ICFA: the last two days

Let’s see. Friday I had a 10:30am thing, which I know because I couldn’t have breakfast with the family. Oh, yes, it turned out to be what Geoffrey Landis said might have been the most fun he’d ever had at an ICFA panel! laughs

It was a panel with myself and Kate JohnsTon, moderated by Novella, and Kate read an incredibly funny piece from the point of view of a genetically engineered modern T-Rex who was very, very horny, followed by two more very funny pieces, after which I read from my Pride & Prejudice pastiche, Magic & Manners, which was not nearly as funny and yet led, ultimately, to what arguably became the theme for the panel, which was…ejaculation. o.o

(See, in Austen, people don’t ‘burst out’ with words when they speak enthusiastically. Sometimes they exclaim, but very often they ejaculate, and given the whole horny T-Rex part of the panel… yes, well, it was very funny and poor Novella was just sort of sitting there with a hand over her face while Kate and I howled with laughter. It was AMAZING.)

Seriously, though, it was a great panel; the audience had good questions, the whole thing was obviously incredibly silly, and we had a truly wonderful time. Kate and I felt like kindred spirits immediately, and just, my god, yeah, it was really fun. I’m sure I could come up with more details (actually, the Magic & Manners stuff led into a pretty good, if brief, conversation about decolonization of fantasy), and I know we made Kate read more of her T-Rex book (which is actually a post-apocalyptic story based in a lot of science, and I’m really looking forward to it), but yeah, overall, it was great.

I think we went straight to lunch after that, where Mame and his wife, Woppa Diallo, who was the other guest scholar but was unable to attend in person, gave plenary speeches that ended with me having an entire LIST of non-fiction books to read; Mame (suffering, as he was, from imposter syndrome) kept saying he hadn’t even realized he WAS a scholar, but my god, the man is incredibly well-read, well-spoken, and insightful. We should all ‘not be scholars’ like he is. He and Woppa both spoke about ‘whimsy’ in African cultures, which was so interesting I may break it out into a short blog post of its own, and just…yeah, it was great.

Friday afternoon all the GoHs had a student caucus thingy that we went to in order to be available to answer questions specifically from students. Mostly there weren’t students in attendence, but the moderator (Andrew, from yesterday’s post) was great, and we ended up having a really good discussion, some great audience questions, and hopefully some insightful stuff was said. (Mary did end up asking me if I’d considered the possibility that I’d been a shaman in a previous incarnation, so, you know, things went a lot of places in that conversation!)

Ellen (Kushner, yes yes I’m definitely name dropping) invited me out to dinner on Friday with herself and Delia, and a couple of other people, including Kate of the T-Rex story, MaryAnne Mohanraj, who ofc I knew OF (we own one of her cookbooks, in fact!) but whom I’d never actually met, and a charming man named Will whose last name I’ve forgotten but whose reading I’d enjoyed earlier in the conference. Ellen apparently has a thing about finding good places to eat that aren’t right on the conference site, and we ended up going out for an Uzbek/Turkish meal that was almost impossibly delicious. We were partway through ordering when it became clear we were going to order half the menu, and the guy taking our order said, more or less “ok but you’ve got to order the to’y osh, it’s the house special,” and upon being reassured that we intended to, we just hadn’t gotten there yet, was satisfied. :D It was a wonderful, funny, delightful evening with absurd amounts of truly delicious food, and I’m extremely grateful for it. wibbly smile

Saaaaaaturday…oh, I hung out with MaryAnne Mohanraj in the morning for a bit, and…at some point? I had another panel? I think? With the other GoHs? And it was–well, for one thing, we were asked to read, which literally none of us expected, but Mame had his award-winning short story on his phone and Mary had a copy of one of her books of poetry with her AND she had a copy of URBAN SHAMAN!!! that she plopped in front of me to sign and, as it turned out, read from. :D And after that it was a Q&A that ranged from use of time in our various pieces (AGAIN, some really INTERESTING STUFF about African perceptions of time in storytelling that could probably use a post of their own) to copaganda, which as I’ve become aware, my stuff is rife with.

I went for a little walk after that and came back into the hotel to sit down and play Pokemon in the lobby, and after a few minutes Mame came by from a walk of his own and sat and we chatted, and then MaryAnne dropped by just as he had to leave, and then just as she was leaving, someone else she knew stopped by, so I was introduced, and as SHE was leaving, someone SHE knew stopped by–it was great, I felt like I was holding court. :D

I met–ah, man, I met so many cool people. I was sitting with the head of the conference’s fairy tale division at dinner one night, and at the banquet reception on Saturday she introduced me to her fairy tale ladies, who included a real genuine fan of mine (the woman who had asked about the copaganda, which was such a good question, honestly), so we had a lovely conversation and then they invited me to be in their annual picture. Obviously I said yes, and my fan, who is short but happened to be standing right next to me, when I said, “Should the shorter people go in front?” said, “I am short but I am not going anywhere. I am never moving from this spot ever in my whole life,” which was pretty cute. laughs She kept saying she was trying REALLY HARD not to completely fall apart, and she didn’t, and she was adorable and sweet and I loved her. :)

The dinner and awards ceremony were lovely–I, as were the other GoHs, was given an honorary award from the BIPOC committee, which made me extremely emotional–and post-dinner we all went out to the pool for an after-party, where I went with the express goal of “I’ll say good night and goodbye and that’s it,” and which took longer than the 90 minutes I’d expected it to (quite a lot longer, actually), but was a wonderful way to end the conference.

I could honestly write more and more and more about it all, but post-con writeups are taking up my “ok I have no brain to write fiction with” time, and I think by tomorrow I’ll be back to Able To Write, so I probably can’t spend the rest of my life waxing lyrical about the conference. :)

Me, Mary & Mame (picture by Mame):

We had a great time. :)

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2 thoughts on “ICFA: the last two days

    1. Gah, I need to figure out how to make WordPress tell me when comments have been made! The T-Rex story was an excerpt from an unpublished novel/work in progress, so it’s not available right now, but when it BECOMES available I shall TELL EVERYONE! :D

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