Wednesday, March 07, 2001

The Word Sorceress and the Dreampop Seer.

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet the author Patricia A.. McKillip, who's written the novels _The Forgotten Beasts of Eld_, _The Book of Atrix Wolfe_, _Winter Rose_, and the Riddlemaster series, among others. She was doing a reading in conjunction with a children's retold fairytale anthology that my friend Ellen Datlow edited with Terri Winding called _A Wolf at the Door_. Tanith Lee has the titular story. McKillip's contribution was a retelling of "12 Dancing Princesses." The event was held at Books of Wonder store in Manhattan.

Other authors in attendance were Kelly Link, Michael Cadnum-, Katherine Vaz and Delia Sherman-. Jane Yolen gave the reading of the story "Cinder-Elephant," a tale that reimagines the heroine of Cinderella as a plump beauty, rather than the anorexic Ally McBeal-like blonde usually associated with the tale. I got my books signed (Forgotten Beast by McKillip and the anthology by the other authors) and hung out for a bit. I chatted with Link's Scottish boyfriend for a while-mostly about my trip to Scotland last summer-- and then with Katherine Vaz, who I'd heard of before-she has an out-of-print novel about a woman who suffers from synesthesia (tasting colors and shapes) that I've seen in used bookstores that intrigues me.

Afterwards, Ellen was kind enough to invite me out to lunch with Yolen, McKillip and her husband David Lunde. I didn't really get a chance to tell McKillip how her dreamy prose style inspired me to write my one and only fan letter to an author, and how she inspired me to pursue writing-it would have seemed to Fan Boyesque. Yolen, it turns out, taught at Smith and lives in Northampton, MA; I lived in Northampton one winter when I attended nearby Hampshire College. It was a perfect afternoon, worth the price of the train ticket and racing against an imminent snowstorm.

After I went to the reading, I visited my friend Troy and met his little demimonde. Troy is a channeller and a psychic. I have a fascination with 'seers' that appears almost everywhere in my own writing. I'd met him in the flesh during my previous trip to NYC in January, after a lengthy email correspondence about Cocteau Twins, and other dream and ethereal pop. Needless to say, we hit it off immediately-similar tastes in movies and books seem to follow as well. He copied a bunch of my CDs, and I met his arty and quirky friends. The group of us traipsed out to a Vietnamese restaurant, and returned to his 70s-themed parlor apartment and played a boardgame based on predicting your opponents' reactions to various situations.

He and his friends also introduced me to joys of listening to Golden Throats-styled musical monstrosities of the radio show Incorrect Music and the guilty pleasure of listening to shock jock Phil Hendrie freak listeners out with outrageous personas

Monday, March 05, 2001