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September 05, 2004

Saturday & Hugos


After my late night Friday, and a late night Thursday and very little sleep before flying, I slept in on Saturday morning. I woke up with barely enough time to shower and dress and grab food before Jay Lake's SFF.net reading. Jay is a friend of mine and I hadn't ever heard him read before. He read two stories: "Angel's Daughter" (my request) which appeared in the June Realms of Fantasy this year and "Crimson Mud, Drying Blood". I'd read "Angel's Daughter" before, and was thrilled to hear his intonation. I had not heard the other story, which was very interesting and more than a little disturbing. But very, very good.

After that I ran down to the panel "Tough Love for New Writers". There, I was discouraged from writing, told that I could very well be turned into a little ball of sobbing jelly, informed that I would not be respected by the rest of the world, and that for $50 a year Gavin Grant would tell me I was a writer. Basically, the editors and writers of the panel wanted to tear down any aspiring writers. There was a morbid humor going on, and there were a lot of laughs. But the take-away message was that you will not find happiness in being published, selling your first novel, becoming a SFWA member or winning the Hugo. You must be happy within yourself. If you happen to write and get published during that, good for you. It was a sobering panel, but it was a kindness. Anyone who could sit through that panel and know that they were being serious for the majority may have the makings to become a writer. But if someone sat through that panel, knowing they were serious or thinking they were joking, that person most likely doesn't have the resilance and ego to truly make it in the field.

I am a masocist and really had heard most of it before and said some of it before. And yet, I still want to be a writer. In fact, it energized me to send out more stuff, silly as that sounds.

My panel for the day checked off I ran up to the room to gather some supplies and then out to grab some nylons and hydrating drinks from the Walgreens. I changed into my formal dress and bounced down to the Hugo Pre-Reception to "be pretty, smile and entertain the guests."

I believe I acquitted myself well. And I figured out I know more people than I thought I did among the Hugo nominees. I know Jay Lake (up for the Campbell and a Hugo). I worked for Charles Brown of Locus (up for yet another Hugo) and knew some of the other Locus crew. I (now) know Michael Burstein (up for the Hugo) and his wife Nomi. I had met Ellen Datlow (up for a Hugo) and Teresa Nielson Hayden (presenting a Huog) earlier during the Con and both were happy to talk to me. I had met John Joseph Adams (assistant editor at F&SF, his boss was up for a Hugo) earlier this con. I knew Frank Wu (up for a Hugo), though he showed up very late. And anyone who I had not already met was more than willing to talk to me anyhow. It was a lot of fun and I just enjoyed the wash of conversation and the feeling of being there. The nervous energy was running high and it rubbed off on me (and several others, as they confided in me).

The walk over to the ceremony was a thrill in itself. I got to help chase Neil Gaiman out of the room to the hall, and he was putting the finishing touches on his Toastmaster notes. I got to walk through the special "Not an Entrance" entrance. I got to sit in the second row of the ceremony and look up to see my husband working the follow spot. None of this I would have believed before coming to the Con. I would have bet on being up in the nosebleed section or waiting in line for 2 hours to get on the ground level.

The ceremony was a lot of fun for me. I enjoyed the speakers and thrill of the annoucements. There were the normal Hugo strange events ["Filthy Pierre" winning two of the special awards, winners being annouced early due to technical glitches, papers being shuffled, speakers running over, etc.]. I got to whistle and cheer for Frank who won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist. He was stunned and so cute. I got to stand up in happiness for Jay, and I can now say "I told you so" to him about the Campbell. I smiled when Neil was given his second Hugo. And I had the fun daydream of thinking some day I would be up there. (yes I know, it is not the end all of being a writer but it a nice spiffy daydream)

After that I realized I had not had much food (there was finger food at the pre-reception but I was trying very hard to keep talking so I didn't eat much) and went to get food. My body informed me at that point that I had not been eating enough, or drinking enough, or sleeping enough. So I got some food, didn't finish all of it and crashed. It was only midnight [early for a Con], but I was dead tired. My husband became my designated socialite and he stayed out drinking and courasing until early that morning. In my dreams, silver rockets danced.

Posted by Dawn Burnell at 04:00 PM in 5-Saturday | Permalink


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