Truth is? It's kind of a blur. I don't think I've had that much positive energy directed at me...ever. I have discovered that I have absolutely no idea what to do when people keep coming up to me and telling me they loved my book. I just want to shake their hands because they read it and I'm so stupidly grateful they did. I think I mostly wandered around being bewildered. And that was before the awards ceremony, and the tiara (which I only got to wear for a day, so cue lolrus/bukket jokes) and the judges' speech in which Diane Silver thanked me for writing the book instead of the traditional thanks to the Motherboard. At some point, after you've had dinner with Karen Joy Fowler and had Japanese fans literally scream like you are John Lennon when they find out who you are and insist on photos complete with yatta-fingers, when you have had a crown put on your head and listened while a woman who edited half the books you loved as a child and wrote a couple of them talks about your work in glowing terms, when you start to feel a little punch-drunk and dizzy, and it's like you're walking through someone else's wonderful life. I am told that I made a good portion of the audience cry with my acceptance speech. I'm kind of just glad I kept it together up there.
When I read my story about Prester John at 8:30 in the frigging morning to a nearly full room, there were actual cat calls among the applause at the end. People whooo-hoooed Prester John. I am dumbfounded.
If I read about it all in a book I would say "Come on now, that's a little over the top." And it was, completely over the top, and I have no tools to process it. I mean, at Wiscon last year I sat next to Dora Goss and Barth Andersen at the Sign Out and signed one book during the whole event. This year I had my very first book-signing line, and was told that you couldn't get a copy of The Orphan's Tales in Madison for love nor money by the end of the con. My hand throbbed by the end of the hour. And still...people told me they loved it, and all I could do was smile and try not to fall over.
This is not to mention impromptu dance parties, hot tub hero-journey deconstruction (all were agreed that should any one of us be invited to Fairyland, the others would have to be notified and brought along) karaoke, my first novel workshop and second (packed, at 8:30 am) workshop on reading aloud, fabulous meals with fabulous people, a magnificently beautiful, civilized, and orderly panel on Baba Yaga and the Armless Maiden with Terri Windling, Midori Snyder, Gregory Frost and our own justbeast, who acquitted himself beautifully on his first attempt on a very high dive of panelling. It is no joke to speak along side those two women. I'm surprised I didn't pass out.
So now I'm back home, not thinking about it much. We ate the last of the Tiptree chocolates last night--seriously the best chocolate I've ever, ever had, beating Vosges soundly. I gave the tiara back. I read Interfictions and norilana's beautiful collection Salt of the Air (Seriously, Rossia Moya is worth the price alone, jesus) on the way home. I have poetry and novels to write. New Wiscon-engendered projects are afoot, to be announced soon. I'll be out of town all weekend. Life is normal again. I miss everyone already. More than likely, nothing like this crazy Tiptree thing will ever happen to me again. So I take this mad little bauble of an experience and put it up on a shelf next to my award plaque, and every once in awhile I'll take it down and marvel at it, and laugh.