July 11, 2010 4:28 pm (Mountain Time)
We’ve arrived at the campus of University of Wyoming. Three of us were all on the same flight from Boston so we were picked up together, and also met one of the other participants, Ian Randal Strock (whom I’ve known for years from science fiction conventions), and also Mike Brotherton, the main man as far as Launch Pad is concerned. Ian and Mike were waiting for the next people to arrive, while Jeremiah, who is somewhat local (Fort Collins, CO) drove the other three of us.
The drive from Denver is about two hours, up the front range. My car companions were Genevieve and John, both from New York but flying from Boston because they were at Readercon. We city folk were treated to the view of many cows, geologic formations, and perhaps the most novel sight of all: 360 degrees of horizon. We saw an antelope, which Jeremy pointed out are native to here (“where the deer and the antelope play”) and drove along rock formations that looked like the spine of a giant dinosaur running along the ridge of its back.
The dorm we’re in, McIntyre Hall, is the tallest building in the entire state of Wyoming. (Ten stories, I think. I’ll check the elevator buttons when I go back down.) We’re on the eighth floor and they have quaintly put all the women on one side, the men on the other — although perhaps that just makes logistical sense, given where the bathrooms are, rather than any moral sort of decision.
I’m reminded that this is the same Laramie, Wyoming where Matthew Shepard was killed, and Jeremy points out that all the campaign election signs in people’s yards here are assumed to be for Republican candidates. Yes, Toto, we pretty much ARE in Kansas, or pretty close to it, anyway, and that’s probably a much bigger dislocation for me, coming from my ultra-liberal queer-friendly enclave of Cambridge, Massachusetts, than the big sky or wildlife or the 7000 foot altitude.
On the other hand, I’m here with members of the Tribe of Geeks, so I’m sure everything will be just fine.
The dorm room is as expected, nice and simple, with bed, desk, and closet, and even a little sink in the room. There is a central lounge on the floor with a microwave. I am kind of wishing for an electric kettle in my room, but I may make do with heating water in the microwave. We shall see.
Had lovely dinner at the Indian restaurant across the street. Decently spicy, and the meal included papadum and mango custard. So I am quite full and no longer worrying that there will be only steak and potatoes to eat here. There is lightning striking the mountains from time to time as we sit in the lounge talking about writing, short stories, movies, musicals, etc. etc. It’s very nice that several of the folks who are here are nearly as much of short story geeks as I am (hooray!) both as writers and editors. I say again, HOORAY. By the way, short fiction is not dead, and it’s just really too bad one can’t make a living from short stories alone.
Now I’m going to try to do some actual work before I go to sleep. Tomorrow everything officially starts.