A few weeks on from WHC (you can tell I’m trying to spin out the blogging potential of the event for as long as possible, can’t you?) and details of the weekend have become hazy. But I think the Friday went something like this –
Sell books. Attend panel. Sell books. Attend panel. Sell books. Attend panel. Nod, smile, suck back energy drinks and pop caffeine pills and try to pretend I’m not half dead from jet lag. According to my cryptic-in-retrospect notes, I attended the “Why Write Short Stories?” panel, the “New Blood” panel and Joe Hill’s Guest of Honour Q & A. My unhelpful answer to the first question is “Because I wanna”, but a panellist made the more useful observation that the e-book reader has prompted a resurgence of the short story. E-book owners are often quite happy to download a short story for 99 cents, making the writing of them a more financially lucrative undertaking. Similarly, e-books have raised the popularity of the novella.
In my notebook under “New Blood”, I have written just one phrase – “Avoid Backward Steps”. It sounded good at the time, but now I have little recollection of the context. Good advice on what to do if you are standing with your heels on the edge of a cliff, perhaps?
Joe Hill’s session was so much fun, I bought his short story collection “20th Century Ghosts” (I’m halfway through reading it now) and his novel “Horns” on my Kindle as soon as the session was over. He did a kick-ass reading from a forthcoming novel and spoke about the myriad of projects in which he is currently involved. Like DCP’s own John Prescott, the man must never sleep. He said that Shia LaBoeuf has been cast as the lead in the movie adaptation of “Horns”, which will present me with a dilemma when it comes out, as I am now such a big fan of Joe Hill but have always been such an anti-fan of Shia LaBoeuf.
All of the above must was of secondary importance to the members of DCP. Friday night was launch party night. Our support crew, Bev and Fay, had been like swan’s feet, paddling furiously all day out of sight preparing for the party while we sailed serenely about the convention. In our exuberance we had neglected to attend to a few minor details, such as how to transport a whole pile of guests from the Doubletree Hotel to the riverside in Austin Central (a quick rummage through Sylvia’s and my purses and we were able to scrounge up the cash for taxis). We almost didn’t succeed in transporting ourselves there; John and his carload were delayed collecting provisions at Whole Foods, while those of us in David’s car were dismayed to find ourselves stuck in traffic behind a horse and cart.
But with minutes to spare, we had ourselves, our guests, our food and our drinks safely stowed on a Capital Cruises
boat, ready to set sail under the Congress Avenue bridge to witness the dusk flight of thousands of Mexican free-tail bats. We had a balmy Texas spring evening. We had the picturesque Austin skyline. We had good food, good company, and cold drinks. In lieu of background music, we had the inspiring tones of Mr Wayne June narrating excerpts from all our books. We had the slight risk of a face full of bat guano any time we poked our heads out from under the boat canopy.
And we had the Best. Cake. Ever.