John Crowley was in Seattle last weekend. On Friday night Leslie Howle arranged a dinner party for him, for which I volunteered to be the main cook; Ted Chiang and his partner showed up as well, bearing tiramisu. As you’d expect, the dinner conversation was highly sophisticated, e.g., Ted and I explaining the concept of LOLcats to John, whose studies of Western Civ had not yet led him to icanhascheezburger.com.
Then on Sunday, I got to sit in on John’s all-day seminar at Richard Hugo House. The focus was on time management in fiction, a subject I have a lot of opinions about after writing Set This House in Order. It was fun to be able to compare notes, not just with John himself, but with some of the big names in the canon—the seminar included a mini-lecture on the evolution of literary standards over the last century, and hearing how the Modernists dissed the Victorians for their supposed lack of realism reminded me of the Hard and Soft SF factions’ bickering over the relative importance of accurate physics.
Finally on Monday night, Lisa and I attended John’s reading, again at Richard Hugo House. John read from his novel-in-progress, Four Freedoms, which concerns the life and loves of a disabled man named Prosper who works at a bomber plant during World War II. The section John read, describing the events leading up to the loss of Prosper’s virginity, was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while, so hopefully the wait for the finished novel won’t be too long. In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with rereading the Ægypt series and checking the mail for my signed 25th Anniversary Edition copy of Little, Big.