to be heard. I guess he thought I was just staring at him, so he avoided eye contact by looking at the floor. We walked out of the room. I felt like a dumbass.

We limped away from the party and agreed to focus on panels instead of forcing ourselves to meet people.

Awesome Moment #2: The next day, while we were waiting for the Bookshop to open, we ran into Paul di Filippo. We asked him to autograph Fuzzy Dice and also talked to him about this being our first time at a convention. He was really nice throughout the brief conversation (even encouraged me to keep working at writing) and didn't seem uncomfortable at any moment. We also went to his Monsterpunk reading and now I must plug his forthcoming Creature From the Black Lagoon book.

Awkward Moment # 2: We were at the From Within Us It Devours panel. After it finished I called my mom. While I was talking to her, Paul Witcover was walking up the aisle to leave the room. As it turned out I had a copy of Waking Beauty hiding under a copy of The Empire of Ice Cream, on my lap. I must have been goofing with the books because I noticed him look down at Waking Beauty. At the exact moment he glanced at me, anticipating being asked to sign his book, I tilted the phone away from my mouth and blurted, "How you doing?" I really felt like a dumbass. Oh, pick up his new book, Dracula: Asylum.

Awesome Moment # 3: I chased after Jeffrey Ford to get the Thackery Lambshead Guide and The Empire of Ice Cream signed. While signing the books Jeff asked whether we are interested in writing. I told him I am, and that Cindy is interested in getting into editing. He offered to introduce Cindy to a well known copy-editor who was celebrating her birthday that night. Although we did not make it, the offer was awesome.

Awesome Moment # 4: We went to China Miéville's book signing. He was really nice and understood our first convention bafflement. He gave an awesome interview later that day.

Developing Phobias

The convention wasn't all rosy though. About five minutes after sitting in on a panel we noticed a bald man, sitting a couple of seats in front of us, persistently finger-massaging his scalp. My first thought was deciding that I did not like seeing a bald man rubbing his scalp. I then tried to pay attention to the panel discussion, however, the scalp massaging continued, and Cindy was affixed. She pointed out a scab on the man's head, no doubt the result of his mania. I cringed for a couple of minutes as he continued, and was finally relieved when the panel concluded (what a way to suck the excitement out of a Borges discussion). Later that night, during the Bad Prose Competition, after we took our seats and waited for the event to begin, the same guy sat diagonally to our left. Long story short, he scratched the scab and it started bleeding. Cindy and I cringed for half the competition, and I now have a phobia of bald men scratching their heads.

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