Our Super Secret Guest is…
by Brenda Sutton
So let me ‘splain…
We’re not superstitious, no…but the thriteenth GAFilk experienced a series of unsettling circumstances, starting with Seanan McGuire losing her origianal backup band, and culminating with a wallapalooza of an ice storm that kept many at the con for two extra days. In the middle there, our Super Secret Guest, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and and his wife Teresa found themselves unable to attend, and therein lives our tale.
Not only was GAFilk going to be Patrick and Teresa’s first filk con, but it was going to be their friend Elise’s first filk con, too. We all met “for real” in Australia at the WorldCon. (I say “for real” because I’d been communicating with and following Elise’s Live Journal since the tragic and untimely death of her dearest dear, John “Mike” Ford in 2006. Elise wrote a hauntingly beautiful love poem about their relationship that she graciously allowed me to publish in the Mythic Passages e-magazine. I urge you to go read it here, but take a box of tissues when you do. Since then, I’d been lurking over her website, watching her bravely wrestling with grief and gracefully getting on with life.) When GAFilk chose Patrick as our Super Secret Guest, he mentioned that Elise might be coming along, too. I was over the moon!
We were all looking forward to a bang-up GAFilk, hearing Patrick’s music with The Deaftones, Teresa and Elise, backing him up. Elise flew out from Minneapolis to NYC, and the three of them planned to travel down to Georgia together. Then on Wednesday night Elise suffered a stroke. Fortunately, Teresa recognised the symptoms and they rushed her to a hospital, spending the weekend and then-some at her bedside until she was well enough to travel home. Naturally, we were all worried sick, and so very sad that they weren’t coming to GAFilk, but grateful that Patrick and Teresa had been there to help. We were also very glad to learn that, because of their swift efforts, Elise suffered no lasting side affects from the stroke, and recovered swiftly. We were even happier when Patrick volunteered to come to GAFilk this year.
SO…when we started hunting for this year’s Super Secret Guest, it seemed to us that Elise was the perfect choice. The Deaftones will ride again, and you’ll finally get to meet the charming and talented Elise Matthesen. She is an exceptional jewelry artist. (Elise designed the famous tiara that graces the heads of John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award winners, including our own Seanan McGuire.) (Digression: She brought all her jewelry-making equipment Down Under for the Worldcon in Australia but, because of Customs restrictions, was not allowed to sell any of her beautiful pieces. So…she gave them away. This speaks miles to the character of this lovely woman. Not only was she just handing out her exquisite work, but, as is her custom, she was also naming each piece. At this year’s GAFilk banquet I’ll be wearing a lovely pair of amethyst crystals with silver full moons named “That Second Drink With the Man in the Moon”.)
Not only is Elise an accomplished artist, but she’s also a talented poet who writes quite a bit of parody filk, too. Check out Elise’s Live Journal for many delightful examples. She’s a fine singer, as you’ll all soon find out. When we asked her what she’d like to do at GAFilk, Elise suggested group a capella singing, and started right in compiling a songbook for us all to enjoy. What can we say…perfect fit.