I was lucky enough to meet Nikki in Arkadelphia nearly two years ago. She gave an immensely entertaining and thought-inducing after dinner speech (standing next to the left-over buffet, without a microphone and with utterly compelling energy) and we were staying in the same, beautiful, guest house. At night we and some of the other keynotes would sit and chat. I’d drink lots of beer (that I’d had to drive a 2-hour round trip to get because Arkadelphia is in a dry county – an academic conference in a dry county??), while Nikki didn’t. She would scream like a little girl at the creepie crawlies (they WERE quite big) and the conversations would swirl and eddy in the way that they do. The Arkansas heat and humidity was intense; the conversations lovely and the whole experience delightful.
Since then, I have not finished the book I was so proudly telling everyone would be finished by Christmas (2008!!) and have managed a couple of articles. Nikki has produced hundreds of blogs of exceptional insight, knowledge, wit and perspicuity, has been on radio, TV, in the papers, has written, what, at least one, maybe two books, edited scores more and still had time to offer me help with some of my work.
The reason for writing this is that we are giving a paper at the forthcoming Whedon conference in Florida. We are still not entirely sure what it will be (Nikki, come ON!!) but it will address in some fashion hierarchies of value – Lit over film over TV; period TV drama over contemporary; hour-long plays over series; ‘realism’ over fantasy etc. – which inevitably includes the value placed on a blog, versus a conference paper; a popular book versus an academic one.
I know exactly where I’d place Nikki in a straight race for most significance in a hierarchy of value of her work and mine.