I did it. I wore myself out.
I’ve been rushing around so much in the last few days. Well, you know. You’re on this journey with me. You saw me writing feverishly, finishing a project before I left for ICFA. You saw me pack, get on the plane, fly to Florida. Even when I was sitting by the lake, I was talking and talking, making connections with friends. Which is important, so important for me. But.
(I forgot to tell you, before I left Boston I was on my Blackberry because this year Wiscon had snuck up on me, and I realized that I not only did not have a reading arranged, but no room to sleep in. So I emailed friends, and by the time I landed in Orlando I had a reading, and by the time I got to the hotel I had a room. What would I do without you, beloved Blackberry? And beloved friends? Not in that order. But still, I am worn out.)
Today I woke up at 7 a.m. to get ready for a reading at 8:30. I decided to wear a skirt.
I took some pictures before the reading started. There were more people in the audience than you see here, but still, it was an 8:30 a.m. reading. This is what they look like. You probably remember who I was reading with: James Patrick Kelly and Rachel Swirsky.
But on the side of the room you don’t see were John Kessel, Paul Park, and Andy Duncan. I would read just for those three, any day. What you do see above is the contingent of Dell Award winners and Alpha students, who are some of my favorite people.
After the reading, I sat and signed with Jim and Rachel. Bernie Goodman brought – well, probably everything I’ve ever published, for me to sign.
I took a couple more pictures, of the hallway and Jim signing.
Then, I went to the book room because the five books I had initially given them had sold almost immediately. So I gave them the last five. No books to take home!
Then I went to the Guest Scholar’s Luncheon, where Andrea Hairston gave an absolutely wonderful talk about – well, it covered so many things, but it was about District Nine and African cultures and colonialism. I hope it’s published soon, because I know it’s the sort of article that will interest people both in the academic and writer communities. Among other things, Andrea praised the work of Nnedi Okorafor, who was one of my Clarion classmates and has become a wonderful, and truly significant, writer of science fiction and fantasy that often touches on issues of race and culture. I’m very proud to have been at Clarion with her! I sat at a table with the Dell/Alpha contingent. Have I mentioned that they are some of my favorite people? And some of them are my former students!
Their success is the best advertisement for the Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers.
But by that point I was starting to feel tired and ill. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get warm. So I went up to my room, changed into my pajama pants, and crawled into bed. And I slept.
I’m still not feeling well, but at least I’m up, and later I think I’ll try to get some dinner. This happens, when I drive myself too hard. And I have been driving myself hard lately. I feel almost as though I can’t lose a moment.
While reading Hecate’s blog post “Synchronicity: Wherever You Go, There It Is,” I came across some lines from Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day”:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
I think I’ve been trying to answer that question by doing and doing. And honestly, that’s my best answer right now. But at some points I think I have to rest too, or I’ll end up as I am, sitting in front of this computer in a t-shirt, sweater (because so cold, although I’ve set the thermostat at 80), and pajama pants, with messy hair. Thinking I’ll have to get dressed at some point, go down and get dinner for myself. But I think I’ll spend the rest of the evening up here, just by myself, in the silence. Maybe reading. After all, I need that too.