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Sometimes, you pay it forward...

...sometimes, it comes right back at you, magnified in all good ways.

Friday was a "right back at you" day, for something I'd long forgotten doing.

I forget what convention it was, or even how many years have passed since. Wherever, whenever it was, Diana Glyer admired the streaks of vibrant blue in my hair. Maybe I just had the blue streaks that time around, maybe I was wearing a mix of purple and blue, and perhaps also green. They were extensions, made from real hair, and easily clipped or sewn in for a splash of color. I told Diana where I'd picked them up (a neighborhood beauty supply store). She faunched after the blue; it was her fave.

I also forget whether I told her I'd send some of the extra blue hair I had at home, or whether the arrival of that envelope was a post-con surprise for her. Over the years, I've been on both the giving and receiving end of these sorts of surprise gifts times beyond counting. I'm reminded of the time Pat Virzi sent me a replacement inflatable stegosaurus after reading my tale of sending mine off to live in Brazil with Henrique Flory at the end of MagiCon, the 1992 Worldcon. And of the frog purse dragonet2 sent just last year. Surprise boxes from David Russell, in Australia, and don_fitch, who is on this continent but still far too far away. And the PEZboy MP3 player...I still don't know who sent that my way! As is true of most of my fannish experiences, it seems that I've received far more than I've given, aware as I am that I've given rather a lot over these past 25 years and then some.

Today's mail brought the following note from Diana:

"Once upon a time I told you how much I admired your "Blue Hair," and you were good enough to send me several swatches of it in the mail. It may sound funny, but that magic hair came at a really tough time in my writing process and saw me through several months when I wasn't sure if my book would ever be finished.

"Well, the book got done, and it is coming out next month. I just wanted to let you know how very much I appreciate your encouragement AND how much I admire your writing."

And there, in the envelope along with Diana's note, is a promotional card announcing the imminent publication of "The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community" and copies of a few introductory pages from the galleys, including the acknowledgments. And there's my name, among the many who helped Diana bring her book to fruition. They are thanked for the research assistance, the writing support, and the other considerable help one is used to seeing mentioned in this sort of book, Among them is kalimac, whose appendix is blurbed elsewhere as being "a treasure trove of biographical and bibliographical information on all nineteen of the Inklings", and wild_patience, who is credited with cheerful silence as Diana and kalimac hashed things through.

Me, I'm thanked for the magic hair.

How cool. How unexpectedly, utterly cool.

The book is being published by The Kent State University Press, As the promotional postcard explains, "Diana Pavlac Glyer invites readers into the heart of the Inklings, examining diary entries, personal letters, and published and unpublished manuscripts. This groundbreaking book describes the lively interaction and strong mutual influence that characterized this writing group. It also paints a compelling picture of how writers and other creative artists challenge, correct, and encourage one another as they work together in community."

Sounds tasty!

Congratulations to Diana and to kalimac. I look forward to reading the book, and to learning from it.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
On first reading the acknowledgments, I asked Diana for the story behind the reference to you. I haven't mentioned it to you because I figured she'd want to.

I'm discussed this book a few times on LJ: struggles over the proofs and the appendix and the index. It should be out by February, and it's going to be good. Even Inklings experts will learn a lot from it (I sure did). For people who just know there were these guys called that, it should be a real eye-opener: and interesting to boot.

So speaks my not disinterested opinion.
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:32 am (UTC)
Now I'm really looking forward to it!
Dec. 9th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Wow--must read this!
Dec. 9th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)
Wild Blue Hair - many possible puns are flying around.

Book sounds cool. I always figured there might be more Inklings that just tolien, Williams, Lewis, and Sayers, but 19? If the book discusses them all, I'll want to read it. (And the link you provided shows Amazon selling it for well below retail.)

PS - SF Five Yearly arrived several days ago. Looks delightful. The thought of this zine continuing indefinitely forever tickles me.
Dec. 9th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
The book is mostly about the interaction among Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, and two other Inklings: CS Lewis's brother Warren, and Owen Barfield. But others get mentioned more than occasionally, and the appendix is a series of short bio-bibliographic essays on all 19 of them.

If you're curious for an online list of all 19, mine is here.
Dec. 10th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Is the Dyson listed there related to Freeman Dyson?
Dec. 10th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
Not as far as I know. Nor to George Dyson (noted English composer of the same period). This is one of those surnames that I guess seems less common than it is.
Dec. 10th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
Wild Hare
You're halfway too late -- for years, the best reggae bar in Chicago has been The Wild Hare & Singing Armadillo Frog Sanctuary.
Dec. 10th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Wild Hare
I'm totally too late and I know it. The "Wild Hair" punning goes back, in fandom at least, to an article by Walt Willis entitled "Wilde Heir."
Dec. 10th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
Boy, I miss Pat Virzi. Where is she now? Last time I saw her and Dennis was when they came to Virginia, and Dennis sprang for the Hulk Hogan light switch at a dollar store.

There must be a switch here I could put that on.
Dec. 10th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Pat's running Corflu Quire in Austin a mere 10 weeks from now. Do download PR1 if you haven't seen it yet -- it's the best convention progress report I've seen in years.

Huh. My own Hulk Hogan story involves my sister-in-law riding around Minneapolis suburbs in a pick up truck with him (and another wrestler, her date) a good 26 years ago. I think that's before there were Hulk Hogan light switches. (Light switches?! Or switchplates?)
Dec. 10th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
you truly never know
I dearly love that sort of surprise.
I have a personal high point. When Bob Shea’s All Things Are Lights came out, I shared the dedication, for no reason I knew. And he autographed my copy, “To Neil Rest, who helped illuminate the author.” This is from the lead author of Illuminatus!!! And I was still clueless.
So I asked, and he said that I was the first person who'd told him that as a professional writer, he ought to be working on a microcomputer (obviously, this was back when). And his next six novels were written on an Apple II.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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