Goodbye, San Diego

Somehow, I had forgotten that I’d bought a banquet ticket, so I didn’t bring a dress for the banquet. Luckily, I always travel with an LBD (Little Black Dress), so I did in fact have a black dress to wear with black ballet flats. I imagine Audrey Hepburn might have worn something like it.

On Sunday morning I checked out, then went to the art show and bought something I’d been thinking about buying all weekend: an engraving of a sort of wood fairy figure by Ruth Sanderson. I like buying things from artists that are unusual: not their usual stuff, the most finished, the most expensive. But strange, small things like limited edition engravings, which is what this is. I don’t see it anywhere on her website, or I would point it out to you. At the moment, it’s sitting on my dresser, safe and sound. I always worry about how to get art back from conventions without bending it.

And then I walked around for a while, talking to whoever else was walking around the dealer’s room. Here is the dealer’s room, by the way:

I was especially pleased to be able to meet Damien Walter and Nancy Holder, both of whom I knew of, but had not met in person. And I was also pleased to run into the lovely Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Karen Bovenmyer. The only time I felt underdressed for the banquet was when Myke Cole stopped by and said hello, elegantly in uniform.

Then it was time for the banquet. I was lucky to be at a table with Kit Reed and her husband, Charles Tan, Paula Guran, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Ben Loory. I had to leave early, but I took this picture as I snuck out the door. It’s Neil Gaiman giving his Guest of Honor speech.

My mother lives in Los Angeles in a house by the ocean, and I had promised her that we would spend some time walking on the beach, eating Mexican food, and shopping. So that’s exactly what we did. She came down in her truck (bought because she’s making extensive renovations to the beach house, before starting extensive renovations to the mountain house, since she always seems to be renovating something), and we drove first to the beach so I could say hello to the Pacific, and then to Old Town, where we walked around the shops until dark and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Then, I had to catch my flight, so it was back to the hotel to change, and onto the plane. Once again I was extravagant: I upgraded myself to one of the seats with more space – an aisle seat in an empty row. So I had three seats to lie down on. I was able to sleep for about four hours, I think. And then it was morning and landing in Boston, where once again I was extravagant and took a cab to the university, so I could prepare to teach and meet with students. I don’t recommend socializing a full day in San Diego, flying across the country at night, and working a full day in Boston. Tonight, I’m completely exhausted. But it was worth it. I met so many people there that I won’t see again until the next convention, whichever one that is. (Readercon, for most of them.) I miss them all, my writing community, although I’m discovering that I can see many of them on Google Plus. (Which I’ve just joined, although I don’t quite understand it yet. But here is my profile.)

I returned to the remains of an early snowstorm: trees fallen, power lines down, although luckily I have heat and electricity. But I do miss the palm trees and blue sky of San Diego. So here is my final photograph, me in the San Diego sunlight, by one of the hotel fountains. As relaxed as I remember being in a long time.

And although I missed the World Fantasy Awards, I just want to say a particular congratulations to my Clarion classmate Nnedi Okorafor, whose novel Who Fears Death won the World Fantasy Award in the novel category. Even at Clarion, it was obvious that Nnedi was going to be a wonderful and important writer. And so she is.

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