Friday, May 31, 2013

for my last birthday i received murder

When I see lists of love languages I see stuff like:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
I never see MY family's love languages listed which include:
  • Sass
  • Murder narratives
This second one in particular very relevant to the women in my family, esp. to my grandmother, mother, and me.

My grandma Day

My mother


Some of my very fondest memories with my grandmother include sitting downstairs in her house on obscenely comfortable modernist couches in a pile of pillows stress-eating super fancy cheese and fruit as we watch BBC murderdramas. 

Also this picture.  Can anyone handle how glam my grandma is here.  

If the Days had a house motto like in Game of Thrones it would be Sass and Cheekbones.

Likewise with my mother, in her bedroom--her on the blue couch, me having started on the bed but collapsed onto the rugs-and-stone floor in anxiety as we mainline diet coke and yell OH NO OH NO OH NO at the screen as interpolations to our running commentary on the attractiveness of the actors.  

We send each other recs and when we get together we've seen all the same shows.  (We can also do pretty solid impressions of true-crime narrators but that's neither here nor there.)

I don't know why this is, exactly; perhaps there is something in that specific type of genre narrative that speaks to our generally dramatic natures.  I do know that like none of us have seen The Notebook but we can pretty adequately discuss the differences between the UK and the Swedish adaptations of the Wallander detective series, so.

Kenneth I say this with love 

So for my last birthday, my mom brought me to Bouchercon, a murder mystery convention.  A+ idea all around.  We'd been before and I've talked about it before; my positive experience at my first one was a big factor in me deciding to move to San Francisco.  This time we were in Cleveland, with a whole group of just BRILLIANT wonderful women and we all made the pilgrimage to Ohio to mix with our people--our fellow murder-and-literature-crazy people.

I tend to love things pretty intensely and sort of unwillingly (news to no one) and mostly I love these things by myself.  (WHAT is UP, german expressionism and comics and ergodic literature, you alienating little hobbies, you.)  But conventions of course are designed to alleviate that sort of resentful loneliness.  It is just so enchanting and relaxing to be in the same place in a giant crowd of other people who continue to think murder puns are hilarious after 4000 of them have been made over the course of three days.  (You could say they're TO DIE FOR ahahahahahaha)

I am actually the literal worst at taking pictures but here's one I had of the hotel and everyone milling around having feelings about things

We tended to split up during the day, with Mom skewing towards the panels on procedurals and true crime, while I was like front row at all the high-gothic-opera and Scandinavian-chill-horror stuff.  But we both went to all the Sherlock stuff because Sherlock.  And there was a lot of Sherlock stuff.

A Sherlock panel.

I know I've talked about Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series before.  Mary was my baby boo.  Like a lot of kids my reading level far outstripped my age and this was before YA and female protagonists were such a thing so I didn’t have many to choose from.  I bonded with Mary because she was smart in a world that didn’t welcome that, and she was a girl mostly alone in a world of predators.  (See also: Clarice Starling; Dana Scully.)   And of course she got to hang out with Sherlock who has been my literary boyfriend since age 10.

awww yeah baby

Since Mom's (and my I am claiming them) friends are like crazy connected I got to go to a dinner with her and talk to her.  I got to really talk to her this time; she is as composed and sassy and bright as one would expect. 

i'm the one on the right who is way too jazzed

It's odd being any sort of consumer of art--being a silent recipient in a communication.  Still.  I know for a fact that I am one of many women who as teens read those books and were super affected by a protagonist they could identify with.  If I ever have a daughter (or I mean let's be real about my prospects, a niece)  I am def. going to give her those books.

And of course the convention and being in a new town was just delightful--three days of running around, looped with tags and pins and carrying canvas totes and free books full of blood and death and author signatures.  The rows of velvet chairs in too-large rooms.  Cleveland: flat and clear and broad, next to a flat clear broad lake like the ocean.  The Rock and Roll Hall of fame's influence on the rest of the town, with Bowie just popping up out of nowhere like the freaking Virgin Mary.  

this was in the hall of fame so okay also killer legs kiddo

this was not and it was not the only one that was not

In the conference hotel all day, collapsed in corners like on high school trips.  All in all just a really pleasant relaxing time.

Especially because it came hard on the heels of like 12 corporate conferences I got shipped to over the summer.  

This will surprise actually no one but I do not have the temperament of a businesswoman and am not the largest fan of the Ballardian cold sterile hostile tedious world that is corporate life.  We'll see what sort of escape plan I can figure out.


  1. We must get you a better photo of you and Laurie. Right? --Marjorie

    1. I had one other one but I was literally making the weirdest face I have ever made in my life. SO YES. Another one where everyone looks normal!