Friday, April 29, 2016

Give In To Your Better Impulses


To be a science fiction writer is to leave your mind open to vagrant thoughts and impulses -- some good, some bad. Mostly, I manage not to give in to my bad impulses, thought some of them are damnably clever, and this has worked out well for me. As witness the fact that I am not one of the most hated men in science fiction.

But sometimes I resisted good impulses, usually through cheapness or laziness.

Back in the 1980s, it was very common for button-makers to set up business in convention huckster rooms with buttons bearing slogans like FRODO LIVES! or IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU FART. But they would also make buttons on the spot featuring slogans that had just occurred to you.

I was at a Worldcon and had just been talking with James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel when I saw such a vender and had a sudden impulse to buy eight or nine buttons reading GRAND MASTER OF THE FUTURE to hand out to my pals, all new and largely ignored writers. Jim and John would have gotten one, as would Bruce Sterling and Nancy Kress. Plus a few others.

One of whom would definitely have been Connie Willis.

The day it was announced that Connie was receiving the Grand Master Award, I regretted my laziness and cheapness in no having those buttons made. It would have been a hoot to have a photo of Connie with the button. And I could have sent her a new button (presuming I could find someone to make it) reading GRAND MASTER OF THE PRESENT to replace the one she almost certainly would have lost or thrown away decades before.

Ah, well. I missed my chance. But don't you make the same mistake I did. Always give in to your better impulses.

Above: Connie Willis, Grand Master of the Future, Present, and Past. I'm pretty sure you're given time-traveling powers along with the award.


1 comment:

Kevin Cheek said...

Actually, I believe Connie Willis has granted all of us time travelling powers.