This was the day we packed out. There was a 14-hour drive back to Seattle that needed to start early, so we debated whether or not to go to the panels that morning. Eventually we decided we should, as Jessie said that it was the panel that she most wanted to go to, and I was eager to stay as long as possible.

How Many Roads? (Reading multiple-viewpoint stories): A great panel, led by L. Kimmel Duchamp, with LeGuin, Vylar Kaftan, and others on the panel. Very informative, with lots of good points about both reading and writing multiple viewpoint stories. Best line of the con was Kaftan, discussing the difficulty of describing a first-person viewpoint character: “Nobody looks at themselves in the mirror and thinks about what they look like. But if you do, come up and talk to me afterwards, because I want to put you into a story.”

Driving home: Did I mention that I got a ticket on the way down to CA for going 90 mph in a 65 mph zone? Anyway, as we’re driving home, we pull into a gas station and at the pump next to us is the same cop that pulled me over. He was in his civilian clothes filling up his truck… just where we happened to pull in. He refrained from getting us another ticket, but he did wink at me as I was coming out of the bathroom, which creeped me out.

We got in at about 2am, and promptly collapsed into bed. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic weekend, though.

(I’ve been incredibly busy for the last several days, so I haven’t had time to blog anything. So this Potlatch follow-up post is late. Sorry!)

Potlatch day two is the main day of programming, and I spent most of the day going to panels and listening to interesting people speak. The main attraction, of course, was Ursula K. LeGuin, who spoke on many panels, and was spoken of on many more. I managed to wrangle a book-signing and a photograph out of her!

The programming for the day can be found on this page. Here’s some brief thoughts on each panel:

Graphic Novels: not something that I’m all that interested in myself, but I was surprised and delighted to see LeGuin leading it. I learned lots about the history and current trends in graphic novels and comics, and saw panels from some very nice webcomics.

The Scalzi Rule: So our little panel attracted the attention of the great John Scalzi himself! I didn’t stay for the whole thing, as I had to go out for lunch, but this was an interesting panel of con etiquette, and what to do about That Guy. You know, the one who wants to soapbox and won’t shut up. I suggested that the Scalzi Rule was appropriate, even necessary for large groups, which garnered lots of disagreement.

Lunch: Delicious sushi with a childhood friend who lives in the Bay Area!

Good Reads: Got only the tail end, because of aforementioned lunch.

Ursula LeGuin’s reading from Always Coming Home: Exceptional. The readings were fine, and the questions were surprisingly insightful and interesting. The last question, about hope, was so inspiring and appropriate to end the reading that I could hardly believe that it wasn’t planned.

Poetry Reading: Entitled Invocation Against Entropy: A Chiastic Farrago of Poetry from John M. Ford and Ursula K. LeGuin. This was the surprise hit of the con, for me. I have little ear for poetry and low expectations from readings. But this was organized into a quasi-dramatic presentation, with gorgeous writing, good readers, and a beautiful chiastic structure.

Auction: Led by Jay Lake and… somebody whose name I really should remember but can’t right now. Entertaining, but I didn’t buy anything.

Scotch tasting: Not an official event, but a Potlatch tradition and a great time nonetheless. This was the best conversation I had the whole con, covering Gene Wolfe, cruelty and beauty, scifi bookstores, and intelligent moles.

I’ll have the brief recap of day three up this evening. Hopefully.

I’m in the lobby of the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, California, during the lunch break between morning and evening sessions. Yesterday, Larisa and I drove down from Seattle with our friends Jessie and Rob, who form part of my real-life writing group. Actually, Jessie and Rob did most of the driving. I got a ticket for going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone, after which they didn’t let me drive any more.

Potlatch has Books of Honor, rather than guests of honor, and the Books of Honor this year are Always Coming Home by Ursula K. LeGuin and Growing Up Weightless by John C. Maxwell. As I mentioned a few days ago, Always Coming Home is one of my favorite novels, and getting to be here to discuss the book and meet LeGuin was one of my major reasons for coming. So far, it’s been completely justified. During last night’s discussion of Always Coming Home we heard some great comments, and I raised a point that elicited response from LeGuin herself. (She wasn’t actually on the panel, by her own wishes, but she spoke from the audience.) Afterwards I was able to talk to her for a few minutes at the con suite, where I did not actually pee my pants and squeal like a fanboy. I said a few things which may even have included complete sentences! And I got a good answer to my question, and learned something I didn’t know.

Most surprising thing about LeGuin: she’s light-hearted and jocular. (And not as old as I thought she was–only turning eighty this year.)

I just got back from Potlatch 17. This was my first con. Conveniently, it was held right here in Seattle. It was also conveniently awesome.

I don’t think that I could do justice to it in prose, actually. Until this weekend I had never met a single SFF writer in person, except for once seeing Ursula K. LeGuin at a reading. This weekend I was plunged into a sea of seasoned pros, newly-published young writers, and hopeless wannabes like me. I was suddenly and unexpectedly surrounded by people with the same interests, the same experiences, and the same aspirations as me. It was literally a revelation. On Friday night, I was literally shaking when I went to bed; Saturday morning I woke up dreaming about the evening before.

I’m still very much on a high. Enough of a high that I spontaneously started a blog :).

I’m not going to try to recap the actual content of the weekend. But these were the Hopeless Wannabes, the people that I actually hung out with most of the weekend (all unpublished writers, for the most part):

  • Jessie Kwak, making us “Jessie and Jesse” for the whole conference
  • C.S. Inman aka Sän, who said nice but completely untrue things about me on his blog
  • Elizabeth Coleman
  • Eva Folsom (no site?)
  • Natasha Oliver (also no site)
  • Jennifer Hopkins (no site–seriously people, get with the times. If Google doesn’t know about you, then you don’t exist.)
  • Brian LeBlanc

And here were the Big Important Authors that I spoke to. There were many more authors than this at the con, of course, but these were the ones that I actually talked to and who might actually remember me.

I’m going to be building a blogroll with these people and others soon.