GCLS Con, Minneapolis – June 15, 2012

Day three began with me waking up a bit later than I had wanted to…these beds really are just way too comfortable.  Every time I sit down on one, I have to lay down.  And once I lay down, that’s it – I’m napping!  I wonder if I can fit one in my suitcase and take it home with me.

Probably not.

We had a busy day today!  The morning started with a tribute to Barbara Grier, publishing legend and founder of Naiad Press.  Lee Lynch, Karin Kallmaker, Marianne Martin and Kelly Smith shared some of their memories of Grier and her incredible life.  I can’t recount everything they said, but there were some favorite quotes that I jotted down during the presentation:

“You’ll hear good things about Barbara and bad things – gratitude and attitude.”

“She was a one woman gay revolution.”

“Lesbians who read are incredibly indebted to Barbara Grier.”

“A woman who always assumed the answer was ‘yes’.”

“I spent my entire life bringing books to the people and people to the books.”

“Know that we believe being lesbian means being superior at once.”

“Yes, you are a lesbian and you are wonderful.”

It was obvious from the presentations, that Barbara Grier was a force to be reckoned with – and that she changed the face of Lesbian Literature and Publishing forever.

After a short break, we continued the day with the Author Auction.  This bit of frivolity is for a fabulous cause.  Several authors allow themselves to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  In return, the winner of each auction gets the pleasure of the first dance with that author at our celebratory dance after the Goldie Awards on Saturday night.  The money raised it used for scholarships for future conferences – it allows members who wouldn’t normally be able to afford the price of the conference to attend.  A fabulous cause, indeed.  The authors auctioned this year were Karin Kallmaker, Kenna White, Bev Prescott, Lori Lake, Georgia Beers (and her bra – don’t ask), Elizabeth Sims, KG MacGregor, Lynn Ames, Melissa Brayden, and Rachel Spangler.  I believe we ended up raising over $3400 for scholarships!  That’s spectacular!

I took a break during lunch and the next session – my electronics needed charging and I just wanted to relax for a bit.  I caught back up with everyone at the following session.  I attended the author readings.  There were 10 authors in this session – some I’d heard before, some who were new to me:

  • Lynn Ames
  • Karen Badger
  • Rachel Spangler
  • Bev Prescott
  • Elizabeth Sims
  • Rachel Gold
  • Mary Griggs
  • Nat Burns
  • Pol Robinson
  • KG MacGregor

It was a great session with some wonderful readings.  I ended up buying 6 new books based on some of these readings.  They were that good.

The last session of the day started after a short break.  I was going to attend a panel called “Soldiers, Spies & Special Agents:  Emerging Trends in Lesbian Fiction,” but instead got coerced into the GCLS Con Jeopardy room.  I ended up on “Team Chicken” with MJ Lowe, Karin Kallmaker, Erica Abbott, and Pol Robinson.  We were up against “Team Dog” and “Team Turkey.”  Since we didn’t have buzzers to hit when we wanted to answer the questions, we had to make the sound of our animals.  Oh, goodness did things get ridiculous!  At one point, Pol was so into it that rather than actually clucking like a chicken, she just shouted “Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!”  I laughed more in the 1 hour and 15 minutes of that session than I have in a long, long time.  Our team ended up winning – beating out Team Turkey by about 100 points.  It was a really fun time.

The author autograph session was next.  I went in and ended up buying about 9 books and had 12 of them autographed by some really spectacular authors.  (Some books I already had at home and brought them with me.)

A quick break to run upstairs and put things away and then we were off to dinner.  We went to TGIFridays.  Dinner and a couple of beers hit the spot.

The final event of the night was Karaoke!!  Karin Kallmaker had the great idea to make it a theme night – specifically, 50s night!!  Everyone was encouraged to dress in their best 50s clothing.  Not everyone participated, but there were a lot more who participated than I’d expected to.  Pam Sloss looked excellent in her “Soda Jerk” outfit.  Lee Lynch and Elaine Mulligan looked super cute together – of course, they always do anyway.

There were some technical difficulties, so some folks who were confident enough performed acapella.  A group of us did a tribute to our friend, Pam  Butler, by singing “I Feel Pretty” – which she sang for us at her last conference in 2010.  Sadly, she passed away just 2 months later.  She was quite a woman, that’s for sure.  And she is very missed at these conferences.

The room started to slowly clear as it was starting to get late.  I left around 11:15pm – those who remained stayed until it ended at midnight, I’m sure.

Next update:  The final full day of the conference – including Keynote Speaker, Jewelle Gomez; the Membership meeting; more panels; and the Goldie Awards!!

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