I went to MidsouthCon with two goals. One, I wanted to meet/see Esther Friesner. Second, I wanted to see what kind of person Terry Pratchett was. As the writer of Granny Weatherwax, Vimes, Susan and my favorite version of Death; I wanted to see what kind of schizophrenic man he was. Fortunately, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.
I spent some one on one time chatting with Mrs. Friesner and had my fortune told by her. I only knew her by her humorous story anthologies but let me tell you there is a ferocious passion in that lady against the world”s wrongs. She’s like an adorable grandmother type who’ll make your favorite dinner and then roll up her sleeves to go punch out the man who kicks his dog. It was a real delight to meet her and her fortune reading was dead on in both her assessment of me and what I should do.
I attended two panels with Terry Pratchett, one reading of his unreleased book read by Terry and I got to hang out with Terry for about 15 minutes as the convention organizers failed to live up to their job description. I just can not get over how intellectually curious and creative this man is. You ask him a question and he’ll give you an answer, then look for the funnier answer and then take a moment to think over the story idea your question gave him. As sharp as he is, he is very kind to his starstruck fans. Meeting him, I saw all his characters inside him and I could see how the others were just born out of his non stop creativity.
For other Pratchett fans out there, I’ll try to share what meager information stuck in my head. He told my wife during an hour long tea chat that if you scratch his female characters deep enough, you’ll eventually find Ms. Piggy from the Muppets. He said he can’t write a weak female because in his experience, women are the ones who get problems solved now while men are still trying to figure out what caused the problem.
He played all the Wing Commander games and was terribly upset when he did a mission so poorly that Paladin died. So he went back and replayed that level over and over again until Paladin lived and got to have his retirement. Most of you have no idea what any of that meant but those who do know what that says about Terry.
Terry appreciates everyone who has a favorite character that ask him to write more books about X, but what Terry really loves to do is make new characters. That is one of his great passions.
He listed Carl Hiassen’s Florida as his favorite imaginary world.
He has a scale model of the Unseen University that he sometimes takes measurements of for his stories.
All in all, it was great to meet these two and get a peek inside how they think. The answer in both cases is they think extremely fast. They make me feel lazy for my creative output. I just hope that I get better and by the time I reach their age I can keep up with them.