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Some Notes on "Dinner with Diana" Gabaldon

(Note to self: Get a Jamie icon.)

So the library did a fundraiser dinner with Diana Gabaldon, and I got us tickets. :D I stressed about an outfit for a while because the "suggested attire" was "Cocktail/Scottish." I ended up wearing dressy black pants, a flowy white shirt (that's really a pirate costume shirt >_>), and a black wrap. I think it looked cute? Scott got off easy because he could just wear a suit, but I found him a little Scottish flag lapel pin to go with his TARDIS tie. My fav part going in was the numerous emails stressing the importance of bringing ids and that minors weren't allowed and blah blah blah because of the scotch tasting, and like, guys, kids aren't gonna go to a fundraising dinner for the booze? Just sayin'?

Anyway, we ended up totally blending in. We had fun trying to figure out the m:f ratio which Scott calculates was about 1:8, which frankly seems high to me. They probably had 150 or so diners, but only three long tables--Clan Diana, Clan Fraser, and Clan Mackenzie (we were Clan Fraser). The scotch tasting was maybe the best part--I had a delicious mead and a delicious "mead spritzer" cocktail that I'm still a little buzzed from. All of the food was drawn from the Outlander Kitchen cookbook which was kind of useful as I had been wondering about some of the dishes (the gougeres were delicious, the buttery leeks, corn fritters, and lavender fudge were delicious, the cranachan was AMAZING, while the chicken fricassee and the mushroom tartlets were just fine and the mint and lemon lamb sausage was a nope nope nope).

The event was to raise funds for the Library Foundation's Writer-in-Residence program, so the writer-in-residence was there and spoke about her book and self-publishing and the leap to "real" publishing, which was interesting because then Gabaldon gave her talk, and it was like that "shade shade shade" gif that...I actually can't find right now. Like, I have to imagine they specifically asked her to talk about it because Scott and I were analyzing it after and her entire body language was "I don't want to say this/I disagree with this." But she was still a very entertaining speaker, and told the whole Doctor Who inspiration story which made Scott happy because he was in his Tardis tie. But I just thought her talk, especially in the context of the first speaker, who was the writer-in-residence who talked about publishing her book and then how she was gonna put together a book of the writings by the eighth graders she teaches, was just a little painful. "They used to call it vanity publishing, but now it's indie publishing, and the importance is knowing your niche," Diana said, which again, shaaaaaaaade. But I don't think anyone noticed? Or maybe everyone was just incredibly buzzed happy from the booze; the writer-in-residence was maybe eight people down from us and she seemed in high spirits. And I have feels about changing publishing models because I think they are interesting, but at the same time I think this whole "self-publishing is great" narrative is incredibly problematic in terms of an unexamined business model. But that's me being pedantic, so what else is new.

I also thought it was a little awkward how at the end they solicited more donations for the program by selling goodies (little bottles of Guiness, cookies, fudge) at the end. We took a little box of fudge and gave them $20, but I think a simpler model is just to have people pay upfront and then enjoy the evening. (Also, I'm totally biased, but...the GRRM event we did was better. It just was. But we had resources this library doesn't have, but...when you get an A lister for an event, you can just DO more, and Gabaldon is an A-lister and they could have taken better advantage of that. ANYWAY.)

So anyway, here's the link to the cranachan recipe, because I am not even kidding, it was fucking amazing. Cranachan recipe from Outlander Kitchen. Like, the skinny chick in front of me basically had a dainty spoonful of it and then left, and I legit thought about just grabbing it and finishing it off. But I didn't, because people were around and sometimes I have to make use of the little scrap of dignity I have. But damn, I still kinda wish I had done it.


( 5 comments — Add your .02 )
Aug. 21st, 2016 06:17 am (UTC)
Lavender fudge?!

I have heard tales of Ms. Gabaldon's ... shadeitude... but/and I'm really glad you went and had a good time. :)
Aug. 21st, 2016 06:33 am (UTC)
Lavender fudge recipe.

Shadeitude is a good way to put it. I would probably agree with her on very little, but she's an absolutely entertaining speaker, and her (first few, anyway) books remain among my favorite (and admittedly problematic) faves.

(My fav story she told is how she was invited by her former uni to give a commencement speech, after which they gave her an honorary doctorate, either forgetting or overlooking she got her phd there 25 years ago. They kept calling her "The new Dr. Gabaldon!" and she kept saying "I've been Dr. Gabaldon for 25 years!!" and they kept not hearing it. Which is demonstrable of so many things, really.)
Aug. 21st, 2016 12:25 pm (UTC)

I've still never read her books; historical fic, even historical sff, never grabs me, even though lots of friends lurve her stuff.  And, yeah... I have lots of feels about "traditional" publishing and indie publishing, but I could probably sum it up in "eh, sometimes you get Andy Weir, sometimes not."

Aug. 21st, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
I've made a couple of recipes from the Outlander Kitchen website and they all were delicious, so I may just have to give the Cranachan a whirl! :)
Aug. 29th, 2016 03:28 am (UTC)
I support you going for the Scotch tasting. :)

I stopped reading the Outlander books around the 5th one. Somehow, I just couldn't seem to care about Claire's family anymore. Jamie, yes, Claire, no.

I will have to try that cranachan at some time: I went and looked for the crowdie, too. I'm ready to do it traditionally.
( 5 comments — Add your .02 )

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