Monday, May 27, 2002
So half-way through Saturday I decided, on the spur of the moment, to take Maddy to a giant indoor swimming park called the Kalahari, in the Wisconsin Dells. The Dells is a natural beauty spot, in which the strangest assemblage of tourist tat imaginable has been assembled. Maddy strongly believes that the Kalahari is the most wonderful place on Earth. I'd never been there with her, and decided it was time. So I packed a bunch of audio tapes and off we went. On the way there and back we listened to Round the Horne tape 13, and Lemony Snicket Book 1 read by Tim Curry, and Every Tongue Wants to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston (which I'd read but wanted very much to hear, suspecting, as it turned out correctly, that a lot of the impact of the stories and folk tales and jokes would be in the telling).

Maddy loves waterparks, has been taken to the Kalahari several times before and is, as I said, of the opinion that it is the best place in the world. I'd never been there before. On due reflection, I think you need to be seven to feel that the Kalahari is the most wonderful place on Earth. But she was happy.

I also read her the first of the My Friend Mr Leakey short stories, "A Meal With a Magician", and she enjoyed it and so did I.

And then, once the tubing and zooming down slides in the darkness etc were over and done with, as it was really only just down the road, we drove down to Madison and popped into Wiscon to say hullo to people. I got hugged by Nalo Hopkinson. "I didn't know you were going to be here!" I said. "Well," she said, "I am Guest of Honour." I blushed.

Saw lots of old friends -- Charles and Karen Vess (I promised Charles I'd mention that you can still get the FALL OF STARDUST portfolio from him at Greenman Press) (and did you know there were Stardust fridge magnets?), artist-writer-editor Terri Windling (who really is an elf, and to whom I promised a short story in a year for an anthology), Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, Maureen Speller Kincaid and Paul Kincaid ("This is Paul Kincaid," I said to Maddy. "He's a very, very old friend of mine. This is Maureen. I once mistook her for some luggage,"), and oh, too many fine people to list here. Also met Karen Joy Fowler for the first time, and managed more or less not to come across as a dribbling fanboy, and I met editorial demiurge Sharyn November from Viking Penguin who showed me a copy of the (Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow edited, Charles Vess illustrated) GREEN MAN anthology, which looks amazing. (I wrote a poem for it called "Going Wodwo".) I promised Sharyn I'd send her a list of great out-of-print children's books, and I shall, in the hopes that she may be able to bring at least a few of them back, or at least that she might enjoy them...

Over dinner Charles showed me his lovely cover design for Diana Wynne Jones's DEEP SECRET. He'd noticed that I'm in the book (twice -- once as myself, on a panel at an SF convention, and once, at least in part, as one of the characters in the book: there's a breakfast in the book that happened to me) he had drawn someone sort of me-ish as part of a group of people on the cover. He's done some amazing work for a book with Charles deLint. Decided that I need to do something with Charles Vess in the next few years -- it feels odd not to have something we're doing together either happening or going to happen.

Then drove home, despite many pleas that I stay, figuring that way I'll get Monday as a quiet writing day, which I need.