Spring/Summer 2014 Recap
So much I haven’t updated– I’m an inconsistent blogger. But unrepentant!
Life is busy with living….
May was WisCon 38 and I was a guest of honour alongside N.K. Jemisin. Enroute to the convention my partner and I arranged to stay a few days in Chicago, and what a beautiful city! Not usually the type to remark on the beauty of modern buildings, but Chicago is an architectural treat!
D and I caught a live jazz performance, saw the Edward Gorey exhibit, and a Vivian Maier photo exhibit. We didn’t manage to have piece of deep dish pizza.
I love to take photographs. I’ve no training, but my eye is pulled to the contrast of dark and light, repetitive patterns, the shapes of things, both empty and solid. To develop an appreciation of this can serve writers well. For stories are just as much about what is absent from the page (or obscured) as what is revealed. What is being compared as like or unlike? And how do we frame a story? What is the focus? Where is the focus? What are the parameters of the story? What is included inside the frame? I.e. narrative POV.
From Chicago to Madison, WI. It was my first time ever as a GoH at a Con. A different kind of scene compared to the many academic conferences I’ve been invited to as a guest speaker, it was the largest audience I’ve spoken to and delivering the GoH speech was a combination of frightening and exhilarating.
N. K. Jemisin’s GoH speech was a call to arms in the fight against systemic racism and sexism entrenched within many organizations in SF culture. The applause and cheers resounded.
N.K. Jemisin & me.
The hotel lounge had an array of spec fic-infused drinks. Delightful!
A blur of panels, readings, parties, meals with friends old and new. We had a lovely time and returned home with much to mulch into our long-term knowledge.
Unbeknownst to me at the time while we moved through and around the convention there had been ongoing issues regarding the handling of safety issues for attendees, particularly around sexual harassment. It appears that WisCon is working on making the space safer and ensuring that the same mistakes won’t happen again. I trust that this is so. Or I trust that even if mistakes are made in the future, for no organization is free from making them, that there will be a historical knowledge that will allow for swift and practical moves to address the lapses.
Summer saw a whirlwind of activity…
Tanabata Festival (July 7). I didn’t have any bamboo this year, but I read that some people write their wishes on paper boats. So my friends and I gathered at the beach to pen our messages and we sent them out across the great watery way.
Clarion West. I was totally enriched, bemused and inspired by my Clarion West experience. The students journeyed through an intensive endurance run of 6 weeks of learning, creating, integrating & output! I was only there for 1 week as one of the instructors and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it, but the attendees had 2 more weeks remaining. I can’t imagine how they did it! They not only learned together and created together (writing a new story every week) but they also lived together for the duration of the workshop in a sorority house (awesome trippy group photos on the walls, especially for this Canadian). Meals were cooked by a chef. Their days were filled with reading, critiquing, writing new stories, playing games (and, apparently, significant consumption of assorted beverages). For writers of speculative fiction who are ready for an extreme learning-by-doing experience I whole-heartedly recommend applying to Clarion West.
Afterward I was ready to settle into my home. The rest of the summer saw me reading a lot of children’s books, visiting the beach, feeding my yashi. ~___~