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WisCon Day Three and Home Again

Of course, after having a late night the day before, I woke up bright and early on Sunday–just not early enough to attend the 8:30 panel on cliche that my friend Sean was moderating. Coffee was once again necessary, and after having breakfast, a few of us grabbed caffeine and wandered down State Street. Apparently I wasn’t in a pretty, shiny, shopping mood, because we made it all the way to the campus. I’ve never noticed how short a street it is before.

Coming back, more hat shopping ensued. Waiting outside, we ran into one of the Glitter Glam Rainbow Bunny Death Pixies . She was looking for chicken broth on the street of “ethnic” food. It was the first news of the plague. When we got back to the hotel, signs were everywhere, “Stomach flu at WisCon. Wash your hands.” Wheee. The cool part is that someone had already organized an epidemiological survey to find the source(s). I love hanging out with other geeks.

Then it was off to the coffee shop again for a reading in their upper level–Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades, ghost stories from lesbian erotica writers, edited by my friend Catherine. Most of it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be read anywhere, until we got to the last story. After reading for a couple of minutes, the author looked up and told us, “I’ve never read anything erotic out loud before. But I wrote it, so I should be fine, right?”

We nodded encouragingly. She composed herself and opened her mouth. Then the door opened and in walked a mom trailing her four-year-old. There was a little laughter, but I think most of us were trying not to startle the newcomers. Once they’d headed down the stairs, the author tried again. This time, she got a few words out before the other authors facing the door cracked up. Outside was a parade of altar boys in full regalia: robes, frilly collars, gold implements. At least they didn’t come in. After we all wiped the tears from our eyes and settled back down, the author was finally able to read. It may be the influence of all the laughter, but I didn’t find the euphemisms any less silly than those in straight erotica.

We were in the con suite long enough to see all the food prep surfaces wiped down with bleach, then Sara and I headed off to a chat with Ellen Kushner, author of my favorite book. It was fun. Ellen is always enthusiastic and funny, her partner, Delia Sherman, was there to answer questions about how they’ve worked together, and the setting was intimate. It may have been too intimate for Sara. She’d been suppressing fangirl squee all weekend as I pointed out authors and editors whose work she loved. Being that close to Ellen nearly did her in. She was vibrating as we walked out of the room and twitched for the rest of the evening whenever I mentioned it.

Then it was off to dinner at the Great Dane Pub, the Governor’s Club, and parties. I’d meant to hit more than one but never made it past the book launch party for Catherine’s book and another anthology from the same press. There were more readings, one of which would definitely have been out of place in the coffee shop, altar boys or no. It felt a little off-balance to find lesbian erotica pretty hot while not remotely desiring sex with a woman.

I had a nice chat with Rebecca, whom I’ve been meaning to get to know for a while now. Should be easier these days, as she’s renting from a high school friend of mine and working two blocks from me. My world just keeps getting smaller. At some point, I realized I was blinking owlishly and not saying much, so I went to bed.

Mondays at WisCon are quiet, mostly packing, registering for next year, and saying goodbyes. There were a bunch of people who would have gotten hugs if we hadn’t all just been talking about the stomach bug. We waved and got in the car.

The ride home was uneventful. Sara and James were terribly cute, holding hands while napping in the back seat. We started looking for signs of the storm once we crossed back into Minnesota, but there was nothing. So we were completely unprepared to come home to a broken fence and banged up elm in our yard. Single car accident according to the accident report we picked up at city hall. Ah, back to real life.