As always one of the nicest things about a conference is getting to see people you like and haven't seen for a while...(in this case, at the Calgary Kaleidoscope conference, Betsy and Ted Lewin)...and also meeting new friends. (Here's a photo of me with writer Betty Birney; we shared a cab to the airport yesterday, she flying home to LA, me to Boston). I look as if I have antlers but it's because I stupidly stood in front of a picture that was hanging on the wall.
It reminded me of the time I met Carol Otis Hurst for the first time, years ago, in Toronto. We shared a cab to the airport, waited there together since our gates were near each other, and she was telling me a long story but had to stop mid-paragraph because her plane was about to board. Two days later, back home, I got a letter from Carol, which began mid-sentence, and completed the anecdote. We became close friends and remained so until her sudden death two years ago.
I also met Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, a close friend now for many years, at a conference...and it was the Calgary Kaleidscope conference...16 years ago. Three days ago, in Calgary, a woman said to me, "I was here when you were here in 1992, and I've remembered all this time how you described your grandmother teaching you to pee in the woods." I had to say, "Ah, that was Phyllis Naylor. " I remember Phyllis telling that story, actually, in the speech she made. It certainly wouldn't have been my very proper Pennsylvania grandmother who would never have entered the woods unless she was wearing hat and gloves and was there for a lecture on arboeal botany.
I have to start thinking a lot....this very day....about my Pennsylvania grandmother because on Wednesday I fly to Pennsylvania to speak in the small town where I spent my childhood. One of my books, AUTUMN STREET, is set in that town, and many of my books arise out of the nostalgia that is so much a part of my creative process. I'll have to try to put that all together coherently so that I can speak abut it Wednesday night.
I think I'll email Phyllis and tell her that for sixteen years someone has been remembering her urinary history, even if they got the name of the protaganist wrong.