Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The World I Used To Know

I have been in the UK for a week now.  So much has changed in the last 14 years...I barely recognize London, with all its new modern glass-enshrouded buildings.  Even the Tower of London has changed.  There are parts of the various towers which are now open, closed on my prior visits, and the White Tower is filled with exhibits, and not just a place to wander about and seek history on one's own, but a carefully laid out tour, as well as a place in which garbed historical recreationists wander, trying to bring a sense of history to the various tourists.

It was in one of the rooms of the White Tower that I happened to run into one of my readers, a very nice, very tall young man called Simon, who was as surprised to run into his favorite author as I was surprised and delighted to find such a dedicated fan.

As a dedicated reader and fan myself of many authors, I had made various pilgrimages myself in the prior few days, first to the grave of J. R. R. Tolkien in Oxford, then to Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford and various other sites associated with his life.  I also had the rare privilege of seeing David Tennant perform in Richard II, a fantastic production with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Today is a day of rest, and tomorrow I head to Brighton for the World Fantasy Convention.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ten Days and Counting

Ten days from now I will be boarding the airplane.  Ten days from now I will be all packed, all sorted out and ready for the trip to the UK for three weeks of research, fun and most important, the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England, where I will be doing readings from my novels on Thursday, 31 October from 3:30 - 4:00 PM at the wonderful Hotel Metropole at which the convention is being held.

It has been nearly twenty years since last I saw Brighton, and the friends I visited there have long since passed on, but I remember the place as clearly as if it were yesterday.  I can still feel the sharp cut of the wind off the ocean and smell the salt air.  Lovely place, Brighton.  I do hope I get to see some of it besides the hotel, but then there is a lot more to this trip than the 5 days in the Hotel.

And there is a lot to do before I leave.  I still have things to write, lists to make, clothes to sort, and cats to cajole into being good while we're gone, and I think the toughest part of the trip is going to be not having them around.  We have someone staying at the house to feed them and watch them and everything else while we're away, and I even plan to do the morning ritual on tape so she can play it to them before they are let outside to play.

It is called "The Good Sweet", from the opening line in which they are admonished:
Be good, be sweet.  Stay out of the street.  Don't go near anything with a mouth bigger than yours.  Don't go near anything with claws bigger than yours.  Don't get into anyone's house or garage or patio or storage area or trash cans or boxes.  Don't get into anyone's car or van or motorhome or mobile home or truck or trailer or boat.  Don't go near anything with a motor or an engine or anything than makes a loud noise. Don't let anyone you don't know pick you up.  Don't take food from anyone you don't know.  Don't eat bees; don't eat spiders; don't eat lizards; don't eat birdies.  Don't bring bee or spiders or lizards or birdies into the house.  Leave the creeping, crawling, flying things alone.  No fighting, keep your fur clean, and most of all know I love each and every one of you very, very , very much....and come home when you are called.

Pretty good advice for anyone.  I hope they listen to it, even if it's a disembodied voice on a tape recorder.