Princess in Curlers

Dear Mom–

I’m writing this one for you, since you’re the most avid reader of my blog…and the real reason I’ve kept it going all these years. I’m sitting here in the hotel room in San Jose with Mary Robinette, waiting for my curlers to set before I put on the big fancy white awards ballgown (thank you for helping me fix the sleeves). You should see the dress Mary’s wearing. It’s FABULOUS.

I’m nervous…are you kidding? Of course I’m nervous! My odds of winning this thing aren’t good at all–not because I didn’t write an amazing book, but because there are an unprecedented TWELVE nominees in this category. I’ve prepared myself for the worst…and the best, just in case. You know me. I work best with a plan.

But this weekend has been incredibly wonderful. All the other attending Norton nominees and I have become great friends. Sarah, Eugene and Leah are awesome — you would like them a lot. I’ve also had a few of those amazing moments when those big names off the bookshelves in the library have come to life and spoken to me as a peer. Even after all this time, that’s still a little surreal. (Yesterday, Terry Bisson told Gregory Benford “That girl knows her stuff.” GRIN.)

It’s still a fairy tale land where I live, this place where the people I have admired all my life have suddenly become my peers. And I’m allowed to wear butterflies in my hair and leave glitter wherever I go and everyone likes me for being ME, and not someone else they really wish I was.

Once upon a time, you told me to write a fairy tale. And I did. And I kept writing them until Princess Casey turned into a girl named Sunday Woodcutter and had an adventure of her own. A chapter of that adventure will end–on or off stage–at a banquet tonight on the other side of the country (*waves east*), but nothing is over. Beginnings were made here this weekend. We made them. And we will celebrate them and leave a trail of glitter when we leave.

I hope you’re proud of me, Mom. I wish you were here…but I know you’re thinking about me. You and Dad are in my heart. And I promise to go back to work on Chapter Four of BELOVED the minute I get home.

It’s 4:30 now, and I suppose should dry my eyes, take my hair out of these curlers, and begin liberally sprinkling glitter all over the bathroom.
I love you!!

3 Responses to “Princess in Curlers”

  1. Lady Hannah Says:

    Hello Princess Alethea!

    I’m curious, it ’twas YOU who wrote this letter right? So is ‘Lee’ your family name?

    Also, I wish you’d shared a picture of you in curlers with us… you’re such a bold person I’m sure you wouldn’t have minded! I have many pictures of me in curlers, I’m quite ashamed of them. But they are certainly comical. You see anytime I wear curlers I have to wear them over night. And now for the day before too because my hair is so long! So when I go shopping with my family I get to watch little kids point at me and whisper something along the lines of “look at her hair!” My brothers call me ‘Medusa’ because the curlers are so long and snake-like.

    Why this kind of sounds like a fairytale character doesn’t it! Writers can draw inspiration from just about anything… I can totally see one of the not-so-adored ladies of the story who hates being an outcast because of her hair or something… yeah I’d better stop here. 🙂

  2. Mom Kontis Says:

    Yes, “Lee” was just one of the many shortened forms of her name throughout the years. We also used Ali (Al Lee) and then there was Lee Lee, and of course, Princess. Now, we all just prefer Princess Alethea! Didn’t you have a nickname?

  3. Lady Hannah Says:

    Hello Mum Kontis!

    Ah “Ali” that is beautiful too! And no, I can’t say that I have ever had a nickname. There’s just not much my name can be shortened to. My brother sometimes calls himself what his name is spelt backwards. But as I have a palindrome for a first name, it’s the same coming and going, so I never had that pleasure. My Nana did call me ‘Hanni’ for a while but I can’t say that I cared for it. 🙂

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