Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Thursday, 03 June 2004

[I didn't get this finished in time to post before we left on our vacation a day earlier than planned, but I wrote most of this at the time, so I'm going ahead and posting it for that date.]

The reading at Quimby's was great fun.

Jackie and I drove to Chicago on Tuesday. I dislike driving in Chicago--the freeways are as busy as in Los Angeles, but people in Chicago don't drive as well. I hadn't thought about it, but I realized that this was the first time I'd driven to Chicago in 12 years--the last time was when we met Barbara there so they could go shopping for Jackie's wedding dress. (We've been to Chicago in the meantime, but we usually take the train.)

Everything with smoothly, though, and we arrived early enough to have plenty of time to walk around the neighborhood, get rained on, have an early dinner to get out of the rain, and shop at Quimby's before the reading. (Jackie found a zine called Slave to the Needle where the cover art shows a woman knitting. She also bought me a copy of The Escapist.)

I'd met Trey twice before, so it was good to have a chance to talk to him for a while. He introduced me to Hannah Wolf Bowen and David J. Schwartz. Gavin Grand and Kelly Link showed up a bit after them. It was great to see Kelly again, and to meet Gavin.

As soon as Gavin heard that my story timed out at less than 5 minutes, he decided he wanted me to read first. I wasn't really nervous about the reading itself--those practice readings that Rick Polney arranged at Clarion had given me some confidence, and I'd read the story aloud to Jackie twice--but I would have been happier to have had someone else to set an example about where to stand (there was no podium), and whether to introduce the story or just start reading, and whether to ask for questions after.

So, winging it, I gave a very short intro, mentioning how the flier had talked about me speaking Esperanto, but that I'd be reading a story in English (Gavin made a relieved sound), and talking about how I'd not yet come up with a good idea for an sf story in English that featured Esperanto in some big way. Then I read my story, and sat down without asking for questions.

I was really pretty oblivious to the audience while I was reading. (I looked up at them, but didn't really observe them.) Jackie tells me that they seemed to enjoy it--laughing at the right times and such.

After me Trey read a fragment from an upcoming LCRW and Hannah from the same issue my story had been in. David read a short, funny story about the what happens when heaven decides to try outsourcing.

After that, Gavin and Kelly took several of us out to dinner at a noodle place next door to Quimby's. So, I not only did my first public reading, I also got my first meal paid for by my publisher! I feel so writerly now.

This journal entry is getting finished late. The drive home from Chicago, leaving after our second dinner, took us until 1:00 AM. Wednesday I was too tired to stay up and write it. Apologies for any anachronisms.

Due to tiredness, busyness, and the need to prepare for our trip, I didn't get around to to booking a racquetball court and lining up an opponent for this evening. So, while Jackie attended her class, I brought my laptop to the Fitness Center and did a bit of writing.

Remember that project I was working so hard on all winter? Well, my employer hired a filmmaker to make an "independent" video that featured the phone. Most of the film has been posted (all but the exciting conclusion, which won't be released until the phone is). It's really a long ad for the phone, but I enjoyed it. You get to see a couple of the features I worked on!


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