Sunday, April 29, 2007
For the last three days I've been in Portales, NM, for the 31st Jack Williamson Lecture.
This is the first lecture since Jack's death last year at the age of 98, but there was no decline in the number of professionals who came to honor Jack and to participate in the luncheon and other activities. Connie Willis was there as always, along with Ed Bryant, Melinda Snodgrass, Ian Tregillis, Emily Mah, Terry England, Steve Gould, Jack's agent Eleanor Wood, his friend and bibliographer Rick Hauptmann, librarian Gene Bundy (in charge of the Williamson Collection at the ENMU Library), university colleague Patrice Caldwell, and publisher Stephen Haffner (who published a memorial volume for the event, with profits dedicated to the Jack and Blanche Williamson Scholarship Fund). Christopher Stasheff, who had recently undergone bypass surgery, dragged himself off his bed of pain and endured a 30-hour bus ride to attend.
The memorial speeches were touching, and the other events were joyful, but they didn't make me miss Jack any less. As always, the Williamson family offered guests their vast hospitality, and had us to the Williamson Ranch for an enormous meal of BBQ brisket with all the trimmings.
There is question as to how, or whether, the lectureship can continue without Jack's presence.
Can it? Should it? And if so, how?
Ideas are solicited.