My social and business calendars were pretty much filled this weekend, though on Saturday it was hard to tell where business ended and social began, since it was such a mixture of both. My primary event on Saturday was the Yuletide Souls Fest at the Vicksburg Public Library. Besides the locals, William R.(Bill) Eakin had come down from Arkansas. He’s the author of Redgunk Tales and another frequent contributor to Realms of Fantasy. I hadn’t seen Bill in years and we had to mourn a bit together for magazines past.
Most of the local authors at the event belong to an organization called Imagicopter, which is a pooling of resources for promotion and the like. I’ve got a picture of their table display, and authors present included H. David Blalock, Jennifer Mulvihill, and Alexander Stephen Brown. Alex was the official organizer, but health issues put him on the sideline with emergency surgery and Jennifer took over at the last minute to keep things running smoothly. He gamely attended anyway, though was moving a bit slowly, naturally. If that had been me, I’d have been in bed for a week.
In addition to the authors, artists, paranormal group and the local CAP group (Child Abuse Prevention), there was entertainment from the magician Robert Day. I can tell you first hand, this guy is good. He did it all—close in magic, bed of nails, card tricks. He was also the best balloon artist I’ve ever seen. He made balloon figures of Santa, Spider Man, an Alien complete with transparent spacesuit, and the Starship Enterprise. I’ve included a picture of the bed of nails trick with my wife Carol assisting by standing on him. Even though—in theory—I know how that one works, no way I’d try it. Carol announced that she was standing on him “for all women everywhere.”
We had to cut out an hour or so early because a friend was celebrating her birthday and we all went out as a group to see the Mississippi Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker. I have to tell you, I am not now nor have I ever been a huge fan of ballet. Nothing against ballet, just not my thing. (Also not a big football fan, which around here is tantamount to blasphemy). I have to say, watching the dancers perform live gave me a much greater appreciation for the technical skills of the dancers and the difficulty of what they’re doing. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s a beautiful art form, but as a storytelling medium it kinda sucks. If you didn’t already know the story, sussing it out from watching the ballet probably wasn’t gonna happen.
Now we’re into Sunday, and another first for me. Previous night was ballet, and Sunday morning I was privileged to watch the Change of Command ceremony of the MS Air National Guard. Not the kind of thing I’d normally attend, but we were invited because the new Commander is a friend and client of my wife’s, and said friend was both assuming command and being promoted to Major General (Yes, she is the Very Model of a Modern Major General. Sorry, couldn’t resist). As a writer, naturally, I found the process fascinating. The ritual, the broad mix of the formal military and the personal. Even while I was watching, part of me was filing it all away for future reference. It’s just how the mind works.
Finished off the day with a pasta sauce tasting party at a friend’s house, meeting their new kitten, Lily, and learning a new card game, “Phase 10,” and playing way too late for someone who had to get up before 7Am the following day. I enjoyed the weekend, but I can’t have too many like that. Weekends are generally exhausting enough.
I greatly enjoyed meeting you and your lovely wife. I have also greatly enjoyed reading Hereafter and After, which is brilliant, and am nearly done with The Long Look. Your writing reminds me so much of John Brunner’s work I find it hard to differentiate the two (and Brunner is one of my all-time favorite authors). I look forward to seeing you again at another event. Have a wonderful holiday season and a wildly successful 2012.
Thanks! It was great to meet you too. Very glad you liked HaA; it’s a favorite of mine.