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Monday, August 10th, 2009

Time Event
Message to the Unknown Fan
I was at World Con this weekend, and there was a lady who come up to me with a bag of books on Sunday, asking me for a signature. She said she had been trying to catch up with me the whole con. Unfortunately, I was about to begin a panel were I was speaking, and I dared not be rude to the paying customer seated for the panel, so I begged the lady to wait until the panel was done, when I would be more than happy to sign, and she was kind enough to agree.

I really wanted to sing whatever this fan asked, because she had at least ten of my books in her bag, which is more than my own mother bought.

Unbeknownst to me, this was scheduled as a ninety-minute panel -- which is something I had never encountered before at any convention. So I thought the panel would last until 4:30, at which time I had to leave to catch a plane back to the states. I thought I was asking her to come back at 4:30 -- but what I said was "when the panel is done". The moderator of the panel actually adjourned at 4:30 so that I (and the only other speaker there) could catch our flights.

So, if she returned at 5:00 for my autograph, not only would she find me gone, but the room would be empty. There was no place for me to leave a note, no way I could think of to contact her, and no way I could wait, because I had to catch a plane.

I am sure this lady, wherever she is in the world, now thinks I am a grade-A prime stinker who snubbed her and walked out without a thought -- but I have no way of finding and telling her that evil circumstances, and a lack of forethought on my part, conspired to part us.

I really wanted to sign those books, too. You don't know what a pleasure it is to know that someone has read a story of yours and liked it. Gratitude and humility are the only proper response.

To my unknown friend, wherever you are, I have no way to reach you to tell you I am sorry. If you ever read these words, and can ask of me what I can do to make amends, please tell me.
How do you pronounce your wife's name?
My wife is the beautiful and talented Mrs. Wright, who writes under her maiden name L. Jagi Lamplighter.

It is one of those rare names, like Galad Elflandsson or Morgan Llywelyn, that seem particularly designed to be the name of a fantasy writer.

But I am often asked, how is the middle name, "Jagi" pronounced? Is it "JA-gai" or "jay-GEE" "Ya-gee" or "Jay-jee" or "Yuu-dshee" or "Za-zee" or how?

As her husband, I can answer that question.

Her middle name is pronounced "!Kthoo-llrh-Uu-www" (accent on the !kth), as four syllables (five if you have a southern accent) with a fricative glottal stop click, followed by a subsonic echolocation whistle. The "th" here is a soft th as in "father's feather" rather than the hard th as in "these clothes". The "J" is an aspirated Samian letter, pronounced like the z as in "azure" and not like the hard "J" in "jellicose." If you are pronouncing the name correctly, first, it will sound like it rhymes with "Rybczynski" and second, all the whippoorwills in earshot will panic and take wing.

The children and I have undergone the proper vocal surgery to pronounce it correctly: the work as done by Dr. Whateley of Miskatonic University.

The name Jagi is actually Etruscan/Latverian, and refers to a type of Slavic mischievous oak-tree dryad from sub-Ukrainian mythology.

The last name "Lamplighter" of course was assigned to her by her "handler" in Section S, the Unusual Events and Persons Division of NASA's counterintelligence branch, (originally started as Air Force project Blue Book). A "lamplighter" is spook industry slang for a surveillance officer that welcomes incoming defectors. In her case, considering her background, they are not really defectors, but "Roswells".

The "family" agreed to let her write up some of the events in her life, and those of her team mates, those few that survived, provided she changed the names and sold it as fiction. Except Prospero, of course. No point in changing his name, since he had already been "outed" by Shakespeare, back when Shakespeare was working as the apprentice of John Dee, Queen Elizabeth's archimage.

In case you are curious, the "L" in front of her name is the Latin abbreviation for "fifty." This refers to her rank in the Inner Circle of Ascended Masters of the First Church of Christ, Superscientist, in Boston. The Christian Superscientists are a small offshoot of the Christian Scientists, but ones who unwisely decided to tamper with nature, and use the discoveries of Mary Baker Eddy to unlock the secrets of controlled psycho-atomic transubstantiation. This denomination was founded by Nicolai Tesla in 1899, and then again, after his horrifying time-travel accident, in 1499.

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