phenomenal Flashback Weekend

Kind readers,

I have so many things to share with you… Let me start with this one: Outlaw in the Land of Perfection is now available as an e-book!

To Download to your iPad:

Click Download to transfer your eBook (ePub or PDF) to your iPad.
Click Open in… to select a previously downloaded eReader application. Or, click Open in “iBooks” to add the eBook directly to your iBookshelf.
Tap the book on your iBookshelf to start reading.

To Download to your Nook:

Click Download to transfer your eBook to your Nook.
Click the Nook button and select Library from the Quick Nav bar.
Select My Stuff and choose My Files from the dropdown list.
Select the My Downloads folder and tap the book title to start reading.

The novel will soon be available on Kindle as well; I’ll be letting you know as soon as it is 🙂

Last weekend, I went to Flashback Weekend in Chicago, and it was an incredible convention; a wonderful weekend. Here’s what I wrote about it over on Livejournal…

moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness

My most precious ones,

now that I’m starting to feel a little more rested after all my latest adventures, allow me to share them with all of you 🙂

First, though, last night I was so saddened to learn of Robin William’s passing. I had gone into the kitchen to get something, and my better half told me, and I said, “What?! Why?? What happened? Oh, no. Aw, crap.” He didn’t know, so I went back on Twitter, and my feed had exploded with the news. Everyone was sad. The dear man. I can understand the distress he experienced, having felt its sharp sting when I was younger; I hope with all my heart that he’s at peace now. I need to watch Good Morning Vietnam… I have very fond memories of seeing it in the theater, and it’s one of my favorite films that he did.

This made me even more grateful for the very happy times I had during Flashback, and for all the love that was going around at this convention. So I’m going to tell you about it now. As Mr. Englund once said during an interview, “life goes by fast.” And life can be crazy and bewildering. It’s important to enjoy the moment, and to be grateful.

Here goes. I won’t put this behind a cut.

On thursday morning, my taxi was fifteen minutes late, which stressed me out a bit, and on the way to the airport I felt tearful because I was somewhat overwhelmed by the adventure I was undertaking. But once I’d arrived at the airport, gotten my boarding pass and gone through security (there was hardly anyone waiting, and the process went very quickly; I wasn’t scanned, and no one even touched me), I began to feel much more relaxed. The direct flight area of the airport is smaller than the rest of it, and it was tranquil. I went to the restaurant there, ate fish and chips, and then sat quietly while listening to my iShuffle.

Then we boarded the fairly small plane—two seats on one side, one seat on the other—and we took off for Chicago. As always, I was mesmerized by the clouds… There was a little turbulence at times, but on the whole it went smoothly and the next thing I knew, we were in Chicago.

The airport was immense. I’d never seen so many planes in my life. Planes were constantly landing or taking off. I made my way through the airport without problem, however, and soon found myself aboard the hotel shuttle bus. A big sign said, “Welcome to Chicago, we’re glad you came.” A good start, I thought! I was curious about everything I saw.

When we reached the Crowne Plaza, I checked in and headed straight for my room, which was beautiful and immaculate. I meticulously set out the things I needed in the bathroom and bedroom then went to the store on the first level (where the lobby was) to get snacks, because there was only a fridge in the room (I was like Patsy in Ab Fab: “No bloody mini bar!!”). I returned to my room, ordered room service (spaghetti), and relaxed for the rest of the day. I called my mother and my better half to let them know I was fine; also I needed to hear my better half’s voice before more adventures began. As luck would have it, there was a Mythbusters marathon, so I watched that while curled up beneath the very cozy duvet.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. The next morning, I ate a generous breakfast then rested for a couple more hours; I got up around noon. I showered, dressed, and headed for the registration counter. There was a long line leading up to it, but it didn’t matter because I got into many wonderful conversations with the people who were near me, especially my new friends James and Jennifer who were there with their two year old daughter Kaylie (she was wearing a crocheted, sleeveless Freddy dress, and she had a little crocheted Freddy glove on her hand! She was perfectly adorable). I also spoke with a young woman who was dressed as a “Freddy-ette”—lovely young woman. She had Freddy-type makeup on half of her face and had also met Robert Englund once. At one point, one of the organizers came to her, because Robert Englund had asked him to find a few Freddy-ettes to accompany him on stage later that day, and needless to say the young woman looked like she was ready to pass out when she shared the news with us! I said, “No, no, we’ll be rooting for you! You’ll be great, it’ll be fine!”

To my immense surprise, someone then asked if I was Logospilgrim, and I said yes. It was a loved one from the Harry Potter fandom, Ann, whom I’d never before met; she gave me a silver heart bookmark, which touched me very much.

There were a number of Potter fans at the convention, in fact; my Professor Snape ink got as much love as my Robert Englund ink did.

James and Jennifer had never met him, and James said that he thought he’d cry when the time came! I felt a kinship with them both right away; they were so friendly and funny and cheerful. The little girl really liked the ink on my leg and kept trying to touch it. Throughout the weekend, James, Jennifer and I hooked up whenever we saw each other (and we’d say, “We’ll meet at [event whatever]”) which made me very happy and made the convention really special and joyful.

It took about an hour and a half to get to the registration desk, where I got my t-shirt and badges and lanyards etc. I returned to my room to sort everything out, then put on the convention t-shirt so I’d be wearing it during the photo op that would be taking place later in the afternoon. Then I went to the dealer’s room, where those who’d gotten tickets for said photo op were waiting for the call to get in line.

The convention was filled with nice people, creative, unique people, quite laid back, an adult crowd. It was a great environment and I felt at home.

The announcement was made for the first group of people to get in line for the photo op (I was in that group), so I headed over to the location. While I was in line, I met two wonderful young women (whose names alas I can’t recall). One had her hair in curly blonde pigtails, and she was vivacious and so funny, and her friend had long brown hair and was so sweet. Of course, whenever I shared the sweater story and Ottawa Comic Con and all that, well goodness there was a lot of joy and squeeing. Often people would say, “Can I touch it?” and needless to say I’d reply, “Sure!” Another lovely fellow said, “Oh man, never sell it!” and another charming fellow (who was there with his step-dad I believe) asked if he could take a picture with me, and naturally I agreed.

So then we arrived in the room where Robert Englund was. The pictures were taken very quickly, as there were so many of us; he had a few seconds to set up the photo. The photographer then said, “One, two, Freddy!” and snapped the picture and said, “Next!” As we came around the curtain behind which Robert was, I saw him sitting there—they had him on a high stool with a cushion—I gasped when I saw him in the makeup, goodness. Seeing him in this makeup on film, and seeing him right there in person while he’s wearing it, is not the same at all. You could see how, I mean… He was encased in it, this thick stuff, it encompassed his whole head and neck… To me it looked like it would be difficult to wear. And he exchanged words with the photographer and it was quite surreal.

Then someone nudged me and I saw that Mrs. Englund was there to my right, standing next to the wall, and she wanted to take a picture of my calf with her cell phone. She said, “That looks very recent” and I replied, “Oh, you took photos of it in Ottawa, remember Mrs. Englund?” (and I thought, egad, that was silly! She takes hundreds of pictures of ink and couldn’t possibly remember them all), and she nodded and smiled and snapped some photos and said, “Thank you.” Such a warm, beautiful woman.

And then it was my turn to have the photo taken. Eep!

I went to him, with my hands against my chest you know, and he looked at me and gently said, “Oh, it’s you! Hello there.” He wasn’t wearing any lenses, and his eyes looked bright green. The softness of his voice was such a contrast to the makeup he was wearing! He placed his left hand on the back of my neck, and the other (with the glove) in front of it, and the photographer took the picture.

I couldn’t imagine having my whole head and neck covered in makeup like that, goodness. I’d feel trapped! So to me, he looked vulnerable in it, especially when I was right next to him, because it went right up to his eyes, and when he blinked you could see the red makeup that had been applied on his eyelids. I felt like rubbing my eyes (which are very sensitive), looking at that. I’d read in one of his interviews that after a couple of days of filming, his eyes would start to hurt. But the makeup was very impressive; a great deal of time, effort and talent goes into it.

Afterwards, I met up with the curly blonde haired young woman and her friend, and a friend of theirs, and we all excitedly shared the special moment we’d just had. I said, “he remembered me” and then for a horrible moment thought I’d burst into tears, but I squelched the emotion and only had a few tears leak out. They said, as many others said, “How could he not remember you?” Well, shucks… I don’t know…

And then they took me to meet a friend of theirs who had a booth in the dealer’s room; an independent film-maker who currently has a Kickstater campaign for a film called “Dismembering Christmas”. When they told me this I laughed a lot and exclaimed, “Oh man, that sounds awesome! I’ll definitely help out!” I met the young man and bought a DVD of his other production, “Don’t Go to the Reunion” (“There’s gore in store for the the class of 2004” *laughs*).

You can visit his website, Slasher Studios, here.

I also met an independent writer, MP Johnson, delightful fellow, and got a book of short stories that featured one of his, Strange Fucking Stories: A Strange Anthology, and promised to come back the next day to give him one of the copies of Outlaw that I’d brought with me and to pick up a book of his, a novel that involved a boy, a pig, and psychic ham. There was no way, I told him, that I was leaving the convention without a book about psychic ham!

Now I’m having trouble remembering what happened next, I might have tried to eat a bit, I can’t remember… But soon it was time to stand in line for the show that was taking place at 9:15. Actually, I’d gone to the bathroom not long before and reassured another young woman in a Freddy-ette outfit that she’d be wonderful, that it would all go well (she looked pale, goodness). Oh, and I also talked to two lovely young people while we were waiting to enter the room, a young man and a young woman who was wearing a marvelous black skirt with white skulls on it, and I had such a pleasant time chatting with them.

I believe I was sitting with James and Jennifer, yes, yes I was. And the show started; Robert Englund was being interviewed by Svengoolie (he’s like Elvira and has a show that broadcasts B-movies. He seemed like a very likable and good-natured man). Robert was as funny as ever, even though he was really looking forward to removing the makeup—he’d been touched up just before the show—mentioning that it was starting to itch and saying, “I can’t wait to take this off” (I could well imagine!). He also mentioned that he’d had a couple of glasses of wine prior to the show, and as the dark-haired Freddy-ette told me the next day (I saw her in sitting in the lobby and went to see her, and I was so glad I spotted her there as it gave me the opportunity of saying goodbye; she was leaving later that day), she’d been nervous but the fact that he was a bit tipsy diminished her nervousness even as he played around with her brown hat and put it on his own head, and back on hers again! He talked about films and a plethora of things, as usual, and towards the end, he exclaimed, “You’re all my children now!”

After the show I went to bed because I was very tired. I did manage to fall asleep that night, thank goodness. The bed was very nice. I was warm and comfortable in it.

The next day I got up fairly early, because I wanted to be in line for the autograph session an hour before it began; I wanted to make sure I’d have the opportunity to give Mr. Englund his present, and I knew the lines would be long, and that he had a number of photo sessions throughout the day, so the autograph session would stop, start again, stop, start again. They had to turn people away in the end.

Finally they allowed us to start entering the room. He was seated at a table with his wife and the other people who oversaw the signing. He looked happy and relaxed. When it was my turn, he smiled at me and said, “Hello there, darlin’.” The first thing I did was give him his presents. He told his wife, “Oh look, presents again!” and she said, “Oh, excellent!” I guess they must have enjoyed the chocolate I had brought in Ottawa *laughs* I told him, “There’s a book that I wrote in there… But you don’t have to read it!” I mentioned the Freddy Krueger cufflinks and he was thrilled. He pointed at the rolled up poster and asked what it was, and I said it was the book cover, and he nodded and said, “Thank you so much! I love the bag” (it also had the book cover on it).

Then I gave him the makeup photo that was taken the previous day to sign. When he and Mrs. Englund saw it, they both laughed and said they thought it was adorable. He said, “I love it when people go along! You gotta make a face!” and wrote “Together again” on it. I thanked him and goodness, I was somehow more tongue-tied than I was the first time I met him. I told him how much the staff at Planet Ink had loved the autographed photo I’d asked him to sign for them, and he was very happy about this. Mrs. Englund said, “But no Freddy ink still!” I smiled shyly and said, “But I have this though,” referring to my left hand. The fact that I’ve been wanting to get the glove inked somewhere kind of escaped my mind, and I forgot to mention it!

I gave him my Fear Clinic poster to sign, and he said, “Oh, I haven’t seen that one!” and I said that it had been sent to me from England. I said, “Thank you, sir” again, and shook his hand, and he kissed the back of mine again, which I really didn’t expect him to do since he’d already done it twice… He’s just so kind.

After that, I went back to the dealer’s room where I brought a copy of Outlaw to MP, and I made sure not to leave without a copy of the psychic ham story. I then met another writer, Chris Ringler, and got a copy of his book The Meep Sheep. We chatted and I gave him my second copy of Outlaw, and he kindly gave me a copy of another one of his books, Back from Nothing.

It was fantastic to have met all these independent creators.

Then, I got a canvas bag that had Freddy, Jason, Michael and Pinhead on it, a Freddy t-shirt (the people at the booth also gave me a bunch of stickers and buttons because “We love Canadians”)… There was so much neat stuff in that room.

You can find MP Johnson’s “weirderature” here:

You can find Chris Ringler’s books here:

You can find that great Freddy and Nancy shirt, and cool buttons and things, here:

After that I got a sandwich and brought it to my room. I could only eat part of it; too much excitement. I felt really tired. I decided that the best course of action would be to take a nap, which is what I did.

Then it was almost time for that special reception for people who had deluxe passes.

I put on my dressy clothes and felt rather smashing. Nothing like a tie, sharp pants and a vest, I tell you. It was my genderqueer/funster tomboy/delicate androgyne tribute to our favorite dream-time slasher (red shirt, green tie) 😉

I was a bit nervous, so I ordered a scotch on the rocks as soon as I got there. The barman proceeded to give me way more scotch than I could consume in one night! I barely had half of it and I was pretty mellow, let’s say. I sat down and chatted with a nice fellow from Iowa, Jay. He told me he was a reserved kind of guy, but I do believe he did manage to get a picture that evening!

Around a quarter to eight, I was thinking that Robert wasn’t going to make it for whatever reason (maybe he was busy, or something had come up), and I wasn’t sure if I felt disappointed or relieved! Ah well, I thought. But then he arrived along with his wife and other Nightmare cast members (one of the people interviewed on friday night was Robert Rustler, who played Jesse’s friend Ron in Nightmare 2, and the man was a laugh a minute, absolutely hilarious; the whole bunch of them were amazing).

Almost immediately, Robert Englund is surrounded from every direction, and people are asking him for pictures, taking out their cell phones and cameras. Emboldened by the scotch, j’ai pris mon courage à deux mains (I took my courage with both hands, as we say in French) and made my way towards him, trying to ignore my fears. I felt bad for even asking because he’d already been so kind, so often. But I thought, I’ll be quick and scamper off afterwards. Getting to him wasn’t easy, but I did so not long after he’d managed to get his hands on a glass of wine. I didn’t want to interrupt any conversation he was already having, you know? I didn’t want to be rude or pushy or a pest… You know.

So I finally was able to ask him, “Mr. Englund, may I have a picture?” (and I did mention that the scotch had helped me ask him in the first place). And he said sure, and I’m getting ready for a quick “I’m standing next to him with a scotch in my hand while he has a glass of wine in his” type picture. As extraordinary as such a picture seemed to me, he had something else in mind.

I handed my little Cyber-shot to a kind person who agreed to take the picture, and I’m holding my glass of scotch and preparing myself to smile for the camera. Then Mr. Englund says, “Oh wait, I love this,” referring to the ink on my left hand, which he takes in his and then… And I watch him pull my hand towards his face and place it there, on his right cheek, and I’m just… I’m absolutely gobsmacked and speechless, I’m thinking, what is he doing?! He inclines his head so that his forehead touches mine, and I can feel his beard beneath the palm of my hand, which is resting very lightly against his face. It was just unbelievable.

The flash went, and I’m smiling with a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

I esteem him greatly, as you all know, and see him as a kind of father figure in a manner of speaking, and this was just… Such a gentle, tender gesture on his part. It’s not really possible for me to write about this without crying. This was absolutely, positively nothing he had to do. I mean, allowing a person to touch your face (especially someone you hardly know), that’s a very tender, affectionate thing.

I’d always maintained a respectful distance if you will—not wanting to invade his space or be presumptuous, you know. I’m just a person who admires him and his work and all that. It’s difficult for me not to be awestruck in his presence, as I’m sure must be obvious. He’s found himself in the position of being a celebrity, but he’s also unabashedly human. As much of a delight as it’s been for me to be in his vicinity on a few occasions, I’ve not wanted to cross a respectful distance, eh? But he’s a kind and easy-going person, an informal, no-nonsense person, un bon vivant, and I think perhaps he wanted me to, uh… to cross that, uh, very formal kind of polite distance?

Or well, you know, it was just that’s he’s a kind man. Making people happy, to the extent it’s possible, clearly matters a lot to him. He always has generous things to say about anybody it seems.

After the picture was taken, he said, “That’s about as close-shaven as I’ve been in a while, like Willie was.” I said, “I was worried they’d have to shave it off!” (his beard, because of the makeup session). No he said, they didn’t have to, though they had to give it a good trim. And I said, “Thank you, sir,” and he replied, “No, no. Don’t call me sir… Call me Robert, or Mr. Englund [I think the latter was a merciful concession]. I feel like I’m a thousand years old!” Then he paused and said, “I am a thousand years old.” I said, “Oh no, s—” I barely managed to clamp down on that “sir”!

We exchanged a couple more words, I can’t remember because my brain was reeling I think, and then I said, “Bye” and “Thank you”—I really didn’t want to take up more of his time—and he said, “Thank you. You’re sweet, thank you. Thank you.”

So goodness. That was quite an unforgettable evening. I mean, whew. Mercy.

His Q&A was at 8:15, less than half an hour after we took that photo. I made my way towards the ballrooms and waited with two wonderful people I’d spoken to already (one of whom had asked me for a picture). It was very nice to talk with them. When we entered the room and sat down, I saw James and Jennifer seated ahead of us with a friend of theirs, and I showed them the picture that was taken during the reception. Their eyes widened and Jennifer exclaimed, “That is SO sweet!!!” I said, “Goodness yes, I was so surprised… It was such a kind thing to do.”

And his legend grows yet again *laughs*

The Q&A was very interesting, and he was very funny (was there any doubt?). I love listening to him speak. Again and again he’d say, “Oh, listen you guys,” and “You guys, I tell you”—earnest and open. Towards the end, there was an awkward moment when a young woman asked for an autograph instead of a question (it was her birthday) and the organizer intervened, telling her “You need to do that tomorrow,” and Robert smoothed the whole thing over, kind of erasing the moment and changing the subject completely, trying to make it so that nobody’s feelings were hurt too much.

By the time I went to bed, I was exhausted. It had been an intense day.

I had trouble sleeping anyway, however, but I still got up early on sunday morning. When I woke, I felt really homesick. I showered and got my things packed—I only had a few things left to organize by then—and I checked out. I left my bags with them, took a deep breath, and embarked upon my next adventure: going to downtown Chicago.

The taxi driver chatted all the way there, and he was charming. An older gentleman with a beard and a very thick Indian or Pakistani accent. He had a disc with Arabic script and a picture of Mecca on it hanging from his rearview mirror, and he was hilarious. He kept telling me how lucky my husband was *laughs* When we got to the Shedd, he gave me a card with his number on it and told me to call him at any time if I needed anything at all (I’d told him I was from Canada).

It was a good thing I’d gotten to the Shedd somewhat early (it was around ten or ten thirty, I forget), because two hours later, it was packed. I gasped when I saw a sticker on the front doors with a picture of a crossed out gun! I’d never seen anything like that before.

The aquarium was amazing. I saw piranhas, rays, a poison dart frog, a very large anaconda (it made me shudder; it was as big as my waist), a moray eel, a chameleon, a half-hidden giant octopus, sea kelp… A million creatures. The jellyfish were hypnotizing… And then, of course, the sharks. They were part of the coral reef exhibit, which was breath-taking. The aquariums went all the way up to the ceiling, and sometimes I felt a bit dizzy. As I stood right next to the glass where the sharks were, one made me jump, a six foot reef shark that went past me right on the other side of the glass. They were beautiful. Another favorite was the giant clam. Fascinating. Before I left, I saw the sea otters which were adorable and a lot bigger than I thought they were!

I bought a very cute stuffed sea otter. It’s holding a sea star in its front paws. I put it in a drawstring Shedd backpack and headed for the Art Institute. I’d seen the Field Museum on the way over and for some reason I mistook it for the Art Institute (the distance between the two had seemed greater on the maps I’d consulted). When I realized I had the wrong building, I decided to try and walk over. I knew the general direction it was in, so I started walking and found myself in the park—there were plenty of people and I never felt unsafe—then near the large fountain where I saw a young woman in a very, very elaborate, cloud-like wedding dress, surrounded by a large bridal party consisting of other young women in scintillating pink dresses: it was a Traveller wedding!

I asked for directions a couple of times, but I was on course the whole way pretty much. I was grateful for the wind coming in from Lake Michigan, which cooled me as I walked; it was a hot day. When I neared the Art Institute, I saw a man sitting on a ledge and calling out, “Cold water! Cold water!” with a strong, uh, Chicago accent I think it is? I got a bottle from him and thanked him, and told him I was from Canada. I said, “It was nice to meet you” and held out my hand to shake his, and for a moment there he looked somewhat bemused, but then he shook mine and said, “I’m Lou.” I said, “Hi, Lou.”

The area felt so quintessentially American. It was charming, I thought.

I then went to the Magritte exhibit and enjoyed it very much. I love the Surrealists and their love for ambiguity, their love for seeing what lies beneath the surface. They had many of his most famous paintings, including La Trahison des Images (The Treachery of Images) with its words “ceci n’est pas une pipe”. I got a couple of small souvenirs and went to the front desk. I asked the lady where I could get a cab, and she smiled and said, “They come in front of the museum, you can just flag one.” I said, “Flag a cab… I’ve never done that before.” She said, “Raise your arm and they’ll stop!”

Moments later, I successfully flagged my first cab and headed back to the hotel. It was early enough, around three o’clock, that there wasn’t much traffic.

The restaurant wasn’t open yet, so I sat in the bar area, which was “L” shaped; I sat at the bottom of the “L”, if you will. I was sorting my things in my carry-on, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Englund emerge from what I remembered was the room where he’d done his signings. I thought he’d be gone already by then! Soon after it became evident that he was in the bar some distance behind where I was sitting. The quiet corner where I’d wanted to sit became available, so I went there, out of sight, and lay my head on the back of the chair and closed my eyes; I was exhausted. I could hear bits and pieces of the rowdy conversations that were taking place at the bar, and unsurprisingly they were talking about actors, acting and movies. It was also clear that he was the life of the party over there! I knew when he’d left, because suddenly it got quiet.

Not that long after, it was my turn; the shuttle was leaving at six.

When I got to the airport, I was a bit anxious, because I wasn’t entirely sure where I needed to go. The United counters had automated devices and I had no idea how to use them. A kind United man came to my rescue and did the whole thing for me, and also found out what gate I needed to go to (one hadn’t officially been assigned yet, but he looked it up on his computer). Predictably enough, it was at the other end of the concourse. I went through security very quickly again (I went through the scanner and that was that), and limped my way over to the gate.

The flight was delayed by an hour, but I had a nice chat with two women who were heading for the Prairies. I also ate some pasta salad because I hadn’t had much to eat that day. When we boarded the plane, it was bigger than the first one I took, two seats on either side of the aisle. It was a smooth flight. When we were close to landing, I got into a great conversation with two kind fellows who were seated across the aisle from me; one of them had been to Flashback, and we hadn’t had the chance to chat there (we’d both spotted each other now and then). He and I had enjoyed the convention tremendously, and both he and the person seated next to him loved the stories I shared with them. I told the Flashback fellow’s companion that the ink on my left hand had deeper meaning; “What it says is, if you’re rejected and despised for what you are, then I’m what you are too.” Then he told me that he directed a LGBT choir, and goodness, it was a beautiful moment right there.

My better half and Potion were very glad I was back home, and so was I. I’m so tired still that I haven’t unpacked my suitcase yet! I’ve been aching as a result of lugging my bags across Chicago O’Hare too, I believe, but my right chest muscles are beginning to feel less tender.

But I wanted to share my joyful tales with you while my memory was as fresh as possible!

I’m very happy and grateful. It was a magical weekend. And I’ll say it again: Mr. Englund is such a kind man. It’s no wonder he’s so beloved.

This week will be rather quiet. Then, it’ll be writing time. That’s going to be very good.

All right. I think I need to rest! I have little to no energy left.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

 So… There you are! It was such a splendid event, I can’t begin to tell you.

I’m very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into Specimen now! I have a lot of writing in store in the coming months.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my mom at Le Café des Artistes in Buckingham, and it was extremely nice. Their delicious salmon pie was most welcome on the cool day we were having (it’s been like fall here these past few days). She liked the reception photo so much that she asked me for a wallet-sized print. She said, “Tu es tellement bien posée” (you are so well photographed), and she thought Mr. Englund looked very natural in that shot (she thought the makeup photo was impressive, but she found said makeup too frightening *laughs*).

I saw something on Facebook this week that, well… Someone was saying that they were glad they hadn’t gotten a ticket for the makeup photo session because it featured a “half-assed Freddy.” I was reminded of the time Kat Von D answered a tweet from a guy who told her he wouldn’t date a girl who liked the kind of shoes she wears (unusual and striking shoes); she said, “GREAT NEWS!!! I wouldn’t date someone like you either.” So I thought, hey, fortunately for you, you didn’t have to get this photo taken! All of us who did were very happy, though, and had a tremendous experience. It was special, and it was awesome of him to do this for everybody.

Personally, I was thrilled that Robert’s approach had been that the session would be about him, Robert Englund, wearing the Freddy makeup for the last time. Of course we all played around and had fun, but it was about him, not about Freddy as such.

I’ve had the chance to meet him, to say hello, and to thank him at two conventions so far. And each time, it was about him. I love all the roles he’s played: Freddy is great, Willie is wonderful; I loved his character in “Behind the Mask” and “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” and “Phantom of the Opera” and “Zombie Strippers” and and and. They were all terrific in their own way. But it’s not Freddy or any of his other characters that I see when I shake his hand; it’s him, the person, the versatile actor, the human being.

All right, I’ve yapped enough for now! And I need a bite to eat 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

my joys, let me tell you them

Kind readers,

June already…

I’ll be getting Outlaw in the Land of Perfection back from my editor in less than a week… It’s happening. The book will be available towards the end of the month, eep!

This is going to be the summer and fall of conventions for me. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever attend so many conventions in one year. All the passes have been obtained, hotel rooms booked, and in one case, plane tickets bought.

In August, I’ll be headed for Flashback Weekend in Chicago. I can’t wait to see horror films at the magnificent Mulvico Rosemont theater, meet more indie writers and artists, make more new friends, and say hello to Mr. Englund again… I’m planning to wear a nice suit at the VIP cocktail party! For a little Krueger flavor, I’ll have a green tie, a red shirt, and Freddy cufflinks 😉 I’ll also be bringing copies of Outlaw with me.

In September, it’ll be Montreal Comic Con, or Montreal HorrorFest to be more precise. Once again, I’ll be most eager to meet independent creators (especially Sv Bell, whom I was unable to find at Ottawa Comic Con due to the immense crowds and confusing booth locations). And I’ll have not one, but three gloves for Mr. Englund to sign…

The Rubie’s Deluxe version, which I added to my Englund collection only last week:

I’m amusing myself with it here… My hand is a bit too small for it!

It’s currently resting on top of my Freddy sweater. That’s how I’ll be displaying it. You might say it’s guarding the sweater.

Then, I’ll have the highly detailed NECA 1984 replica:

And lastly, the NECA Dream Warriors glove, which will be available in July:

So, it took me 30 years to acquire a glove, but soon I’ll have three! It’s an excellent way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Nightmare film, not to mention meeting this gracious man after having dreamed of doing so for such a long time.

I’d thought I’d only do the autograph line once in Montreal, but now, seeing as I’ll have three gloves, I’m prepared to wait more and stand in line three times (it’s only fair… I don’t wait to make other people wait too long! More things: more waiting. Not that I mind!).

In October, I’ll be heading for Monster-Mania in Maryland. Hopefully, I’ll have copies of Specimen ready by then. Not only will I have the chance to take part in yet more horror shenanigans, but I’ll be having lunch and dinner with friends who live in the area, and I’m very happy about this.

During Flashback and Monster-Mania, I’ll be pestering Mr. Englund for his autograph on the following medium-sized posters:

Thank goodness he’s so patient and generous!

All of these will be hanging in a corner of my office, an area I’m calling the Robert Englund Museum 😉

Here are two pieces I’m very fond of:

I’ll also definitely be getting photo ops at each of these conventions, meaning, of course, more signatures… The poor man *laughs* I will be giving him a set of those Freddy Krueger cufflinks, that’s for sure. In Montreal, I’ll sneak some ChocoMotive chocolate mice to him too (ChocoMotive, an incredible chocolate shop in Montebello, recently won an award at the 28th Grand Prix du tourisme Québécois; their chocolate is exquisite).

As I wrote on my other blog, we’re so fortunate that he has such appreciation, respect and affection for fandom culture and fans in general, and his fans in particular.

And he’s just plain adorable. A heart of gold.

This summer, apart from writing like a maniac, I do plan on wandering around the market on a regular basis. Like I did last year, I’ll be filling my basket there with fresh fruit and vegetables, and I’ll be consuming many plates of one of my favorite dishes, the curried chickpeas at Shafali.

Look at the deliciousness… Look at it!

I’m always happy after I’ve had this dish.

Also, I’ll be having plenty of these… Lovingly made coconut bubble tea with chocolate bubbles at Sérénithé. I tell you, it’s so fabulous, I simply can’t get enough of it.

Next week, I’ll be going to the National Arts Center where I’ll have the opportunity to listen to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 being performed by a live orchestra. I doubt I’ll be able to hold back my tears during the 4th movement, a piece of music I’ve adored ever since I saw A Death in Venice at the ByTowne many moons ago. It’s going to be an incredible experience.

And I’m very much looking forward to the first issue of The Dying Breed, a comic created by my friend E.J. Cedric! It looks like it’s going to be phenomenal.

So, all in all, it’s a wonderful start to the summer season 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

Thank you, Mr. Englund, for being such a kind man

Kind readers,

I am still under the influence of the adrenaline that’s lingering in my veins after Ottawa Comic Con this past weekend. Goodness. What an event it was! And what a dream come true it was.

I think that the simplest way to tell you about it all will be to share the posts I wrote on my Livejournal yesterday and the day before. These are stories that are very much worth repeating! Also, I’m exhausted 😉

So, here we go…

Saturday, May 10th 2014

My most precious ones,

there is one day left of Ottawa Comic Con, and already I have so much joy to share with you that I hardly know where to begin. It’s just been… incredible.

So far, every day I’ve had conversations with one delightful person after the other. Any time I was standing in a line, or sitting somewhere, I was having a laughter filled exchange with groups of friendly, smiling people. The enthusiasm that emanated from the convention was palpable; it was thick, electric. You could feel it in the air. There is such amiableness, good-will and camaraderie. It’s amazing. And the staff has been like this also, helpful, funny, and reveling in the whole experience.

I am so grateful to everyone I’ve encountered. So much kindness; such heartfelt joy.

I even met a fellow independent author, Jen Frankel, whose book Undead Redhead I immediately added to my library. I hope to say hello again to her tomorrow (I couldn’t find her booth today; the crowds were immense). I ran into the lovely sister of an old high school friend, who was there with her husband and children; her husband is an artist, and has a booth there. I bought some of his art today (a picture of Charlie Brown dressed as Freddy Krueger! I got a second print for a certain kind Mr. Englund, and I’ll give it to him tomorrow).

I had put a special binder together for the event: it contained copies of the letters Fangoria sent me when I won Freddy’s sweater in 1987, copies of the Fangoria article that announced the winners of the contest, and all my original autographed photos of Robert Englund. Again and again, someone would say, “That’s an amazing Freddy sweater!” Then I would show them the letter, which I had right on the cover of the binder, and eyes would grow wide, exclamations would be uttered, and marvelous conversations would result.

Yesterday, I was wearing said sweater; today, I had it wrapped around my shoulders. I was so tired today—I barely ate yesterday, and barely slept last night—that I changed my plans and didn’t cosplay. I don’t think I will tomorrow either. I’m just too overwhelmed by everything to do so this time… I think you’ll understand why by the end of this post! I don’t have the energy required, and I’m also too much in a daze, I think! There’s been too much to absorb.

Yesterday, I was there with my friend and neighbour Pierre, or my little brother as I call him. We had such fun, and it was his first convention. A trial by fire, goodness, because he finds large crowds difficult and tends to be shy. Fortunately, on friday things were “quieter,” if one may put it that way. He got his picture taken in the DeLorean, and we admired the Ghostbusters’ car.

Then we parked ourselves in the VIP line for Robert Englund’s booth. We were almost the first in line. There were two lines, one for those who had this special pass, and one for those who didn’t, and soon both of these were growing and growing and growing. Pierre and I were having lively conversations with the people behind us, and once they’d heard my tales, they were eager to see what would happen; I told them, “I promise I won’t take longer than three minutes or so, and I’m really grateful for your understanding!” and they said that they didn’t mind at all if it took a little while, considering, well, considering! I was grateful for their kindness, and it was such fun to laugh with them.

So finally, he appeared, and goodness. He had a coffee in one hand, and a cookie in the other, and he munched away, looking energetic and rearing to go and… Goodness. I couldn’t believe it was him standing right there. Suddenly I felt fifteen years old again, or younger actually. I felt like a small kid. He took his jacket off and sat down, and his wife was with him which made me so happy. At one point she rubbed his shoulders in a very affectionate, encouraging way and it was so sweet to see. She put all the photographs they’d brought on the table.

And then, the autograph session began. We were told by one of the staff that photos weren’t allowed—there were signs on the backdrop, too—and I think they were attempting to ensure the session wouldn’t, well, last indefinitely! Which it probably would have if any candid shots had been allowed. But I didn’t care that candid shots weren’t allowed. I was beyond caring. Pierre had been holding my camera, in case a picture of the ankle signing could be taken, but I told him to put it back in my bag, “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.”

Robert Englund was sitting there, and that was all that mattered. Besides—well, more in a moment!

He was smiling and exactly as I’d seen him in a number of videos when he’d signed photos or what-have-you.

And the next thing you know, it was my turn. The people behind me had kindly offered to catch me if I was too overcome *laughs*

I had thought, if I only have the chance to give him his gift and say thank you and have my things signed, that would be fantastic.

So I stepped to the table, and I held out my binder and said, “Mr. Englund, would you like to take a look at this?” And he smiled and took it and started reading, and then his eyes widened and he looked at the sweater I wore and said, “Oh, is that one of them? This is amazing!” And he opened the binder, and I said, “Sir, that’s the photo I was sent, and this is the Fangoria article that has the little thing I wrote…” And he said, “Oh, I remember this!” And he started talking about the photographer who took the first photo in the article (he was sitting by a fire, in full makeup, wearing a loose tank top—because someone had taken Freddy’s sweater away!).

And I showed him the pictures he sent me when I was younger, and he kept exclaiming his delight and he said, “Oh, The Unspoken Truth!” and talked about his co-star and I could barely keep up with him, I was just so… goodness. And then he said, “Oh, I remember… I remember this… Because you have that “h” in your name… I hadn’t written Nathalie with an h before then…” And he said, “Thank you so much for bringing all this” and other things, goodness… And now I can’t remember the particular order of things, but I’ll tell you about all of them. I think that first I asked him to sign his book, and he said, “Oh, that’s the British edition!” and he talked and he talked and oh my gosh, and at the same time he started drawing that little Freddy caricature of himself that he does. I said, “Oh, you’re doing the little drawing!” and he told me that he always did the drawing when he signed a copy of his book. And I think he was, goodness, I don’t know, he was dedicating the book and somehow he missed the second “a” after the “h” (I guess he was so focused on the latter!), and I said, “It doesn’t matter, sir,” and he replied, “No no no, I can still put it in there!” Then I handed him the tube that contained my Zombie Strippers poster, and he was having trouble opening it, so I did it for him, and after he unrolled it, I said, “Mr. Englund, would you put something on it? Would you put ‘Fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen?’ on it?” So that’s what he did, and he was amused, and added “Ian” (the name of his character in the film), and his signature underneath. Oh, and he started talking again, and he said, “You know, about that movie, it’s such a shame because the girls were so funny, and a lot of that stuff didn’t make it in,” and I said, “Yes, sir, they were hilarious—they were wonderful.” He said so many things I’m not sure I can remember them all! And he also gave me a postcard for his website, and he gently said, “And here’s my website” and I can’t remember… It was all so much to take in.

So then I showed him the ink on my left hand, and he took it in both of his and ran his thumb across the back, and said how beautiful it was and how much he loved it, and I told him it was based on a screengrab of his hand in V: The Final Battle, and he said, “Oh yes, this happened in scene such and such,” and I said, “No, sir… It was, remember, it was when they were angry and ripped the skin off to show Harmony what he was,” and he said, “Oh yes, when they were mean to him,” and then he started talking about Kantemir because the actress who played Harmony is in it, and I told him that I couldn’t wait to see it, and then he said that he wasn’t sure about the directing in that film, and I said, “Oh, no sir, it’ll be awesome, I’m dying to see it.”

And then I told him I had some ink for him to sign, and he excitedly said, “Oh! You have some ink!” And he called, “Nancy! Nancy!” (his wife had gone behind the curtain to do some thing or other), and she came out and he told her she’d be taking pictures, and she was smiling and I shook her hand and said, “Hello, Mrs. Englund… Thank you for coming” and I was so happy. So then I asked if I could go ahead and put my leg on the table, and did so, and they were both amazed by Tiffany’s portrait; Mrs. Englund took a few pictures of it, and then Mr. Englund took my hand, and asked her to take pictures of it as well, and he said, pointing at my fingers, “See, there’s even…” and she said, “Yes,” and they were really taken with the ink on my hand and goodness.

So then he very carefully signed my ankle; he was very meticulous about it, very delicate.

Then he thanked me again and we shook hands and I said, “Oh, sir, I have something for you,” and I gave him the bag and said, “Happy birthday” and I think he was surprised and said, “Oh, it’s only in a month!” and I said that it didn’t matter. And he started going through it right away, and he smiled when he saw the heart and he took the book out and I said, “Oh, sir, you don’t have to look at it now,” and he said, “I’ll just flip through it a bit” and said, “Oh, this is great! Thank you so much.” And then we shook hands again, and to my astonishment, I mean, the next thing I knew, he brought my hand to his lips and to say that I was touched beyond belief would be an understatement. I hid part of my face with my hand as I often do when I’m touched and said, “Oh, sir.” It was such a sweet and kind thing to do, and I hadn’t even imagined he’d do anything like this.

And I think that our whole exchange had delighted the ones who were waiting to get their autographs—there were a lot of smiles—and I walked away a little distance and told two of the staff girls who’d been watching, “Oh, goodness, he kissed my hand”—I was blown away—and they said, “Yes!” and then, “That was such a sweet thing to do,” but they were referring to the fact I’d brought him a gift, and… Well, I thought, you know, how could I not? He just gives and gives.

I was really in a daze by then.

Pierre had his own things signed, and then we both had to eat.

And then, another thing happened, goodness.

Pierre had also brought a Jason mask, because he’s a big fan of Kane Hodder, who’s played Jason more often than any other actor (there’s been a couple of others, but he’s the one who’s identified the most as Jason). I wasn’t getting anything signed, but I was in the line with Pierre, and while he was getting the mask signed, I was in a conversation with a fellow who’d also participated in that Fangoria contest for Freddy’s sweater all those years ago (what are the odds?!).

So when Pierre was done, Mr. Hodder looked up and thought I was getting something signed too, but I was smiling and shaking my head a bit, and he was very funny because I was standing there in a Freddy sweater. And he was mock offended and said, “Don’t I even get a hello at least?!” and I said, “Oh, you’re so sweet, sir,” and he had my hand in his grip of steel (clearly toned down quite a lot). So later, I went back, because he’d shaken my hand, and I said, “Sir, you know, you were so kind to shake my hand and Freddy and Jason are friends, so I have to get your photo,” and then I showed him the Fangoria letter, and his eyes went all wide and he said, “Oh my God, that’s so cool!” And he looked at the sweater and said, “That’s definitely his” and “Does his know about this? Have you seen him yet?” and I told him yes and part of what had happened, and then after he signed a picture for me (I said, “Let me get the cutest one here…” and I was talking about Jason *laughs*), he said, “Well, Robert Englund kissed your hand, so I’m going to give you a hug.” And he gets up, and this man is, let us say, very tall and built like a refrigerator, with that gruff exterior but little boy eyes. He holds me in a very powerful hug and tells the people standing in line, “That’s Robert Englund’s sweater she’s wearing!” and they said, “We know!” And as I was saying goodbye, he told me how impressed he was with the ink on my calf and then, “But, wait, where’s the Jason ink??” And then he smiled and said, “No, you’re a Freddy fan. That’s all right.” He also said what a shame it was that there weren’t photo op sessions with him and Robert Englund together, because he also had a piece of a sweater because of the movie Jason Goes to Hell, “and you know, you see the hand shooting out of the grave and that was me, with Freddy’s glove on,” and…

Goodness. It’s all so surreal, I can barely process it! I can say this: the people in the horror industry are some of the kindest people you will ever meet.

Pierre was extremely amused by that whole exchange, I can tell you.

So we ate, and not long after that, it was time for the photo op.

Once again, I met lovely people, and the session began. We went into this little closed-off area behind curtains, and they let a few of us in at at time, so the ones behind saw the ones ahead get photographed. Robert had the glove on, so he was doing the Freddy face in the pictures. He loves doing funny photos, and is very playful. Then it was my turn and he said, “Here, wait… Come here…” and maneuvered me into position, and stood behind me, and wrapped his arms around me, and once again I thought, I can’t believe this is happening. I knew he was doing the Freddy growl back there, and made a suitable “eep!!!” victim face of my own.

I am going to treasure this photo as long as I live. Everyone who’s seen it has said, “That is so awesome!”

He is such a sweet man. So kind and generous to the people who enjoy his work. I’m just completely overwhelmed.

Oh, and here’s a picture that Tiffany took after she inked his signature… I went to Planet Ink right after the photo op. She was so happy with the way he signed the ink: “He did such a good job! It’s perfectly placed… It’s got such character.” And she was so happy for me (the staff at Planet Ink adored the photo I shared above). They laughed and said, “That’s the best picture ever.”

It was when I was on the table that I noticed, for the first time, that he’d added three XXX next to his signature. It was also at that point, when she was inking, that I finally started to cry.

And mercy, I’m going to have to go to bed now, because I’m starting off very early again tomorrow. Sunday will be less hectic than today, crowd-wise (thank goodness)… I’ll be asking for more autographs, giving him more presents, and going to his Q&A, naturally (I’ll hopefully be sitting with a wonderful girl I met today while I was waiting for my photo op; she’s from New York, and the young fellow she was with was from West Virginia, if I remember correctly, but I could be wrong).

I’ll write more tomorrow. Let’s just say that more wonderful, kind things happened today. Let’s just say that he kissed my hand again (even though, goodness, the poor man looked more tired today than he did yesterday, which is not at all surprising—his autograph lines are endless), and that after we took the photo op picture… He kissed my cheek.

So… More tomorrow! I am exhausted but so grateful and happy.

Your devoted and blown away
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor
p.s. I was watching one of his films tonight, and after having met him, watching him in films has a whole other dimension. A great human depth.

Sunday, May 11th 2014

My most precious ones,

well, I spent a good portion of the evening asleep today. It’s going to be a late morning for me tomorrow, no doubt! I’ll be answering all your kind comments just as soon as I’ve had a chance to get more sleep in. I should probably lie down right now, but lingering adrenaline is making this a little difficult! So, I’ll tell you the rest of my adventures while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

I’d been told on friday that saturday was the busiest day of the convention. And they weren’t kidding, goodness.

I had almost no sleep at all on friday night—the day’s events had been so incredible—and it was very early on saturday morning that I decided there would be no cosplaying that day, and probably wouldn’t be any on sunday either; I’d underestimated how draining and overwhelming this convention would be. It was great excitement, but it came at a cost to this quiet professor of yours. The notion of simplifying my activities relaxed me, so that’s what I did.

When I arrived at the EY Center, it was around ten past eight (it takes about twenty five minutes to get there), and there was still plenty of room in the parking lot at the front of the EY. Soon, this would not be the case; the doors opened to VIP pass holders at nine, and when the regular pass holders were allowed to enter at ten, then everything went completely crazy. When I left in the middle of the afternoon, the parking lot was full, and people had to park in this field way down the road, and police officers were doing traffic control. I’d never seen such crowds.

I was rather bleary-eyed and sleep deprived, but doing not too badly. I again said a warm hello to Rob, the owner of the Comic Book Shoppe—they had a big booth in the exhibitors’ area, of course—whom I hadn’t seen in so long, and whom I’ve known for a long time. He is a very kind fellow, always with a smile. I had seen him on friday, and it was such a treat.

I was wearing a black t-shirt with that little black military coat I love, and had planned to keep the sweater folded in my bag, but then wrapped it around my shoulders because I was cold in that massive, metallic building, and it kept me warm very effectively, because it’s made of wool.

Robert Englund was doing signings at eleven, so once again I parked myself in the VIP line around an hour early. By ten thirty, the line had grown to gigantic proportions; I looked behind the spot where I stood and thought, wow. I was getting in excellent conversations with a number of people in the line, especially three women in front of me, who were so kind and funny. One of them had long, curly blond hair, and she was so hilarious, goodness. She talked boisterously, and she would say, “I’m Italian, you know!” and made me laugh and laugh. Needless to say, they were amazed by the whole Sweater Story—seeing that sweater made a lot of people happy—and the blonde woman, whose name alas I can’t recall now, started to say that I should really go first. She said, “You’re a big fan,” and I said, “He’s got a million big fans.” I shook my head and said, “No no, please go first.” Whenever I found myself at the head of a line, I would let a few other people ahead of me, because I… I found that helpful! But no matter how much I insisted, she would have none of it, and when Robert Englund appeared, they started playfully, uh, shoving me ahead of them, because honestly, they kind of had to *laughs* And I said, “No, no, he’s not ready yet!” But then he waved me ahead.

He smiled and said in a Freddy voice, “You again!” And smiled again. Although his body language was as energetic as ever, to me it seemed that there was tiredness in his eyes; he looked a little tired. But I doubt he ever lets that stop him. You could see that he was getting in major signing mode. He was talking a bit less, but was still chatty. I pointed towards the photographs and asked if it was all right if I got a couple, and duh, he said yes, so I picked two of them. He asked if there was anything I wanted him to write, and I said, “Would you make them out to Logos?” and pointed at the word on the back of my right hand. He said, “To Logoz” and I nodded, thinking, close enough, Mr. Englund! It reminded me of the way he says things like “experience”: EGGzperience. I also had the picture that had been taken during the previous day’s photo op, and which he liked. One of the pictures I chose was a portrait, a very nice portrait, and he used a gold pen for that one; almost immediately he started saying that he needed more gold pens, that the one he was using wasn’t quite doing what he wanted, and within seconds he was given a row of them. “I need gold and silver pens,” he said.

Then, as he’s signing away, I’m paying for the signatures, and the woman said, “it’s this much for the signature, and five for each photograph” (the ones on the table). And he pipes up, “Wait, no, the photo’s included.” And apparently it wasn’t, but he called for someone else who was in charge of this stuff, and this person said that the photo was extra. Robert said, “That’s not like yesterday… So that’s changed?” The man nodded, and Robert said, “Oh. Okay. So it’s different today.” He gave me the pictures and I said, “Thank you, sir.” Then he reached for one of those postcards like the one he gave me yesterday (it has a photograph of his face in makeup on it, of half his face with one eye and his nose showing; it was taken by his wife who’s a wonderful photographer), and he signed it, and gave it to me. Again I thanked him, and if we briefly talked about whatever, I can’t remember what the heck it was, but I remember that he again told me how much he loved the ink on my hand. Oh, actually, that was one of the first things he said, now that I recall, because I’d told him I’d had his signature on my calf inked on friday evening, and that Tiffany had been impressed by how well he’d placed it, and by how much character his signature had. But he just deflected the compliment by talking about the ink on my hand instead!

Before I left, I said, “I have something for you, sir,” and gave him the bag of chocolates. He laughed and said, “Oh! I’d run out of chocolate!” and began rummaging in it, and laughed again when he saw the one that had a Canadian flag on it. And we shook hands, and he kissed mine again, and there was an “Aww!” from the people who were standing in the line. And I bashfully scampered away. It was, again, a very kind gesture… Very, very kind. Not anything he had to do.

I grabbed a bite to eat—I managed to eat some chips with half a sandwich—and I headed for the photo op line. There I yet again met lovely people, one of whom was a very sweet young woman from New York, Sarah (who emailed me a copy of her great Eaten Alive fan art later that day). Then it was time for the photo; I had her and her friend go first, and then it was my turn.

I was undoing the sweater around my shoulders and I saw the wheels spinning in his head; he was very quickly thinking of ways to do fun pictures. He was wearing a glove again (I think he must almost always have one on during these photo ops), and he took the sweater from me and said, “Here, we’re going to do this…” and he wrapped one of the sleeves around my neck, and just, well, had me trapped pretty much *laughs* And we took another very funny picture.

He gave me the sweater back, and I said “Thank you, sir,” and he surprised me again: he gave me a quick peck on the cheek. If someone had told me before this weekend that he’d do something like that, I would have said, “Right!” It was so unexpected, and again, extremely sweet of him… I think the expression on my face must have been priceless. I told Sarah and her young friend, “He just gave me a kiss on the cheek,” and she said, “I know! We saw it! I was so excited for you! He must really like you.” And I shook my head and, you know… He’s just a kind man, and warm-hearted, and impulsive I have a feeling!

Massive lines there, also.

So I made my way out of the building, which was kind of a Herculean task because it was thronging with people, and by some miracle came across the both where the husband of my high school friend’s sister was selling his artwork. This made me quite happy. He told me that even he’d had trouble finding his own booth! He had done this funny piece of art, with Charlie Brown dressed as Freddy, and I got one for me, and one for Mr. Englund (he had to have one of these!). Then I left, because I wanted to escape the parking lot a long time before this gigantic crowd began leaving, and also because I was so tired that I was getting cross-eyed.

I did fall asleep around six o’clock after eating something with my better half, who was happy I’d been having such a fantastic time.

Before I went to bed, I hoped that Robert was getting some rest after what must have been a very exhausting day. I was in for a surprise the next morning.

It took me a while, but I did fall asleep last night, and got a few hours of shut-eye. I was tired this morning, but a bit less than yesterday. I knew that sunday would be less insane than saturday, crowd-wise, though still busy of course. I got to the EY around twenty-five past eight, and there was a bit of a delay, so after another lovely chat with people I’d met the day before, very nice people, we entered the building around nine twenty I think. I made my way to Robert Englund’s booth, and once again chatted with friendly fans who enjoyed the sweater. Then ten o’clock came, and he wasn’t there yet. This time, he was late. Ten past ten, twenty past ten, ten thirty… I was starting to worry that he was even more exhausted than I’d thought he’d be. It didn’t matter to me that he was late; heck, I would have waited as long as necessary! But I hoped he was okay.

So finally he arrived, and he looked fine, thank goodness. He smiled when he saw me (well, he smiles when he sees anybody, right?), and I asked him if he would sign the photo from the day before. He said, “That came out nice… See, it’s good because we can see all the ink on your arms there.” And he said, “You look cute there.” And I said, “So do you, sir.” He scribbled a bunch of things on it (he put an arrow next to my hand and wrote, “Willie was here” and also wrote, “Let’s neck! Freddy” above his signature). I also asked him to sign a blank book of mine, so he immediately began to draw again, and I said, “You’re well this morning, sir?” He proceeded to tell me that there had been some merriment with Bruce Campbell the night before. I laughed and said, “Is that what it was?” and I stammered, “You… naughty thing you!” He said, “I should have drunk more water!” I was absolutely floored. Holy crap, where does this man get his energy?! He did apparently sleep past his alarm this morning or something, but I was so sure he had nodded off soon after the day’s activities were over yesterday. Then again, he’s an extravert with a capital “e” and it’s not surprising that his idea of rest and relaxation would involve socializing. Not to mention that him and Bruce Campbell and a few drinks, well, that must have been more fun than half a dozen barrels of monkeys! I didn’t meet Bruce Campbell this time—my attention was fully elsewhere—but he seems like a riot, a very lovely man. Yesterday I saw him wearing a bright yellow jacket, and today, it was bright blue. He’s a colorful, exuberant fellow.

So anyway, apparently, last night there was some merriment (who wouldn’t need to let loose after being surrounded by monster crowds all day? Especially those two, goodness), and I said, “It’s fine, sir, it’s understandable” (that he was late and that there had been a few too many drinks), “I’m just glad to know you’re all right!” Then I asked him to dedicate a photo to everyone at Planet Ink, a Freddy picture, and he wrote, “Tat THIS, bitches!” (they’re going to be so stoked, oh my gosh).

Then I gave him the Charlie Brown drawing, telling him who had done it, and he loved it. Then I handed him the Lush bag and he said, “Oh! What am I getting today?!” The box was wrapped and tied with ribbon, and he said, “I won’t open it now,” and I said, “Oh, no sir, it’s fine.” We shook hands and he smiled that warm smile of his. Then I went to the photo op area, because the session was at noon.

The lines were less long today, and the picture taking went more swiftly. I did manage to summon up the nerve to ask for something specific. He’s so fast that I spoke before he’d done more than open his mouth, and I said, “Mr. Englund, would it be all right if we did the Visitor handshake?” He said, “The Visitor handshake…” He was drawing a blank (I think he only did this twice during the whole series). “How does that go again?” I said, “Like this,” putting my two palms together and entwining my fingers. He said, “So you don’t want…?” referring to the glove, and I gave a little shake of the head, so he went right ahead and took it off, which he had to do if we were going to do that handshake. I thought, oh, I’m giving him needless trouble! because it’s a bit awkward, removing that thing, but he clearly didn’t mind, the man is always up for anything (as he said at the beginning of his Q&A, “Ask me anything”), especially when it comes to delighting people who enjoy all that he does. So we do this handshake, and he puts on the most hilarious Willie expression, and I’m standing next to him, looking amused and kind of exhausted *laughs*

Later on, he would sign this “Willie, the friendly Visitor.” Oh, goodness, he’s adorable. And he has lovely hands, compact but very expressive, with small fingernails.

It was good that the sessions were moving promptly, so he’d have time for a somewhat leisurely lunch before the Q&A.

I then went to scrounge up something to eat. I had onion rings; not the healthiest of meals, I know, but I didn’t have much brain power at that point. I thought, yeah, that’ll do. I also managed to find Jen’s booth again (the author of the book I mentioned yesterday, Undead Redhead), and she was so lovely. I’m really looking forward to reading her book. I showed her the photo op pictures and she thought they were all so sweet; her eyes got misty and she splayed her fingers against her chest.

Here’s her book:

Not long after, I lined up for the Q&A, where there were requests for photos of my calf ink. Ah, yes: there were many such requests throughout the weekend. People were amazed by it. Rightly so, because it’s amazing! Then we went inside the Great Big Hall, and I saw Sarah, and we happily sat together, front row and center, right before the stage. She said, “Are you going to ask him a question?” and I said, “Oh no, I’ll be glad just to sit here and listen to him talk for an hour.”

When he arrived, there was a great deal of cheering. He’d put his jacket back on over the blue sweater he wore, and goodness, he’s not a large man. I think this is one of the many things that make him so accessible. He’s like a… small bouncing ball of joyful energy. He put his leather bag on the floor, and he sat down on the chair that was there for him, though he wouldn’t be sitting for very long, I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear! He began by talking about two of his upcoming films, then he said, “Okay, that’s enough of this egotistical stuff… Let’s have some questions!” He stood (he did so, and moved around a lot, during the whole hour). He shared some stories I’d heard before—not that I minded this in the least—and was funny and gracious and knowledgeable. He also shared things that were new to me. It was so nice to hear and watch him speak. When he was done and we were applauding him, he waved his hands and shook his head, as if to say, no, no, stop, it’s nothing. He walked off the stage but had to come back, because he’d forgotten his bag!

He had a signing right after, so after saying goodbye to Sarah, I hastened to the other end of the convention center (I wanted him to sign the picture that had been taken earlier). Almost as soon as I reached the place, he arrived as well. It was his last signing at this convention, which was wrapping up, and so it was going quickly, to make sure he’d get to everyone I imagine (during his other signings, this hadn’t been possible). This time, they had us in a kind of chain at his table. I grabbed another one of his photos, which I’d shared here on livejournal and found so lovely. As he was signing, I said, “How did you get here so fast, sir?” and he mentioned a shortcut that the center has (still, he must have sprinted) and added that there was food and everything for them in those passages. He signed the photo I just spoke of and he said, “That was at the Oscars,” and I said, “It’s a beautiful photo.” He told me that he found the ink I’d shown him beautiful, “tell them at Planet Ink,” and said that the one on the back of my hand was his favorite ink among all the pieces that he’d seen at the convention. Then I told him that I’d wanted to thank him for so long, and was so happy I’d finally been able to do so, and he smiled and waved, you know, I didn’t do anything. Again we shook hands, and I looked into his eyes, which are as warm as his smile, and then I made my way back to my car, reflecting on how amazing and special and unbelievable this entire experience had been.

I’m very grateful, and very happy. And I hope with all my heart that he’ll get a bit of rest this week!

It’s also been such a profound joy to me to share all of this with you, most beloved.

And I’m so happy that every time I look up, I see “Fuck it—what’s the worst that can happen!” written in his hand on that Zombie Strippers poster of mine. And as soon as I’ve rested a bit (not much is going to happen tomorrow and the day after, mercy), I’ll be getting to work on Specimen. When I see those words on that poster, I feel so encouraged.

All right. Bedtime!

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

So, as you can see, it was quite the epic weekend. I’m looking forward to Flashback Weekend more than ever! I can’t wait to meet horror fans there, and chat with them, and hopefully meet more fellow independent authors (horror novels!), and see Phantasm and more movies at that gorgeous old theater, and of course, say hello to Mr. Englund again. He’ll be getting more gifts, because I can’t help myself, and honestly, he more than deserves them for giving so much of himself.

I’ll be resting a bit for a couple of days, and then plunging right into Specimen! I’ll also be sharing my thoughts about Undead Redhead as soon as I’ve read it 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

Ottawa Comic Con 2014 countdown

Kind readers,

this is a week of fabulousness, mercy.

Ottawa Comic Con is now only days away… Eep!!! All I have to do this week is put the finishing touches on my Mr. Confab cosplay. Presents have been bought, and I’m set to die of joy at Robert Englund’s feet 😉

I will also be meeting the wonderful Sv Bell there! I’ll be asking him to sign the two first issues of his fantastic Silverblood comic, and the first issue of Realms of Fear, which I have and which is an unadulterated horror delight.

And I want to say hello to the great Malabar folks… There will be a slew of incredible people at this convention.

To top it off, today I got a box full of treats from a lovely Twitter friend, Bricklayer Bosh, who’s the lead singer of one of the most fun up and coming horror punk bands around! Look at all the goodies!

Note: one of their songs is called “Sinister T-T-T-T-Twinkies!!!”

Click on the image below to listen to all the terrific songs on their EP, “Rise, HWhores, Rise!”:

I’ll be blasting this in the car, I can tell you.

In other news, I’m going to be turned into a zombie by the talented Byron von Rempel… Check out his Kickstarter campaign. You can be turned into a zombie too! I can’t get enough of his drawings.

Speaking of awesome campaigns, support a true champion of indie creators, Patrick J. Russell, by backing his upcoming “dark existential comedy” One Pink Muscle to Go (click on the cover):

I keep meeting the friendliest, most ardent and creative people on Twitter—authors, musicians, artists, filmmakers, enthusiasts, etc—and will be sharing more of their exciting projects in future posts 🙂 For instance, there will be news about an amazing comic book series by E.J. Cedric, The Dying Breed, a film by Crash Palace, Case #5930 —I could go on.

I’ll be starting work on Specimen very soon. I’ve written a number of notes, and the novel will be even more whacked out than I imagined it would be. Fun fun fun! And my editor is polishing up Outlaw in the Land of Perfection even as I write this.

Oh! And my copy of Heartstopper arrived today too. I’ll be watching it tonight or tomorrow!

I almost forgot: I took some self-portraits a few days ago. Author photos, right here…

Aren’t I a groovy little bugger? I’m having a good time, at any rate 😉

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

2014: a very good year

Kind readers,

last night, I finished polishing up my Outlaw manuscript, and it’s now in the hands of my wonderful editor! The book will be published in June or the start of July at the latest.

In other happy news, I recently designed a new bag for myself. It will be accompanying me on my numerous summer and fall adventures… I scanned part of my Freddy sweater, and used the image as the background.

When you have a good bag, you’re ready for anything.

Less than two weeks left until Ottawa Comic Con! My excitement levels are phantasmagorically high.

This summer, I’ll be going to Flashback Weekend in August…

If you live in Chicago and would like to join me for a meal, only ask! I always love meeting people.

In September, I’ll head for Montreal Comic Con.

Then, in October, Monster-Mania, here I come! I’m in Robert Englund heaven, I tell you. I’d like to cosplay Dr. Anton Rudolph (Python) there.

The hotel rooms have been booked, the passes obtained; I only need my plane ticket to Chicago now.

While my editor is working on Outlaw, I’ll be writing the first draft of my first horror/speculative novel, Specimen. I’m going to do my darndest so that it’s ready in time for Monster-Mania. I’m very much looking forward to writing my Dr. Gabriel Foster’s dark tale…

On the trips I told you about above, I’ll be joined by this lovely fellow:

He’s very keen to hit the road with me. He needs some fresh air and a few laughs.

My calf ink has healed beautifully; Mr. Englund looks perfect!

I also recently got this done on the back of my left hand. It’s my ultimate tribute to Willie the Visitor, and to all outsiders and outcasts:

As usual, Tiffany did a magnificent job. I am now a friendly Visitor always.

Stay tuned for a lot of fun times, shenanigans, and outrageousness! This week, I’ll be trimming my Mr. Confab beard… Watch out!

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor