Last week, I took a pair of trains from San Francisco, CA to Spokane, WA, for Worldcon / Sasquan, my first big writing con. Two local writing friends spearheaded the trip and I jumped on an opportunity to have another scenic journey and soak up what I could!
North by Rail
The train north was gorgeous, just like last year’s trip up the entire west coast from LA to Seattle. I can’t recommend Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Empire Builder enough. It’s not glamorous, timely, or cheap, but every track is an idea rolling out from under your curious feet.
I even met a street poet who earns his living from his art: The Wandering Bard.
The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given
David Gerrold, P. C. Hodgell, David D. Levine, and Bobbie Benton Hull shared the following gems:
When to Get An Agent
Ginjer Buchanan, Kurt Busiek, Devon Monk, John Berlyne, Jason Hough had varying experiences:
Sasquan Art Show
The art show was full of intriguing pieces (and not just SciFi book covers!)
Understanding (Writing) Contracts
Mike Resnick and Joshua Bilmes shared these bits of wisdom from their long careers:
Self-publishing — When to do it, When to Publish Traditionally
I’m not sure the panel title was addressed here but Linda Nagata, Stephen Segal, Taiyo Fujii, and H.M. Jones still gave me things to ponder:
Panel: the Mean Streets of Spokane a.k.a. SpoCompton
Just kidding! I got worn out after two entire days of networking and attending panels so I spent hours exploring the city and freewriting my way to personal epiphanies with my eyes closed.
I also met a delightful group of four writers who moved into a house in Portland and will stay at least until they all get published! Their commitment and motivation was invigorating but I enjoyed their supportive vibe most; as I spoke to each of them individually, each person had the kindest things to say about his or her housemates. It reminded me of my beloved Shut Up & Write Bay Area meetup. I can’t wait to visit them in Portland (more trains, woo!), sing karaoke until last call, and ask more stupendously controversial questions!
The Spokane Sky
The nearby forest fires made the air thick with smoke and changed the afternoon sun into something Kryptonian:
However the mornings, especially the sunrise on my last day, were clear and fresh: