I’m writing this as I wait to find out whether my flight will be leaving four hours later as I have just been told or whether the weather will make that unlikely. They aren’t very forthcoming with information. They try to avoid saying anything and don’t like to put up on the board that the flight is delayed.
Well, the conference ended better than it started. It helped a lot that Rod and Elena came up to hang out for the afternoon (thanks again, I really appreciated it!) We went to the Witch History Museum which was a hoot. All these tableaux with Sears mannequins dressed as Pilgrims. It was clear 1) how old they were (Elena pointed out the authentic cob webs) and 2) how much our knowledge of the history has diverged from the original narrative the mannequins tell. So there was a clear split between the rhetoric of word and of image. We got out just in time to go over to the Boys & Girls Club for my talk. To my surprise there was a pretty good crowd (I expected a half dozen at most, including me, Rod and Elena. There were forty or fifty people there, I think, and fairly enthusiastic. At least they seemed to laugh in the right places (“oh dear, I’ve got a huge lump on my arm! What do you suppose caused that?”) and asked a few questions, asked for my card at the end, and best of all, bought the books I brought with me. Yay! It was a fun talk – one I’ll have to repeat. Of course I tried to cram way too much into the time, but hey, I do that.
We had a great dinner out on the Pickering Wharf at the Captain’s and then Rod and Elena had to head back to Connecticut. I ran inside in time to catch Sharyn November’s storytelling hour. She’s the editor of Firebird, the YA imprint of Penguin, and a really lively individual and a straight shooter. Although the picture she painted of the editing world was far less glamorous than some audience members hoped, she clearly loves her work and gets a serious charge out of it. It was clear from the way she quizzed audience members on their current reading and recommended writers they might not have heard of yet. Besides, she folded an origami crane while she was talking.
It was an easy transition to Charles de Lint’s story hour, since he’s one of the those writers she edits, and anyway, he was already sitting in the audience. He started off reading his story from the forthcoming Firebird anthology (Firebirds are Go! just kidding), which Sharyn has convinced him to expand to a novel. It was both funny and touching. Then it was coffee hour time. Charles and MaryAnn explained that they liked to have more informal sessions to allow fans to ask questions and eat -- they brought chips and salsa. Sharyn stayed to kibbutz and had people laughing out loud often, especially when the two Canadians kidded her about her fascination with their Canadianism. Eventually Charles and MaryAnn got back to making music, stopping in between songs as usual to tell stories and explain connections. I finally couldn’t resist asking if Sam were there, and sure enough, he was along for the ride -- and we were also introduced to MaryAnn’s little bear Ted who travels with Sam, but seldom gets the spotlight. Charles was aghast to hear one young woman suggest that Sam the Monkey was really an ape, but said it didn’t really matter anyway. “His name is Sam the Monkey,” he said, which didn’t necessarily mean he had to be a monkey. “My name’s Charles de Lint but it doesn't mean I'm made of lint.”
A lot of songs, mostly different from the night before, except for ending on “Cherokee Girl” (which has continued in my head all day -- when will they finish their CD?). They sang Charles’ crow girls song, “Bad Girls,” which he described as a sort of Tom Waits/Ennio Morricone/Pink inspired tune. MaryAnn (or should I say, “Blind Citrus Harris” as she was introduced) even played harmonica on one song rather than her usual turns on mandolin and shaker. At the end, Charles signed books and we reluctantly left, to await the (last!) yellow school bus back to the Sheraton.
And now is only the waiting -- I should do work, but somehow I don’t much feel like it. At least I have plenty to read…and a computer!
[Written: 10/10/05 3.45 pm -- the plane was delayed about four hours, so I finally got back to the house about 11.45pm]