Second of all: I saw a lot of people I know and love, both by accident and on purpose
Third of all: I really like my publishers and their authors, and it was nice to belong somewhere
Fourth of all: I would never go to one of these conference if I didn't have a book already published (too much anxiety). So I was very grateful that after 15 years, it is having its day in the sun
Fifth of all: I hung out with an old friend whose husband left at the same time that my girlfriend dumped me many years ago (they were co-workers, but did not leave us for each other). This friend is now so super famous that we couldn't even take two steps or one sip of coffee without people clamoring to speak with her, and it made me so exhausted. I think it is a very hard life to be in the 1% of recognizable, celebrity writers, and I am glad to be just plain unknown me.
Sixth of all: I spoke on the panel "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rejection (But Were Afraid to Ask)," and it seemed to me to be better titled "Publishers and People with Literary Power (And Why We're Never Going to Publish You)." In fact, it made me very depressed to be on that panel. There were lots of false statements made, I thought. And lots of putting a good face on publishing while telling you how "busy I am and why I'll never choose you to be my author." Ugh. And yet everyone in the audience seemed to swallow it whole and want to know more lies. It went like this:
Audience Question: "What can I do or not to do get published by you?"Seventh of all: I asked Francine Prose to sign my copy of her new novel, which is nominated for a 2015 Lambda Literary Award in the category of lesbian fiction with my novel. I mentioned this and she looked down upon me coldly and huffed. "If I win that award it's because they didn't read my novel." Which means what? Her novel about a woman-loving Nazi spy and drag car racer who dresses like a man and had her tits removed isn't lesbian fiction? Or maybe she isn't a lesbian (which she is not, if being married to a man counts). Or maybe she meant her book is so, so, so, so much more than merely about a "lesbian," and shouldn't be reduced to labels. Or maybe she is Luke's father? I'm not really sure, but I got a big chill standing there with her, and walked away as quickly as I could. The ceremony announcing winners of the Lambda Award is on June 1st. I guess Prose won't be there, eh. (If you have a kinder or even a more intelligent interpretation, please share. I'm puzzled by the whole encounter.)
Panelist Answer: "Nothing. Forget it. Or blow my socks off...but I can't say how."
UPDATE: I finished reading Prose's novel, and I suppose she meant that no one in their right mind would want to claim her lesbian character as part of their community because she is so lost and mislead, and perhaps one might say "evil," were one to believe in such a thing. I guess the question is: should the LGBT community only claim good characters as their own? Are we beyond that yet? It *is* a book about a lesbian character, after all, and we do claim her as a sister human being, even if some would say she's a monster. So, I think I'm still confused by the comment. Thoughts?