Monday, August 18, 2008

2 Writers, 1.05 Musicians, and 3 Things to Say

Saturday, Marianne and I went to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, where we briefly ran across our friend Janis Ian twice, got her to sign her autobiography, Society's Child (halfway through, and so far terrific), promised to get together with her after her autographing session, and the way these things work out, never saw her again.  So all the wonderful, wise things she might have said are not available for me to blog.  Leaving me only three things to say:

1.  I assume that everybody reading this knows that Janis Ian is also a science fiction writer.  But did you know that back in my youth I was a singer-songwriter?  Swear to God.  The three-by-five card with the list of songs taped to the side of the guitar, the unpaid gigs in church basement coffee houses, the sullen attitude, the whole nine yards.  It was kind of mandatory back then.

And what did I sound like?  Friends, you will never know.

2.  Just in case Janis Ian has a Google Alert thing going:  Janis, the story I promised to tell you when we had time can be found on my blog here.  You now have a Kevin Bacon Number of three.

3.  I have one good old story to tell.  Some time ago, Greg Frost and I were having dinner with Janis Ian when something one of us said caused to exclaim in astonishment, "Writers have even bigger egos than musicians do!"

We both nodded complacently.  "Of course," Greg said.

And I explained, "Musicians have to be able to play well with others."

And As Always . . .

I've updated my other blogs.  In Pastor Marcia's Journal, Marcia relates her last day in camp.  And in Poem du Jour, I use Sir Thomas Wyatt to demonstrate the primary purpose of poetry.  It has nothing to do with self-expression.




Adam said...

Hey Michael,

Just wanted to say that I think you're one of the most original and important science fiction authors of our time. Perhaps the best science fiction author alive today.

Several of your novels and short stories are under-appreciated masterpieces. And I say that as someone who is fully versed in the literature of the genre (and outside it).

I truly don't know whether your work would some day receive the appreciation it deserves, but at least among some of us readers, you will occupy your rightful place among the titans of the science fiction and fantasy genre.

specifically, I wanted to praise The Iron Dragon's Daughter and Vacuum Flowers.

Haven't read The Dragons of Babel and Stations of the Tide yet, but I will soon.

Among your short stories, "Hello" Said the Stick and The Dog Said Bow-Wow (sorry I couldn't mention some more unique / obscure choices, these truly are my favorites.


Michael Swanwick said...

Well, God bless you for saying so, Adam.

My personal favorites are always the unpopular ones. I figure they need the extra love.

Incidentally, "'Hello,' Said the Stick" is my Larry Niven pastiche. Easiest story I ever wrote; I just asked myself, "How would Niven handle this?" and the answer was obvious. The man has a special brilliance for plot.