A TAFF delegate floating around in a carton of milk

milkMany years ago I was watching the David Bowie documentary, ‘Cracked Actor’. He set up rather a contrived scene in which he was being asked about his experiences in America. The interviewer suggested that he’d picked up many of the local idioms and influences and wondered how that had happened. He was drinking a carton of milk at
the time. He glanced down into his milk and said, “there’s a fly
floating about in my milk, a foreign body there and it’s soaking up a lot of milk. I feel like that fly, a foreign body just soaking up everything around me.” Of course it was probably pre-planned but it did illustrate the point pretty well. I’m no David Bowie but I am absorbing so many influences as I move from place to place. I feel a desire to soak up all those influences but also a fear that they will
overwhelm me in such a way that I won’t be able to process them and
they will just be a confused mass of disconnected notions. This is
one of the reasons why during my trip I have requested of my hosts a
little time where I can hide away somewhere and do a little writing
so that this onslaught of culture can settle down and find a place to
sit among my many thoughts and reminiscences.

I realise that I am skimming North America in quite a superficial
way but I am getting perspectives that many other visitors may not
do. Firstly I’m getting a fannish perspective of the continent. Our
connections are through our fanac and so not always geographically
inclined. As I sit here we are only a week and a half away from a
Worldcon so that has been a major focus during the journey. As I say
my tearful goodbyes thinking I may never see these people again I am often jerked out of my gross sentimentality by the phrase, “I’ll see you at Worldcon” and then, “hope to see you also at Loncon
next year.” Although this ruins my tearful departure scene it is a
good feeling that I will see so many of the North American fans again
and also an interesting reminder of the importance of Worldcons or
indeed any conventions for bringing us together. This close to
LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio I am almost certainly getting a very
skewed view of the importance of the Worldcon. Diane Lacey in Toronto is telling me about her role as Hotel Liaison. I see Glenn Glazer, division head for Events, in Santa Cruz. Carrie and I are part of the Newsletter team so we are getting updates about that and I am receiving information from John Purcell about Worldcon Fan Lounge stuff. Added to this there is notice of a meeting at San Antonio between Carrie, myself, James Bacon and Ian Stockdale about the Fan Programming stream for the Loncon 3. All this and the focus of my trip being the visit to LoneStarCon 3, it is far from surprising that Worldcons seem to loom large and give the impression of them being events of great importance to myself, and indeed many others at this time.

However, if I rewind just a few months, Worldcon seemed a very
distant thing in my life. I have never previously attended a Worldcon
and must admit, I have been and still am, quite apprehensive about
attending something so large and all encompassing. I feel sure I will
be overwhelmed by it and like a fly in milk soak up so much that I
sink to the bottom and then break up into my component parts.

So, that was me saying hello, how are you and welcome to Pips.
This zine is usually a little A5 pocket affair of around 22 to 30
pages containing personal reflections, observations and occasionally
a review or two. Circumstances have conspired against us and for good or ill it is considerably foreshortened for this distribution of
WOOF. I hope you’ll pop along to efanzines to take a look at the fully fledged editions http://efanzines.com/Pips .

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