Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our evening with GRRM and Connie Willis

Last night I was one of about ninety people who gathered for drinks and delicious food--lamb kebab, grilled salmon, a variety of tasty salads and pastries, and luscious fruit (the strawberries were particularly fine)--and conversation with George R.R. Martin.

I was/am extremely jet-lagged* and so not as much in the room as I would have liked. But while Kelley had to do Chair-of-Clarion-West things (being affable, enthusiastic, and magisterial by turns) I had no official role, so it was okay for me to let my mind shrink to dot and zone out occasionally.

Connie Willis has known GRRM for decades, and got him talking about all kinds of things: his Song of Ice and Fire series (the books and HBO's show), his stint in Hollywood (he wrote thirteen episodes of Beauty and the Beast), his thoughts on for-boys romance (no happy endings), and how he has over-committed to personal appearances involving travel--which is why he's not writing as fast as almost everyone wants him to.

The good news, for Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fans, is that he's learning to saying No to such requests. The bad news is that, like many writers, he fills his calendar up to three years in advance, so it will take a while to work through his commitments. So for now readers will have to content themselves with The Lands of Ice and Fire, a book of maps (Bantam, Oct 2012). There will also, at some point, be a concordance, a lush coffee-table book. One or both (sorry, told you I was tired) will include all kinds of new information on the history and backstory of countries and characters. Apparently there will actually be two competing map books but sadly I was fuzzing out at this point and can't remember who is responsible for the second. (Perhaps this man?)

Despite my woolly head I had a good time chatting to friends old and new. Apologies to all those I didn't get to, and, ah, to some of those I did: non-sequiturs are a by-product of this kind of fatigue. Food helps. I lost track of how many meals I ate yesterday. Five maybe? Most of them small, but not all...

Anyway, thanks to all those who just blinked when I blurted odd things, and brought me beer and wine and tasty nibbles. I hope to return the favour soon. And thank you to the excellent board, staff, and volunteers of Clarion West who conjured up a very smooth, expertly run, and deliciously catered event.

*For those who have never been through an 8-hour time change--or, rather, two of them in eight days--it is thoroughly disorientating and utterly exhausting. I tend to adjust at a rate of one hour a day, so won't really be back on track until the end of next week. I have no doubt that other people are better at it than me, but I've done this many, many times now and this is just how I work. The only way through it is, well, through it.
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