Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wiscon # 1

I am back from the Wisconsin science fiction convention.Taken all in all, it was wonderful. The two guests of honor were Timmi Duchamp and Maureen McHugh, who are people I really like and respect. Wiscon does a really good job of picking guests, but having two of my favorite people as guests was special.

It's also, for me, an intense experience. A lot of the people attending are people I really like and see once a year, so when I get a chance to talk with them, I do. This means more socializing that I usually feel comfortable doing; and I always feel I have missed the chance to have some really interesting conversations. Afterward, I remember a remark someone made and think, "I wish I'd had time to follow up. I should have made time to follow up."

This is one reason why cons are exhausting for me. I am trying to create the perfect con experience, where everything happens and happens perfectly, instead of relaxing and figuring, there are people I won't get to see or will see only briefly. Some panels will go well. Others will not work. So what? The point is, to enjoy the con and drink less coffee. Leave a little on the plate. Enjoy the beauty of things are that imperfect and incomplete.

In some ways the high point was the trip home, when I was finally beginning to unwind. Patrick and I drive highway 12, which is a two lane that parallels I-94, going through small towns, farmland, forest and marsh. Going through one small town, I saw an Northern Oriel fly across the road in front of us, a flash of orange and black. That was neat. Even neater was the porcupine we saw crossing the road. I love porcupines, and I rarely see them. We passed the porcupine, then Pat did a u-turn and drove back. In spite of their motion, which is a ridiculous waddle, porcupines move fairly quickly. We were in time to see it reach the far side of the road and move into the grass. Then it sat down and scratched its chin with a rear paw, then got up and waddled into the forest. We didn't have time to get out cameras. The best we could have gotten would have been the south end of a porcupine going north.

Would I rather see a porcupine than go to Wiscon? No. But I got both, and the large, prickly, funny-looking rodent was the icing on the cake.


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