October 2008


My researches for a new novel led me back to old fave A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this cool Bottom and Titania.  Check out his hands.  Read the body language.

Obama came to Richmond yesterday, and Sarah and I made it inside the Coliseum with about 12,000 other folks to see him.  There were a few more thousand outside.  The acoustics suck, and we were way up high, but it was absolutely a thrill to see the next President of the United States.  The man’s electrifying.  The energy on the streets afterward was giddy.  I was reminded of when Lincoln came to the liberated city.  There was dancing in the streets then.  When Barack wins, there will be one joyful noise in this city, believe me.  I remember Ike, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush II, but I’ve never actually seen a president in person.  Here’s hoping I have now come November 4th.  Vote.  No excuses.  You have to vote this time.

The high point for me was getting to hang out a bit with Michael Dirda and talk literature.  I also caught up with Andy and Sydney Duncan, Scott Edelman, and Ed Schubert.  Most of the readings I wanted to see conflicted with my stuff, but I did get to hear Hildy Silverman read a fun piece about witches at the mall.  The panel on endings I served on suffered from an overly controlling, verbose, and opinionated moderator, so that the rest of us didn’t get much chance to say anything.  Appropriately, I just wanted it to end!  One of the side trails that panel went down, as well as a couple of others, is the battle between the academy and science fiction.  Each seems determined to demonize the other with pointless strawman attacks.  One panel Michael Dirda was on, Is Genre Good?  addressed the issue directly, and Michael was surprised at the level of lingering antipathy in the academy toward sf—surely we’d gotten past all that.  Afraid not.  But then sf folks hauling out the most absurd deconstructionists to be the norm of the academy doesn’t help the cause either.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Monday and Tuesday I was at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School.  I had a workshop with one of their students, an absolutely terrific writer, and met with 4 classes who kept me interested, and I hope they can say the same.  They asked great questions, and their energy and curiosity are contagious.  Both faculty and students showed me a wonderful time.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to miss their annual Writer’s Festival this Saturday the 18th.  I hope next year Capclave and the festival don’t conflict.  You shouldn’t miss it, however.  Many events are open to the public, and you can see what a great place a public school can be.

I’ll be at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, a truly wonderful place I’ve blogged about before.  Monday, I’ll be workshopping with some students, then meeting with a beginning creative writing class to explain lying for a living.  On Tuesday I meet with a novel writing class, a Brit lit class (who just happen to be studying a favorite genre, medieval romance) then I’ve got a short story writing class where I’ll talk about something interesting I’m sure, probably revision.  That’s what I’ve been doing lately when I haven’t been watching Tina Fey lampoon Palin.  Maybe Fey could be Obama’s press secretary.  That would be all Mavericky, wouldn’t it?

Next weekend is Capclave in DC (October 17-19).  I’ll be doing a reading on Saturday at 3 pm, a panel on ending stories Saturday at 5 pm, and a panel on politics and economics of the future Sunday at 1 pm.  James Morrow, author of Only Begotten Daughter and Towing Jehovah, as well as other fine blaspheming satires, will be the GOH.  Michael Dirda, critic extraordinaire will also be there. It’s a small, reader-friendly con.  It’s at the Hilton at the Twinbrook Metro Station, so if you’re anywhere in the DC area, stop by.