Sunday I jaunted up to Pleasantville, NY for David Hartwell's 70th Birthday celebration. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that there would be a belly dancer. Inevitable, too, that when beckoned to stand up and dance alongside her, he would come through.
So it was a very pleasant time. Most of which I spent talking with friends on various matters of interest. Here's a snippet of conversation with David himself:
Hartwell: It's strange that so many writers fail to understand the extraordinary power of the third person past tense. When last I taught at Clarion, all the students came to me, very aggrieved, and said, "John Crowley wanted us to only write in third person past tense!" I told them, "That's because it works!"
Me: (Thoughtfully, because this was something I'd never realized before) It works because it's the only voice that recognizes the existence of death, the only one that acknowledges that everyone and everything is constantly being swept away into oblivion.
So if there are any gonnabe writers reading this: Crowley, Hartwell, and I are as one on this: If you're going to write anything but third person past tense, you'd better have a very good reason for it.
Or, of course, be swept away into oblivion.
Above: Rather a blurry snapshot, I'm afraid. But quite an enjoyable afternoon.