Thoughts from Pamela Dean

    I was supposed to write an essay months ago for the website, but I have been finding it difficult to bring up coherent memories. Fourth Street was a great deal like disappearing under the hill, visiting the very far lands of Faerie. It was, at least, if Faerie had chocolate-covered coffee beans and a wedding party leaving at six a.m. so that the participants, including the bride and groom, could be back at the convention for the start of panels at ten; if Faerie included Samuel Delany, leaving in the middle of a panel to catch his plane home and stopping the standing ovation he was getting with the startling words, "No, no, sit down and do what you're doing. This is valuable work"; if Faerie included Jane Yolen and Patricia McKillip doing a joint guest of honor speech; if it included Patrick Nielsen Hayden standing up out of the audience and demolishing the entire premise of a panel and providing a new one, all in a paragraph; if it included a membership so involved in the programming that moderators were sometimes obliged to say they would take only questions, not comments, until later in the hour; if it included sitting around at five in the morning while music was still going on in the other room, discussing simultaneously Dorothy Dunnett, the vagaries and virtues of fountain pens, the flavors of jelly beans, and the proper use of violence in fantasy. A few local writers, both established and aspiring, used to leave early on Sunday, followed by the pleas of their friends to stay longer, because the programming had made them want to do nothing except go home and write. Cally Soukup once stayed up for 72 hours straight at a Fourth Street, because there was always somebody to talk to.