The fifth entry I've started with "Back from" recently...
Bill and I went to Chicago on Sunday for a visit with his mom and for me to hang out assisting Neil Gaiman with his day there for the Chicago Humanities Festival yesterday. Much harder to assist someone in a place where I am not resident & where an area of interest (lincoln park) is not close to the hotel (randolph & wells, downtown). I should have done some research into the eating options in both areas - food is the one area in which I felt I had let Neil down and I think he agreed. The company for lunch and dinner was good though, and at least he did eat, which I've been told he sometimes doesn't do, if he doesn't have someone minding him.
Having now spent some quality time with Gene Wolfe I am even more sorry he doesn't travel far enough to go to ConFusion any more (his wife's health won't allow it).
Bill also got to hang out with Laura yesterday and we got a manila envelope full of writing from her that I am looking forward to reading. And I showed her Recurrance poem from Midfanzine 2 to Neil, and he chuckled over it and said it was nice in an appreciative tone, which is my reaction to it as well, and which had me wondering if we couldn't find someplace higher circulation to get it reprinted.
Bill and Laura collaborated on swinging by the hotel to pick up something from Neil's room that we'd forgotten to take with to Lincoln Park (a bottle of Norfolk Punch Neil had picked up for Gene and Rosemary from Jungle Jim's). Right after Neil realized we'd forgotten it, Laura called and told me that she and Bill were downtown, and Neil happily spoke to the hotel to authorize Bill to get into his room and Bill was his usual wonderful self in being willing to stop off for the errand. Laura actually had me going for a minute when she called to say they had a bottle but they thought they might have gotten the wrong room.
They were around during Neil's long signing (from about 9:30 to just after midnight) -- Bill was making balloon animals and juggling. Neil impressed everyone by being willing to do a signing on his birthday. I impressed Neil by thinking to bring a wheelie bag in which to transport all of his birthday gifts from fans back to the hotel. --It was full by the end of the evening, so I was really glad I had. There were some pretty cool gifts, and as usual I got to see cool pretty things I hadn't seen before that people brought for him to sign. The Sandman Watch, for instance.
I was being roomies with Maureen Mccarty (stardustgirl) at the hotel for wednesday night - that was pretty cool, although we didn't really get that much time to hang out.
For the last three days I have had a lot of trouble sleeping through to morning. Every night except last night I'd been going to bed early for Chicago time (9:30-10:30) and waking up really really early. Last night I stayed up late but then woke up at 4:30 or so and couldn't really sleep for a substantial block of time again until after I'd gotten up, showered and dressed, packed, had breakfast, taken the Metra train south to Bill's mom's house, and finally crashed out on the couch. They woke me up for a nice lunch and then we headed back here. And now I should see about going back to sleep.