I’m here … and Portland is resplendent with Janeites! 650 to be exact! And, I am one of them. So much Janeness in one place it makes me giddy.
As I arrive in the Hilton Hotel lobby, one of the first people I see is Mags (Margaret Sullivan) of AustenBlog who introduced me to Heather Laurence of Solitary Elegance, two ladies who I have only know by online acquaintance and have long admired. Off to my room to meet my roommate Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont. More joy!
The Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual conference, Jane Austen and the Abbey, officially begins tomorrow, but we had a warm up tonight. The Multnomah County Library (in a spectacular Georgian style building) hosted a reception in their Collins Gallery (no, I did not hear if it was named after the “Mr. Collins”) honoring the libraries special book exhibit of Jane Austen first editions, rare editions and letters of her contemporaries and original Gilroy cartoons. Heather, of The Duchess of Devonshire Gossip Guide, will be happy to hear they own one of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire’s original letters, signed GD). The room was packed to capacity, not unlike the crush that our dear Catherine Morland experienced at the Upper Rooms in Bath, and a return visit will be needed to take a closer look.
At the reception I met Persuasions editor Susan Allen Ford who shared her experience editing the next online edition due out December 16th, 2010. Across the room I spotted Austenesque author Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) and b-lined to introduce myself. She is one of my authors for my upcoming Austen shorty story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Charming lady, with an equally charming husband Bill in tow. Off to dinner of pasta and Chianti at Pastini’s and then to a theatrical performance by actress Angela Barlow, “Jane Austen & Character: An Actor’s View”, who did a wonderful presentation of passages from Austen novels in character to illustrate Jane’s talent.
After the event, (and much to my delight), Syrie introduced me Laurie Viera Rigler. One of my favorite Austenesque authors who is also contributing a story to my anthology. We had a great chat, and laughed! No surprise really, considering how funny her books are. (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)
Tomorrow the conference officially begins with “Team Tilney Explains It All” featuring Team Tilney members lead by AustenBlog’s Margaret Sullivan. (Of course).
Signing off from Portland…