Emily S. Whitten: A Missive from Discworld
It is with much happiness and a dash of haste that I write to you near the close of the festivities and frivolities of The North American Discworld Convention of 2013. Although alas, several days before this gathering of Discworldian folk, word arrived from the highly esteemed Sir Terry Pratchett that he would be unable to attend (due to a desire to put the next novel of the Discworld, Raising Steam, into all of our hands as quickly as he might possibly do, and who can be too unhappy about that?) I am having a marvelous time, and wished to share the entertainment with you via this letter.
On the Thursday evening of this week, my good friend Erica and I hosted a cozy gala in celebration of the Glorious Revolution (of Treacle Mine Road, of course. And yes, dear readers, I do realize that we are a bit delayed from the traditional celebrations on the 25th May, but we thought it would be appropriate due to hearing that there would be fireworks on the evening of 4th July, for some other celebration of the day). It was a smashing sensation, full of good company and sprigs of lilac, and yes, even a hard-boiled egg or two. We served scumble, a most appealing drink brewed from a recipe handed down through my family for many generations, and made of apples (well, mostly apples). It is very nutritious, and was extremely popular amongst the guests; many of whom did not even begin tripping over the furniture or falling down until their second servings.
On the Friday I was most fortunate to hear several learned scholars, including that incomparable novelist of stories for young adults, Esther M. Friesner, and the wise reviewer of books for The Washington Post, Mr. Michael Dirda, discuss their choices and recommendations for literature that fans of the good knight’s writings might also like to peruse. It was most educational. I believe that Mr. Christopher Moore and Mr. Jasper Fforde may have been mentioned. We were also privileged on Friday to hear from Sir Terry himself, in a message sent from across the ocean via the mechanism of moving pictures in combination with some sort of modern technological wonder. Later, via that same wonder, the manager of Sir Terry’s affairs, a Mr. Robert Wilkins, did read to us the beginning chapter of the current work in progress, Raising Steam. It was most diverting! However, I have been informed that if I share any details more than that with you, my good readers, I may soon suffer the proverbial ‘fate worse than death.’ Which I do believe involves mimes. I shudder to think, and will therefore keep my countenance on this matter.
On the Saturday I was privileged to be a panelist, along with the aforementioned Esther M. Friesner and other knowledgeable ladies, on a panel entitled ‘Dress to Express,’ in which we discussed methods of costuming ourselves with both effect and economy. Tips shared by the good ladies and myself included the advice to repurpose items located in various thrifty shops or originally masquerading as bedclothes, curtains, or other large rectangular bolts of fabric (I believe a woman named Maria once utilized this technique to great effect); to look to hardware stores and to shops available through the wonders of technology, such as eBay, Etsy, TrulyVictorian.com, Laughing Moon Mercantile, Corset Story, American Apparel and more for supplies, items of clothing, patterns, and custom-made items; and to examine text references, references from moving pictures and moving gaming, and other similar places for inspiration and information about costuming details. It was also suggested that one might call upon friends with knowledge and skills at variance with one’s own to give advice, aid, and occasionally custom-made items, perhaps in trade for an item made for the friend.
On the Sunday, yours truly was honored to be inducted into that well-established Ankh-Morporkian institution, the Thieves’ Guild, by the head of the Guild himself, Sir Josiah Boggis; and to receive the traditional bowler hat, as well as a new guild name. Those meeting me on the street in future while I am engaged in the Guild’s business may now call me “Snake Eyes Burke” if they wish, and I will happily respond. I was also delighted to hear a wise discussion of what it is like to work with Sir Terry on his writings, in a panel featuring his esteemed UK agent, Colin Smythe, and his US editors, Jennifer Brehl and Anne Hoppe. Most enlightening! Sunday also hosted a technologically assisted long-distance discussion with Sir Terry, in which he answered questions regarding his wonderful creations. The day ended with a most marvelous gala banquet and entertainment from all over the Disc, including a quite remarkable aerial and acrobatic display by the usually quite sedate Miss Tiffany Aching.
Monday, alas, was our last day of festivities, but it did allow me the time to attend a quite amusing discourse on the world of map-making for the Disc and Ankh-Morpork. An alternately rapt and rowdy audience was informed that not only will there soon be a new map of the Disc coming to us from that historic establishment, The Discworld Emporium, but also that at some time in the near future, we will be able to purchase deeds for real estate in the great city of Ankh-Morpork; complete with a bill of sale and detailed description of each property being sold. I have already informed the proprietors of my desire for a choice and historical piece of property in the most exclusive environs, and expect to soon be able to direct everyone to the new address of Ms. Snake Eyes Burke, Esq.
That concludes my news of Discworldian festivities to this point. I hope you have been at least slightly diverted by my report.
With all sincerity and fond wishes,
Ms. Emily S. Whitten, Esq.
a.k.a. Snake Eyes Burke
Postscript: As per our continuing correspondence, please Servo Lectio!
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold