An amusing thing happened at Trinoc*con that got me thinking…

I was drunk. This happens very rarely, and only because James was on Vicodin and I had to stand in as a stunt liver. I generally don’t drink, not out of any particular aversion to the notion, but because I never did manage to acquire the taste of alcohol–I think I burned all my acquired taste points on becoming a coffee fiend. I find beer quite disgusting, for example. This generally makes me one of Nature’s designated drivers, which I’m perfectly happy to be. If I drink, it is To Become Drunk, and that is easiest achieved by lining up shots of something potent that gets me hammered with the least amount of gagging chemical nastiness crossing my tongue. About the only thing I drink for fun is very very dry white wine, because I enjoy the sensation that it’s evaporating through the roof of my mouth and directly into my brain, even if I’m not real fond of the taste.

Anyway. That was a tangent. I was mildly drunk, due mostly to being exhausted and partly due to some scotch. As Mario Party and Monster Smash played on (Alex owned us all) I found myself with a ballpoint pen in hand, doodling crappy little wombats on the back of the hotel notepads based on wherever the conversation was roaming (don’t ask about the wombat ninja practicing the Resplendant Ass technique…) Kathy wanted one. I was more than happy to give it to her, but I told her I felt guilty giving her such a crappy drawing, and she said she felt guilty asking for free art in any event. “This isn’t free art!” I tried to explain. “This is a crappy ballpoint pen doodle by a drunken Ursula on the back of a hotel notepad! It’s not like “will you draw my character he has the following items etc etc.” And at that point Bruce, a writer, enters the conversation, and we discussed how this never happens to writers. Nobody hands a writer a notepad and says “Quick! A paragraph of deathless prose!” “Write me a haiku about my character!” or whatever.

Which is all fairly self evident, but amused me anyhow. I am both delighted and terribly embarassed that anyone wants my notepad doodles, and I am quite glad that I can earn money by arting-while-U-wait, where that isn’t really an option for writers.

And yet, somehow I can see a young Melville stuck behind a table at a con, writing “Call me…Ishmael,” in people’s books. Which in turn gets me thinking of a crew hunting the Great White Wombat, and this is probably proof that I should stop writing and go paint something before I get all weird.

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