Monday, August 06, 2007
Back Home, Sans Lion
We're back in Reno now. I did not, alas, get to bring home one of the fabulous lion statuettes (miniature replicas of the New York Public Library lions) with which Mythopoeic winners are presented. Patricia McKillip's Solstice Wood won. It's a beautiful book -- and there's certainly no shame in losing to McKillip! -- but I can't pretend I'm not disappointed. As people kept kindly reminding me, though, just being on that ballot really was an honor, given who else was there.
And a lot of people, including members of the awards committee, told me they loved The Necessary Beggar. There's a weighted voting system, and evidently they didn't know ahead of time who'd gotten the award. Several committee members told me they'd expected me to win, presumably because they'd put the book in first place. David Bratman, the chair of the convention, came up to me after the ceremony and said, "I'm sorry you won't get to take home a lion, but I hope you're having a good time at the conference anyway." I had a fabulous time at the conference -- the most enjoyable I've ever attended! -- and I told him so. It really draws a diverse group of people who are working on fascinating projects (at least, fascinating if you're a Tolkien/Inklings geek). I don't know if I'll be able to go next year, since it's later in August and in Connecticut, which is an awfully long trip to make right before the start of the semester, but I plan to attend as many as I can from now on.
It helped that the membership was really small, under 200, and that we all ate our meals together in a cafeteria. We got to know people quickly, and I left feeling like I'd made new friends. And it helped that we got to spend time with old friends, Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. Ellen presented the literature -- as opposed to scholarship -- awards last night, and this morning she joined us at breakfast and told me, "You have no idea how much I hated having to make that announcement last night." (I don't think this in any way reflects her opinion of McKillip's novel; she just hoped that she'd get to give the lion to me, since we've known each other since 1984.) Instead, she gave me a "consolation prize" of a CD by Broceliande, who treated us to a fabulous concert after the awards ceremony. Gary and I had bought two CDs and Ellen gave us one, so now we have three!
Gary and I had an agreement before Mythcon that if I didn't win, he'd get me a consolation lion. (I coveted the lion as soon as I saw a photo of the award, possibly because one of my childhood fanfic fantasies involved Aslan and Elsa, the lioness from Born Free, mating and having cubs.) One of the conference organizers told Gary at breakfast that the award statuettes are in fact purchased from the NYPL Gift Shop, so I suspect that I may be acquiring one soon.
It's good to be home with our three living, miniature lions . . . but I can't believe that classes start in three weeks, and that I'm teaching my med-school seminar a week from tomorrow! Eeep!