Astronauts and Other Stars

Wow! What an amazing weekend!

May 17-20 was the Nebula Awards Weekend in Arlington, VA, put on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. For those who know nothing of this, check out some of my previous blog entries.

I met so many amazing people this weekend. There’s nothing more energizing than spending time in the company of people who love the same thing you do, who devote themselves to an ideal that you value.

Most extraordinary is the sense of belonging. Despite the fact that I’m not a SFWA-qualifying writer (yet!), I was treated just like a member of the family. The first question everyone asks is never “are you a writer?” but always “what do you write?”

At certain moments, I found myself feeling like I was pretending to be someone else, sneaking my way into the exclusive club when no one was looking. But in all honesty, the other writers there had been where I was, and some of them were not so far away from where I was now that we couldn’t speak to one another as equals.

Talking with all of these great writers and seeing them interacting with one another, I was renewed in my view that the path of the writer isn’t a goal, it’s a long and winding road that you travel.

I want to thank some people for making this such a wonderful weekend:

Thanks to Evan Dicken, C. Liddle, Nathan McKnight, and Hannah Durocher for joining me on the adventure.

Thanks to Lisa Taylor, Matt Flood, Jennifer Simmons, and David Milstein for the new friendships.

Thanks to Fran Wilde, Nancy Fulda, Ferrett Steinmetz, Rachel Swirsky, Joe Haldeman, Rebecca Anderson, John Scalzi, Alethea Kontis, Myke Cole, Lawrence Schoen, Jim Kelly, Anatoly Belilovsky, Tom Crosshill, Wendy Delmater, Charlie Jane Anders, Analee Newitz, Walter Jon Williams, Rena Hawkens, Michael Swanwick, Danielle Friedman, Connie Willis, and so many others, and especially Gay Haldeman, for making this such a wonderful weekend and for making me feel so welcome.

Finally, a very special thank you to Astronaut Mike Fincke for regaling us with tales of his time aboard the International Space Station, for his humor and generosity, and for helping us writers to feel like we’re doing something significant, even though he is the hero.

Until next year!


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