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Willing to learn

Just got back from a quick trip to Seattle for a multitude of festivities.

The first was the Locus Awards, which are the Cinderella of the SF&F awards. The prettier, more well-known step-sisters, Hugo and Nebula get more attention, but the Locus Awards are unique in that the winners are chosen by readers—the People’s Choice Awards, if you will. Plus the dress code consists of gaudy Hawaiian shirts (extra points given for actual retinal damage).

As my friend Timm and I walked from the car to the hotel where the awards were held, people on the street stopped us and asked, “Are you here for the Gay Pride Parade?” And whipped out their cameras.

Granted, Timm has long hair and was wearing a Utilikilt, but still. He said, “Um, no.”

I quoted Harold Ramis in Stripes and said, “No, but we are willing to learn.”

They didn’t seem convinced, “Can we still take your picture anyway?”

So if you see us on the cover of Instinct magazine, would you drop the editorial staff a note to clear up the confusion?


The awards themselves were like none other I’d been to. There was singing of British poetry to the rhyme of Gilligan’s Island. There was a trivia contest. There was a raffle, which I won (but didn’t claim, since I already owned one of the books).

And of course there were fine authors in attendance, including Nancy Kress, Connie Willis, and Neil Gaiman, along with readers, and Clarion West workshoppers.

Shortly after the awards we all traipsed over to the Science Fiction Museum for the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which was like drowning in awesomness—especially Neil’s acceptance of behalf of an ailing Harlan Ellison. His speech was actually a short, meta-fiction story about he and Harlan in Paris in 1923, butting heads with the likes of Gertrude Stein, which he brilliantly read aloud. Everyone felt like they had witnessed something very special, very unique, in a story that would never be read again.

Harlan would have been gushingly proud.

(Plus it was delightful to meet Neil in a small, intimate venue, rather than fight the crowds at his Seattle Town Hall book event the next night amid thousands).


The following morning I popped over to the Richard Hugo House for a workshop on Romantic Comedy with Connie Willis (who is hilarious, in addition to being a genius).

It was a strange indulgence to go in with “Jamie” on my name card, somewhat disguised as an aspiring writer (I still aspire, don’t you?) but I didn’t want to mention that um…I’ve kinda sold a LOT of books, and be a distraction to the class in any way. (That came later when I had to sneak out and meet with a book group downstairs).

Needless to say, I loved the class. It was kismet that I left for the airport and the first song on the radio was Silly Love Songs. Speaking of which here’s a Kindle blog post.

Also, HOTEL was named Book O’ The Week by some lovely folks in the UK.

And a group of 7th graders put together this delightful Prezi slideshow entitled, "I AM."


Now it’s back to my Sisyphean rewrites.

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Reader Comments (2)

Can I just say that I LOVE that you took a class? It really says a lot about you as a person and as a writer. That it was a class on romantic comedy is just icing on the cake. :)
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristan
You never stop learning as a writer. Workshops just expedite the process. :)

I think of it in terms of professional boxers that travel the world and train with others, rather than sit and pound a heavy bag at home.
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

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