A Week with Max Gladstone in Ottawa
The above photo is from the joint reading Max and I did earlier this week from our novella (tentatively titled These Violent Delights). It accurately captures most of my experience of said week: scheming to put Max in situations where he gets to talk and I get to enjoy both listening to him and watching other people enjoy listening to him.
I don’t think I’ve ever put the origin story of Max and my friendship into writing. This is for the best. But in brief: I heard him talking on a panel and decided we had to be friends. Eventually I informed him of this decision, and the rest is history.
The trip’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Max and Steph arrived on Saturday evening, having the distinction of being the first guests Stu and I have received in our new flat together. After a day or so of settling in and walking around Ottawa, we all got down to our various businesses, not least of which were reading events.
On Tuesday night, Max read from his upcoming novel, Ruin of Angels, at ChiSeries. On Wednesday afternoon, he and I read from our novella (for the first time ever! It was great!), and in the evening he did a Q&A with my short fiction workshop students. Both events were absolutely wonderful, with enthusiastic, kind audiences; many thanks to everyone who attended! Reading from the novella was especially fun — I’m still revising my parts of it, and getting to read it out loud and play it against Max’ reading offered a really neat perspective shift into what I need to address. I’m forever telling my students to read their own work aloud as they’re revising it, so it’s good to get a dose of my own advice and feel the rightness of it.
Friday evening, we appeared on CBC Radio and chatted with Alan Neal of All in a Day about footwear in fiction, the Hugos, and our novella. You can listen to our eight minutes of radio fame here! (Also admire our “wait what photo but we’re on the radio WE DRESSED FOR RADIO” faces!)
Saying goodbye to Max and Steph yesterday kind of involved crashing from a sugar-high of the soul. It was a lovely visit, full of good food and great chat and deep heart-comfort. It was also the first of what I hope will be many more visits from my US-ian friends, as borders and bans make travel prospects from this side more fraught than usual. Until then, the work waits, and while the first week of April’s been glorious, the rest of it looks likely to live up to its moniker as Cruelest Month where deadlines are concerned.