This last week the livestock and I played host to, if not exactly the Rich and Famous, at least the moderately-well-off and award-winning. Susan Palwick, sci-fi author, university professor, and blogger,* graciously flew to Omaha and endured 2 3-hour drives through western Iowa farmland** to visit Storm Lake and Buena Vista University. Susan visited my creative writing class and also, in a program open to all students, read the first chapter of her newest book and discussed the relevance of sci-fi to the here and now. Both talks went very well and we’re already planning to bring Susan back as soon as she forgets the tedium (with bursts of red-light-running excitement) of 2 3-hour drives through Iowa farmland.
Susan stayed at my house, as my very first houseguest, and promptly fell in love with Ricky, who reciprocated by sleeping on her bed all day long and not eating for about 24 hours after she left. The cats also welcomed Susan and showed their admiration by sneaking into her room while we were out and knocking some of her toiletries to the floor. We came home and found a prescription bottle open and 29 little pills artistically scattered across the floor, a travel-sized hand lotion container in another room entirely, and Susan’s toothbrush in the living room, no doubt batted there by a cat but then lovingly chewed to shreds by Ricky, who had minty-fresh breath for the rest of the day.
All in all, a lovely time. Susan and I gabbed about writing and religion and emergency rooms (she’s a volunteer ER chaplain and I’m incredibly clumsy and thus we’ve both spent a bit of time in them) and The Lord of the Rings and dozens of other topics and she signed my copy of her latest book. At one point she mentioned that several people have given her beetle-based gifts, such as a scarab charm, because of the importance of beetles in the novel. Like a high-speed beetle to the forehead, it struck me that I had, tucked into my jewelry box so they wouldn’t break, a pair of iridescent green beetle wings, about 1.5 inches long, pierced to be made into jewelry. I bought them, oh, 10 years ago and never did anything with them, and it was immediately evident to me that their purpose was to grace Susan’s ears. So I made her a pair of beetle wing earrings, which I hope was a nice thank-you for her visit. In all, we had a lovely time, and proof of Ricky’s Susanistic ecstasy is below:
*and lots more — click the blog link
**and thus endured my driving (which included a warning for speeding on the way to the airport and running a red light in town) and my chattering