Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Poppy Dennison, lovely as always.

Okay– so  not so long ago, I actually wrote a pretty filthy parody to that story– you can find it here if you like, but suffice it to say that when you change the name to Oh, the Orifices You’ll Go, no good can come of it.  (Okay. That’s a whole other pun.  Go there if you must.)

But this last week, in Chicago, I’ve been thrilled to go other places, and, I’ve also been thrilled to, in some instances, stay put.  It’s another one of those cases where there’s almost too much to talk about to even make any sense.

Andrew and Paul–
Shopping with a difference!

One of the best things about conferences and conventions, of course, is meeting people who do the same thing you do and getting to talk about that voodoo that you doo.  (As my parents said when they met Andrew Grey, they were finally convinced that I’d been working with real people and not imaginary friends for the last nearly four years.  That was reassuring.)  I’m lucky enough to not only know but also adore and worship the staff at Dreamspinner, so I got to see and hug and generally be a nuisance to all of them as well, and this meant that my happiness in this lovely city was not contingent upon exploring it any more.

Considering the fact that it’s been trying to kill us all dead, I think that was an excellent headspace to be in!

You can’t see it, but that’s snow.
And there’s snow here too.

Seriously– the weather has been a factor.  The storms that have flooded much of the midwest were making arrivals difficult and iffy, and the number of people who have arrived late after eight or ten hours of layovers and redirects has been boggling.  Of course what really boggles me is that they’ve all come in with a tired smile on their faces, as happy to be here as I am.  I work with some pretty awesome people, you know that?  (That didn’t stop us all from hugging the holy hell out of Ariel Tachna when she walked in after a ten hour redirect to St. Louis– I’ve never seen someone who needed a hug, and a hot shower, and something to eat, in any order, so much in my life!)

Snow.  In April.  I’m  not even

And once the weather behaved (HA!  As IF!  We had sunshine yesterday– I texted Mate about it, and he sent back, We had that once last week.  I wonder if they only get it once a week.)  But once the weather behaved, people got to go out and explore the city.  Actually, I explored the city a little more, with Andrew, cover artist Paul Richmond, his fiancĂ© Dennis, and Harmony Ink dominatrix Nessa Warrin.  I’m not much of an Armani Exchange shopper myself, but watching the men in action with Nessa made me want to drag them all to a Catherine’s and say, “Hey.  Be honest.  Is this thing as flattering to fat women as they keep saying it is?”

It was a fun day, and I got to see the Trib building up close and personal, which is something I’d missed when I’d been on the trolley tours with Mate and the kids.

Elizabeth, being fabulous.

Of course the conference actually started, and there was only good things after that.  I write for a wonderful, professional, visionary company–I’m not going to lie.  There were seminars on maximizing your internet presence which, for the new folks, would be invaluable.  There was a seminar on how to write sex scenes (which I missed, alas) and a seminar on what constitutes a YA book.  (Surprisingly enough, lack of sex was not part of it.  This makes me want to jump up and down and stick my tongue out to certain education professionals in a certain district in California, but I’m way too Zen for that.)

There were states of the state addresses which, again, makes me think my company has its shit together in amazing ways.  The translation program and the audio book program are both boggling and visionary.  The attention to detail, the quality of staff–I’m so proud to write for these people.  You have no idea.

Knitting?  But of course!
Paul dressed as Amazing.

But, as much fun as it has been, I couldn’t make it without my knitting.  I managed to finish a pair of fingerless gloves right when my old pair disappeared, which is great, because Madison Parker and I went wandering after dinner.  For the record, it was 37 degrees F, and I was wearing my alpaca cape and my fingerless gloves, and Madison was wearing the Daria coat (thank you, Chicken, I’ll think of it that way always) and my King’s hat, and we had one of those stunning nights out that can only happen by accident.  We wandered in a couple directions, crossed the river, and I showed her the Tribune building and told her everything I’d learned about Chicago.  Since she was a late arrival, and is going to leave this morning, this was her one chance to explore the city, and I got to be her guide.  It was sort of amazing and awesome, and she was excellent company.

And we came back to the hotel, and found Paul Richmond, like this.  He and Dennis were going to go to a drag show, but Dennis was under the weather, so he took the drag show to Dennis.

I think this is sort of awesome.  It’s one of the things that makes me so glad to be here.  How could you not be thrilled to know people like this?

But still, tomorrow, I go home.  I am more than ready.  But it’s been a lovely trip.

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