A Conversation with Dr Gwyneth Evans

by Chrissie Sanderson

Dr Gwyneth Evans is disarmingly charming as she greets me. I’m a bit breathless from the ferry trip over to Bainbridge Island, and the following drive took me down lots of winding roads. When I finally get to her cottage, she’s sitting on the front doorstep, vaping and reading a book.

She chose the cottage near Agate Point, she says, “because it reminded me of my granny’s house in Aberydyfi (that’s pronounced ‘aber-dovey’ and means, ‘mouth of the river dovey’ according to Dr Evans) from when I was small.”

Once we're inside, she invites me to have a look around.

Once we’re inside, she invites me to have a look around.

Once we’re inside, she invites me to have a look around. My photographer is having a field day with all the first editions of classic science fiction and fantasy that grace the bookshelves, but I’m more interested in where it all came from.

She explains that the books were shipped over from the UK when she started her visiting professorship at the University of Washington three years ago. “Everything else I found at antique shops, well, except the artwork on the walls: that’s my hobby when I have free time.”

“So you’re a painter as well?” I examine the large framed work on the bare wall to my left.

“Not really. Some are altered photographs from an online game,” she admits. “I spend time playing dress-up online and making pictures.” She shrugs. “A couple of them are photographs that I digitised years ago, mostly from the time I spent playing LARPs when I was a kid.” She laughs. “Of course, at my age, everybody feels like a kid. I turned 60 this year; can you believe that? I can hardly believe it.”

“So a milestone year for you,” I say as I take a look at her cluttered desks. “What time will you be checking in to the Hyatt?”

She checks her watch. “Probably around four, I think; I need to get some rest time in before opening ceremonies.”

“How does it feel to be a Guest of Honor at a Worldcon?”

“It’s exciting. I’ve been attending Worldcons since….” she pauses to think. “I guess my first one was Glasgow in 2005? I would have been, what, nineteen?”

“Wow, every single Worldcon since 2005? That’s 41 years of World Science Fiction Conventions. You must have seen a lot of stuff.”

“Well, I missed a couple,” she admits. “I was in a terrible car accident when I was 21 and I lost a leg. Took a lot of work to get back in to the swing of my studies and my teaching after that. I was in a wheelchair for 15 years before they developed the technology to rebuild limbs. Now most people say they can’t even tell.” She lifts her skirt to show me the implant marks on her right knee. “Looks like a zipper, right?”

I laugh. “How many Hugos have you won?”

“Six,” she says without missing a beat.

By this time, we're comfortable ensconced on her couch.

By this time, we’re comfortably ensconced on her couch.

By this time, we’re comfortably ensconced on her couch. “And you’re teaching creative writing and the history of science fiction and fantasy?”

“That’s right. When you’re as old as I am, you get to teach the good classes.”

“Which Hugo are you most proud of?”

“Well– it’s not really a Hugo, but I’m most proud of the Campbell Award.”

“That’s your latest one?”

She smiles. “Last year. After all these years writing criticism, I finally got a novel in my head, and I’m so proud that it was well-received.”

“I loved it,” I admit. “The Prince of Jasper Cove kept me on the edge of my seat, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment.”

She gestures back to one of the desks in the back of the living room. “It’s on its way, I promise. Teaching keeps me so busy, particularly with a new lot of excited creative writing MA candidates every term.”

We move to the bookshelves, where she proudly shows me some first editions she's collected.

We move to the bookshelves, where she proudly shows me some first editions she’s collected.

We move to the bookshelves, where she proudly shows me some first editions she’s collected. “I come across these in all sorts of weird places,” she says. “Even though it’s getting harder and harder to find paper books these days.”

“You released The Prince of Jasper Cove as a paper book, didn’t you?” I say as I run my hand reverently across the covers of books I’ve loved for years. “How did it sell?”

“We sold out!” she says with some excitement. “Of course, the print run was only like, 500, but collectors snapped them up.”

“Tell me about this photograph,”

“Tell me about this photograph,” I say, gesturing to the one on the back wall next to the drafting table.

She smiles, and a wistful look crosses her face. “That’s my LARP group, from back in the 2010s. That was the year I got to play the Faerie Queen. It was so much fun. I was crazy in love with that guy I’m standing next to, John. We were quite an item once.” Her eyes crinkle up when she smiles. “And that’s my best friend there, sitting on the log. She played a satyr. We’re still good friends today.”

“What about John?” I asked.

“He died,” she responds. “In the car accident. Along with everybody else in that photograph, except Chrissie.”

“Same name as me,” I say. “And I’m sorry.”

“It was a long time ago,” she says, quietly. “I like to imagine they’re all living somewhere, in some alternate universe, lives they love and want to live. I was lucky, so lucky, to live through that.”

“We’re lucky you did, too,” I reply.

Once again, Dr Evans looks a bit wistful.

Once again, Dr Evans looks a bit wistful.

Once again, Dr Evans looks a bit wistful. “It’s thinking of them, imagining what alternate lives they might have had, that inspired The Prince of Jasper Cove, and all the rest of the books I’ll write about that group of characters. So in a way, they’re all still alive.”

Her phone rings; it’s her World Con liaison, saying he’s about 5 minutes away by car. “Well then, that’s all the time we have,” Dr Evans says briskly. “I need to stuff a suitcase and pack my laptop. Marisol will be cross with me; I said I’d be ready in plenty of time.

“See you at the World Con!” I say.

“See you at the World Con!” she responds.

And that’s what it’s like to spend an hour with Dr Gwyneth Evans. I’ve attached her World Con schedule to the bottom of this article, so you know how to find her this weekend at the 104th World Science Fiction Convention in downtown Seattle.

by Chrissie Sanderson, for The Stranger, Seattle’s oldest online arts newspaper!

Style Card:

Body, Hands, Feet: SLink Physique
Skin: LAQ, Gun, tone 1, with Maitreya and SLink appliers* (new at the LAQ Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Ami
Eyes: Poetic Colors, Summer Sky Eyes, Pool Blue
Clothes: Valentina E, Rebecca Lace Top and Maxi Skirt
Shoes: Ingenue, Pandora Sandals
Glasses: EarthStones, The Countess (Available at the Cool and Vintage Fair!)
Jewellery: EarthStones, Belly Crystal, Katya Bangles, Krishna Harmony Ball, Krishna Pendant, Tumbled Stones Earrings

* I have rarely been so excited about a new line of skins before, but Mallory Cowen of LAQ has created Gun, an aged skin, on the heels of an ageing tattoo that actually works and looks good and comes in various intensities! Well done, Mallory— this skin inspired a story of an alternate Gwyneth and an alternate world for her altogether. Thank you for making such cool stuff!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

Back to the Boys

The Gypsy Davey:

The Gypsy Davey:

The few days I spent with Dyisi were some of the most relaxing I’ve had in some time. Yes, I was thinking about getting back to the vardo and the boys, but I knew they’d function perfectly well in my absence, and to be honest, I even had a good idea of where they’d gone. Dyisi’s calm approach to life makes it easy for a man to breathe. She disappeared sometimes for hours at a time, and I have the feeling she was spending this time in Faerie, but of course she wouldn’t say anything unless I asked, and I wasn’t about to ask. And after three or four days were up, I knew it was time for me to get back. She did a little seeking of her own, and of course I’d been right: they’d gone back to Eclectica, probably to help the old man with some more books.

At first, we landed in a waterfall. It might have been romantic if it hadn't been so ... wet.

At first, we landed in a waterfall. It might have been romantic if it hadn’t been so … wet.

At first, we landed in a waterfall. It might have been romantic if it hadn’t been so, well, wet.

Dyisi quickly corrected the problem and we ended up in this bizarre living room somewhere in East Eclectica.

Dyisi quickly corrected the problem and we ended up in this bizarre living room somewhere in East Eclectica.

Dyisi quickly corrected the problem, and we ended up in this bizarre living room somewhere in East Eclectica. From there, it was easy to make our way round to where the old fellow lived, but she said she had to go soon, something about meeting a guy about a dragon, or maybe it was meeting a dragon about a goblin: her words sometimes get garbled in my head right before she shifts away.

So I walked to the ballroom gazebo and gave myself some time to think before returning to the boys.

So I walked to the ballroom gazebo and gave myself some time to think before returning to the boys.

So I walked to the ballroom gazebo and gave myself some time to think before returning to the boys.

For weeks, I'd been completely alone.

For weeks, I’d been completely alone.

For weeks, I’d been completely alone. Getting back to the constantly moving, constantly noisy environment of the vardo and the travelling lifestyle might be a bit of a transition.

And then there is Dyisi. I’ll miss her. She’s among the more compelling women I’ve ever known.

If I were a thinking man, a reflective man, I'd wonder how this experience has changed me.

If I were a thinking man, a reflective man, I’d wonder how this experience has changed me.

If I were a thinking man, a reflective man, I’d wonder how this experience has changed me.

But of course, I am the Gypsy Davey, wanderer or the worlds and wooer of women, singer of stories, dancer of songs, breaker of hearts.

And it's time to get back to the vardo.

And it’s time to get back to the vardo.

And it’s time to get back to the vardo. Roll on, next adventure. Take me with you, worlds, sing through me, stories, dance through me, songs, break through me, hearts. Oh, especially break through me, hearts.

Style Card:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Damien, Box4 V3 (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Calico, Caden
Clothes (Jacket, Trousers, Boots): Yasum, Vintage Suit (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Hat: Yasum, Mesh Steampunk Hat, Mod A
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Poetic Colors, Pearl, Aurora, Medium Bright

Thanks to Dyisi Oppewall for agreeing to be part of the Gypsy Davey’s story.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

skinlogodiap

When The Gypsy Davey Calls Out to the Universe…

The Gypsy Davey:

The Gypsy Davey:

No shit, there I was. That’s how stories like this are meant to start, aren’t they? It’s right up there with “Hold my beer and watch this,” which is a phrase I learned from a fellow who came from the American Southeast.

I’d been in the forest for weeks. I saw no other man, and no other woman. Just me and a forest full of animals, a small stream, and a campfire that looked as if it were well-used. Perhaps it’s a glade between worlds for folks like me who get lost on their way from one realm to another.

In a way, I had resigned myself to being here forever.

In a way, I had resigned myself to being here forever.

In a way, I had resigned myself to being here forever. Something went wrong. Something I caused, or forgot, or didn’t do, or did do.

And besides, the place was peaceful.

And besides, the place was peaceful.

And besides, I rationalised, the place was peaceful. A man could have total peace and quiet, nobody bugging him for anything, no one nagging him. He could strip off his worn clothes and bathe in a cool, clear (OK, freezing and slightly muddy) stream, then uncover an amazing shirt with a dragon on it from his backpack that he doesn’t even remember purchasing but that makes him feel comfortable and at home. He could dress however he wanted, run around naked if he wanted, have rabbit for dinner every night and never have to eat his vegetables….

He could feel, utterly and completely, alone.

He could feel, utterly and completely, alone.

He could feel, utterly and completely, alone. After a week, I was feeling resigned to the whole thing. After two, rabbit began to make me feel ill and I started hunting birds. After three, well. If there’d been walls, I’d have been climbing them. “Right, Universe,” I finally said. “I don’t know what I’ve done or who I’ve pissed off, but I’m ready to fight them with my bare hands now.” Great. I’m not just talking to myself now, I’m talking to the Universe, as if it could hear me. “Look,” I said. “I know you’re probably busy with other things, but I’d really like to get the fuck out of here now.”

Then, incredibly, I heard a voice. Great. This is the part where I start to tear off my own skin, I thought.

“And to which universe is it you wish to demand?  As there are many.. infinite..  more than there are thoughts within your head..  Boreíte anói̱to tsingáno̱n.

“Any Universe that will get me out of here?” I replied, all the while wondering why I’d reply to a disembodied voice anyway.

She appeared. Just like that.

She appeared. Just like that.

She appeared. Just like that.

“Dyisi!” I exclaimed.

Dyes canted her head to the side while giving the wayward Roma a once over..  “Nai, that is what I am known as.  However you seem to be in a rather stuck place.”  She paused for a moment to look the place over while curiosity filtered out into the air around her. “Did you forget your way, akribos mou?”

“I was dreaming,” I explained. “And I wanted to wake up. When I woke up, I was here. There doesn’t seem to be anybody else here. I’ve been here for weeks. I’m….” I scratched my head. “I think I’m beginning to go a little mad.”

Dyes snickered out while shaking her head at that, the curiosity turned into amusement with in an instant.  “Ah, I see akribos mou.  You have somehow fell into Dreaming rift?  Curiouser and curiouser..  But I guess if one who pushes through realms in manner that you perchance to, it would stand to reason that there is higher risk of such to happen.  Question is, why is it you can noht leave…”  Once more the currents around her shift and this more working curiosity began to filter out into the air around them.

TGD HSe 1 BLOG - 5

“I think it’s because I lost track of the others.”

“I think it’s because I lost track of the others,” I explained, “We ordinarily travel between realms effortlessly, as if we were on a road together, if you see what I mean. But because I was dreaming, and then just sort of wished myself out of the dream, I came without my kin.” I shrugged. “I’ve never questioned how we do it: we just do it.” I admit it: her calm and casual and possibly somewhat patronising air was beginning to irritate me. I tried not to show it. “The question is,” I said, believing I knew the answer, “can you get me out of here, back to some realm where I can find my way back to the others? They are probably missing me about now.”

Dyisi listened to the hapless Roma explain his situation. In truth she did have some concern to this seemingly case of entrapment.  The curiosity was still there, along with now that concern, though she said nothing more until he asked his question of her.  That granted him this warm smile and a bow of her head.  “Of course I can deliver you to a realm in which you may be free of here.  Nai, nai..  it will be easy.”  With that, she held out her hand for him to take, her lips twitching into more of a wry smirk.  “Just hold your breath, akribos mou.. and do noht let go..”  As it is, the satyr had her own means to traversing the strands of the multiverse.

So I reached out, and I did not let go....

So I reached out, and I did not let go….

So I reached out, and I did not let go, and it was as if the Universe shifted around us, though I knew it was Dyisi’s magic making this happen. In truth, I’ve rarely met a being so strong with the talent or skill for realm-hopping as the Satyr.

And of course, for her it probably was easy, I realised. For me, moving between realms happens with the support of the clan, the band, of travellers I call family. For her… well, I don’t really even know if she has a family. I’ve never asked.

We landed outside the familiar surfer's shack with its rolling sea and little river.

We landed outside the familiar surfer’s shack with its rolling sea and little river.

“So,” I said, “I like what you’ve done with the place.”

The sileni’s way of moving from place to place was quite different.  The moment Davey took hold, what he felt were her surface emotions.  Not that tingly sensation followed by the full force of her passion.  Not this time.  And what her surface emotions made him know was that he must hold on for his very existence.  Because if he let go, he would be lost in eternity.  The vastness of the Inbetween was her path..  Her path was one she knew all too well as it led them to one of her “hidey hole” spots in some random strand that looked to be quite modern in placement.  Once they both just.. appeared within it.. the satyr moved to take up a seat on one of the wicker chairs.  The soft looking pillows spoke of her eclectic taste of often bright hippie patterns.  “I thank you for such, akribos mou.  Though work upon it is seldom done, nai?”  That wide coy smirk playing over her lips.  If he was privy to her surface emotions, the likelihood that she had picked up on his was quite high.

I blushed: I couldn’t help it. I was remembering the last time we’d been here together, when she’d cured me of the Fae Curse. Well, partly. We won’t speak of my dreams of the Faerie Queen here.

Eventually I settled into one of the chairs, stretched. “I haven’t felt a cushion in weeks,” I admitted. Sure, there was that dingy pillow atop one of the logs in the forest, but… well, it was nicer after I washed it, but it took three days for the thing to dry in that shady, windless clearing.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about life,” I explained to Dyisi. “In between worrying about how the hell I was going to get home and trying to have anything besides rabbit for dinner. I don’t suppose you have … do they deliver pizza in this realm?”

The satyr watched him take a seat as she jabbed her staff into the ground.  From the soil, little tendrils of roots coiled upwards to attach themselves to it.  She crossed her arms while kicking her legs up to rest on the thin armrest to make herself comfortable.  It became apparent that she was more relaxed in her own spaces than in other places.   “You are, of course, welcomed to stay as long as you need, akribos mou.  It is a place of rest..” she offered to him while canting her head once more to give him this study.  The satyr rather enjoyed these visits with Davey: he was a different face.  However, when he asked about food, she just sighed out while shaking her head..  “For that, you may need to find another place..  as you can see.. there is no road here.  However, I am sure there are fish within water that you might like..”  Again that wide coy smirk tugged at her lips.  “Might need to remove your shirt first though..”

Style Cards:

The Gypsy Davey:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, August Group Gift, Men (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Calico, Caden
Eyes: Poetic Colors, Pearl, Aurora, Medium Bright
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Shirt: Serendipity, Hidden Dragon Tee, Gold (Available at the Hidden Sanctuary Event, The Ancient Ones Return)
Trousers: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Ares Pants Male
Shoes: FateStep, Anthony Boots

Dyisi:
Body
:
Hair – little bones. Rude
Skin – :[P]: Astrali Raverie
Slink Enhancement Hands Casual
Clothes:
Top – Tee*fy Laura Unbuttoned Knotted Shirt in Olive
Pants – <Squish> Ladies Cargo in Mixed
Accessories:
RO – Hipster Bag Coffee
Earthstones – Belly Crystal Turquoise
Tumble Stone Necklace Rasta
EF – Mohio Necklace
Zaara – [Goa Party] Retro Sunglasses *silver-blue*
[Goa Party] Friendship Bracelets
[Goa Party] Baga Nosering
Schadenfreude – Water Digital Alchemy Necklace
Earth Digital Alchemy Necklace
~Soedara~ – Pearl Berjuag Tari Bindi
Kibitz – Tulip Nose Chain
Tattoos: .ARISE. – Maori Facetattoo
Tiki Tattoo – Bora
:[P]: – Asaia Markings
Jalwa – Khaleeji Swirl 3
Satyr Parts:
[Gauze] Faun Hooves
Illusions – Runed Horns: Nivicola
Ears + Tail unknown (I seriously don’t think you can even find them anymore)
Shape and Staff of Doom are self made.

Special thanks to my SL BFF, Dyisi Oppewall, who rped the end of this scene with me to perfection because I didn’t want to write her character for her!

The Hidden Sanctuary event The Ancient Ones Return, opens on August 8. I know I’ve only shown you one item here, but there will be more to come! There is so much great stuff to be seen there, and wait til you see the list of upcoming events! You can pick one up when you tp into the event: there’s plenty of information there.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it!