Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Single Best Advice I Ever Received on Being a Toastmaster


Connie Willis, fresh from winning the Nebula for best novel and modest as ever, apologized to me because she thought the advice she'd given me when I called hat in hand wasn't very good.

Au contraire.  Her advice was the foundation of my toastmastery and the reason it went well.  She said many wise and helpful things, but the very best was this:  "Keep it moving."

Afterward, a lot of folks congratulated me on what a good job I'd done.  (Though the credit was really due to the presenters and receivers of the awards, not a one of whom overstayed his or her welcome, and to a crowd-pleasing speech by Michael Dirda.)  And not a one of them said they wished I'd talked more.

And it was an awfully pleasant weekend . . .

I got to hang out with Paolo Bacigalupi and Paul Park and (one of my favorite people in the world) Ellen Asher.  I met John Scalzi for the first time and the artist whose work every genre writer most wants on the cover of the next book, Michael Whelen.  I spent time with Sheila WilliamsStan Schmidt said that I might want to consider writing him another story sometime.  "Maybe I will," I said happily.  I saw my pal John Kessel after far too long an absence.  On his way offstage from presenting one of the awards, Joe Haldeman murmured a witticism that, despite my best efforts to stay professional, cracked me up.  And so it went, through a list of friends and colleagues too long to mention.

Cat Rambo was inexplicably absent, which was a pity because I wanted to get her to autograph her  collection, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight.  Cat was one of my students at Clarion West, which means there's a good chance she has one of my books signed with the inscription I reserve for gonnabe writers:  The next book you can autograph for me.

And elsewhere on the Web . . .

To celebrate the publication of my vastly entertaining novel Dancing With Bears, my second Darger & Surplus story, "The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport," has been posted online at io9.

You can read it here.  Enjoy.


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