Thursday, November 8, 2007
When I sit and listen to people chatting or reading from their books my hands need something to do. As a kid I doodled non-stop, filling sketchpads and margins on mimeographed homework sheets. When I didn't have paper or pen, I nibbled my nails. Now I create a portrait and autograph book at the same time. It is, in fact, my restless fingers disguised as a project.
I draw them in pencil. If they are still moving their lips, I add some watercolor. Then I provenance it, put in my signature, and go after the poet or novelist with zeal. "Your autograph, please?"
"Oh, oh, is that me? You did that here just now?" and rarely, "please send me a copy."
At the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs last weekend, John Crowley gave an amazing reading from a work not yet in print, about the sexual coming-of-age of an unusually challenged and gifted young man.
Crowley uses a fountain pen with the same rusty brown ink I like. You have to love an author who uses the same tools.
I also enjoyed Patricia A. McKillip reading from a new novel that features a young and impressionable budding author. Very funny and apt. I sat up front and probably scared her, as I imagine I do for all of them. Sorry. It's either the sketchpad or sitting on my hands... Thank you all, my unwitting models, in pose and prose.