Monday, July 18, 2005

Good times in Tulsa

Back from Conestoga. My first panel wasn't until 4 p.m. Saturday, so I had plenty of time to travel. I left Saturday morning and got there about 1 p.m. Checked in, got organized in the Green Room, and went to three panels before mine.
The panel on Writer's Block was well attended - maybe 50 people there. All the panelists showed up, too; Caroline Spector, C.J. Mills, Deborah Leblanc and Richard Cox. I kept my watch on the table and tried to keep things running smoothly.
Things went well. Everyone had some useful tips and insights. Afterwards, a few of the bystanders complimented me.
The last thing for the day was Brad Denton's reading. He took the full hour, but it was fun. He was reading from his forthcoming book "Laughing Boy".
It was very much a black comedy, and I told Brad afterwards that while he was a great writer and loads of fun, I could never write what he does.
The same goes for Joe Lansdale, I added.
I'd been feeling puny all week long - I think I had some reaction to the Chinese food I at the previous Monday in San Marcos - or maybe I caught a germ - so I left and checked into a nearby Motel 6 (not the host Sheraton Tulsa - thereby saving $40) and was asleep by 8:30 p.m.
I didn't realize until the next morning that as a bunch of us were leaving Brad's reading, Brad and Howard and Jayme and others were all planning to go eat at a rib joint. They turned around and didn't see me, never realizing no one had actually mentioned any plans. Since I wasn't staying at the Sheraton, they couldn't find me. Oh, well. I needed the rest anyway.
The next morning I ran into Howard and we went across the street to get some breakfast. I wanted so eat in the supermarket, but Howard wanted to get back to the hotel because he was still writing a story he was planning to read at closing that day.
I went back with my coffee and some bagels, planning to eat in the Green Room. I took the lid off the coffee because I had forgotten to sweeten it, and at this point, I guess I was so shaky because of the diabetes that when I went to put the lid back on, I tipped the (large ) cup completely over.
Not only did it completely drench the table top, when the cup toppled the coffee shot straight across the table and into the lap of another guest sitting there. God almighty, I felt so bad. The poor young lady was drenched in coffee.
It took some time to mop up the table and I left for my 10 a.m. panel with the young lady trying to dry herself off.
The moral is, I guess, if I feel shaky in the morning, eat and drink right away.
I sat through the 10 a.m. panel rather stunned. Afterwards one of the convention organizers commented I didn't say much. Oh, heck.
My noon reading was opposite the reading by the Guest of Honor, George R.R. Martin. I had a very selected audience, but I read "Circe in Vitro" and "I Got You". What audience there was enjoyed it, and it certainly was good practice.
I hit the dealers' room after that I picked up three old hardcovers for $3. I was extremely happy to find a copy of the Alfred Bester collection "Starlight".
It's out of print, and had his best stories. Bester also wrote an introduction to each story, as well as an introduction.
Attended more panels, and then Howard's reading that ended the shebang. Didn't stay for the closing ceremonies. I was on the road by 4 p.m. and back home by 8:30. Slept like a rock.

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