Home Again

Posted: August 25th, 2016 under Conventions.

I survived WorldCon by not doing a lot of things I normally do  (none of the evening/night events or activities), but I made all my panels and managed a couple of dinners with friends.   Aside from that I went horizontal as much as possible.    It may or may not have fended off con crud (certainly people near me were sneezing and coughing, and I sometimes sneezed or coughed without feeling sick–the air was dry, then there were storms, then it was dry and windy.)   Interesting people met on the trains and also at the convention.   I fell madly for the nearest (fantastic!) grocery store, Consentino’s Market and wished for a fridge and a kitchenette.  Wow, the meals I could’ve cooked.  And eaten.   Amazing produce.  Amazing cheese selection.  Amazing bakery.   Amazing meats and seafood.  AND they also had hot food and made custom sandwiches and, and, and…

A good crowd at my signing and at my reading.  Full table at the kaffeeklatsch.   Generally excellent panels.    Generally excellent co-panelists, etc.,  and good folks all around.   Some lovely things in the Dealers’ Room, but I ended up with books, as usual, even though very tempted by hand-painted silk scarves.  They just weren’t the right colors for me.   Larry Smith was in good form in his “book room” and sure enough…that’s where my money went.  The KC convention center is HUGE and there was a lot of walking on hard floors, some of it at speed (some of us gave up on the green room’s allures early on because our panels were so far from it, that it was difficult to get there on time if we got to the green room at the time recommended.  This is NOT a slam at the convention, which had to work with the rooms as they were.   Just a reality we dealt with.)   The one panel I moderated really didn’t need a moderator (thank you, kind panelists.)

I was accosted after one panel by a woman who mistakenly thought I was an M.D., and told me all her reasons for anger with the medical profession in a taut, hostile voice, on and on and on (she did have a very unfortunate set of circumstances) and finally said “So YOU’RE a doctor…!” and when I said I wasn’t, she was sure I was, and I finally convinced her…and that took the wind out of her sails only briefly, because then she went on and on into other miseries of her life until finally I had to go…and seemed disappointed I couldn’t stay and let her vent more.   Sad.   Wish she’d say all that to the specific doctors she’s sure mishandled things.

Feeling tired still, so that’s all the convention report here for now, except that there were Paks fans there, and some good questions about Paksworld stuff.





  • Comment by Kaye M — August 25, 2016 @ 8:34 pm


    I’ll bet you could find a way to work that case of mistaken profession into a story. Why let it go to waste? But maybe you’d rather just forget it…I’d guess you’ve been mistaken for an MD–or a PHD–before, though.

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 26, 2016 @ 7:30 am


    Everything can be worked into a story, and that one may turn up somewhere–but they nearly always need to be aged in storage (during which they shrink, or grow, or get an interesting thread of another anecdote entwined with them, like the fungus in blue cheese, to add more flavor.) Once in the story, they need to fit the story, not the reality of the inciting incident. (Another way to look at it is they go into the Story-Soup, and are used when they’re permeated with whatever else is in that batch and rise to the surface to be scooped up by the Giant Ladle of Author.)

    I don’t think I’ve ever been mistaken for an MD before. Mostly people think I’m an English professor–or was at least an English major in college–because they think most writers are English professors, and being an English major is a prerequisite for writers who don’t make it to English prof. The ones who think I have a medical background usually assume nurse. A nurse with an English degree.

  • Comment by patricia n — August 26, 2016 @ 5:40 pm


    I had an incident recently, where a total stranger mistook me for my long dead mother.I realised that the person had problem with dementia, but it was enlightening to hear things about my mother that I never knew,some of which were hilarious.

  • Comment by Ann — August 26, 2016 @ 7:22 pm


    Glad it was a good con!

    My father and his brother, who was an MD, looked VERY much alike, and strangers were always stopping my father to tell him details of how they were getting on. He finally gave up arguing with them (they’d think they were being slighted), and would smile and make non-committal noises. If there was anything that sounded important, he’d call my uncle and tell him.

  • Comment by Susan — August 26, 2016 @ 10:43 pm


    Welcome back, and may you successfully fend off the crud! Do you ever make it as far as Seattle for conventions? (hope, hope)

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 26, 2016 @ 10:49 pm


    I have gone as far as Seattle, but I don’t know when I will again–it’s a very long flight for me, exhausting and uncomfortable. Beautiful once there. At some point maybe I could take the train out, but I’d have to have more free time than I see in the near future.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — August 29, 2016 @ 3:11 pm


    Glad you’re back.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — August 30, 2016 @ 10:02 pm


    People who bring their health issues to complete strangers – even strangers they mistakenly believe are physician – have other problems beyond those they describe.

  • Comment by R.K.Duk — August 31, 2016 @ 6:14 pm


    I wonder how many strangers she accosts every day with her unhappiness, and if it gives her some small measure of peace to do so. A good counselor would probably be more effective. It might make her easier to be around, anyway.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 1, 2016 @ 2:15 pm


    She has reasons to be stressed and unhappy (her story to tell, not mine, but I acknowledge she’s had a tough life.) But I agree that a good counselor/therapist might be able to help her deal more effectively.

    And perhaps she got some temporary relief from spouting at me. Unfortunately, I did have another meeting to attend, and I wasn’t feeling well, so I can only hope I wasn’t too brusque when I finally said I had to leave.

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — September 2, 2016 @ 12:21 pm


    A good crowd at your reading – what did you read to them?

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 2, 2016 @ 8:55 pm


    An older fantasy story–“Gifts,” from _Masters of Fantasy_. It will be in the next Paksworld collection, whenever that is (after I get past the story I have to write before November and the first draft of this book.)

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — September 5, 2016 @ 8:44 am


    It’s a lovely story.

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