alexandraerin: (Default)
So, I kind of figured that cocktails with Tempest was the last hurrah of Wiscon for us, but then when we were waiting at our gate for our plane, [personal profile] sparkymonster showed up, and wouldn't you know it, she was going our way. We'd already been sitting there for a while... we have a habit of over-padding our airport stays, just to be on the super safe side. We had a pretty interesting and wide-ranging conversation, and it made it feel like the con wasn't quite over.

We ended up getting about an extra forty minutes to just chat, too, because the plane was a bit late getting off the ground. That didn't seem like a big deal to us, because we had nearly three hours on the ground in Cleveland, but it made things a little dicey for people with tight connections to make.

Anyway, it was a pretty great time, especially considering that I think in real life I've talked to Julia maybe once or twice, probably about Etta Candy. Even online I think we've more talked in the same places than talked to each other.

But there was some real... clicking, I guess. Ironically, one of the major topics was about awkwardness and how amazing it is that some people can just walk up to someone and say something to them like it isn't even a big deal.

And you know, this is something that I'd started discovering before WisCon, on Tumblr: there is a lot of power in being able to stand up and admit to feelings and experiences like that. There's just such a high chance that somebody reading/listening will understand and share the experience, and then you have a common ground with this person and you also both have one more data point that says you're not alone, that your experiences are not unique.

The rest of our trip went pretty well. We went through Cleveland because we know the airport and like it pretty well. It has a good seafood restaurant, and a gelato stand... last year we tried the gelato stand on a poorly-thought-out impulse (mine) and because of a small (large) miscalculation involving time and distance... it just didn't work out very well. This time we planned for it in advance, and it was awesome

There were some technical difficulties involving our plane possibly not actually in fact existing, but after it was pushed back several times a flight to New York was cancelled, freeing up the plane. That required us to hoof it back to the terminal with the gelato. Then when we got back to the east coast, Sarah had to drive us home from DCA (not an area she knows as well as the one around BWI) in a deluge and the dark, which was a little stressful... but even with those hitches, I think the positive outweighed the negatives even on the travel portions of the trip: good company, good conversation, good food.

Anyway... home now. I started to write this post last night, but apparently I ended up crashing without hitting the submit button.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, on the last official day of WisCon, after programming has wrapped, they have the dead cow party... what is sometimes known in other quarters as the dead dog party, but this is Madison so I'm afraid it's cows all the way down.

I know what I'd said about me not doing parties, but this was my last chance to see some of the people I know and hang out with them a little, so I made a habit of going downstairs every so often and peeking in to see if I recognized anyone. After a few times of that I decided that was more likely to get results if I stayed there, so I took my phone down and read an ebook on it in a quiet-ish corner. I'd only been there a minute or two when I heard "There's Alexandra!"

So that was how I ended up hooking up with [livejournal.com profile] ktempest on the last day of the con. Which, you know, I know I could have just shot her a message on any of the myriad places I can message her, but... not good at the outreach.

Anyway, she'd popped down to see what goodies there were in the cow room, and she asked me if we would like to join her up in the Governor's Club. For the unitiated, these are the top three floors of the hotel that are fortified with swankiness, views of the lake, and free alcohol.

I almost said no, because Jack and Sarah were waiting back in the room for me and Jack had been feeling a little run down, but I also knew that under a lot of circumstances he would have jumped at it, so I decided to leave it up to him instead of makin the call.

To make a long story short*, we did end up going up with her and we spent an hour just chilling, talking about Tumblr and meta-meta fan fic and all kinds of other things. We might have stayed longer, but we fly out in the morning and we hadn't had dinner yet, so we excused ourselves... but not before Tempest extracted a promise that we'd book in the governor's club for ourselves next year.

Which we've done. So, that's going to make it easier for us to find our folks and hang out with them, and also easier to withdraw from the hullabaloo when we need some time out.

So, next year in the Governor's Club. It should be awesome.
alexandraerin: (Default)
First of all, in case I don't find it in me to write a general con wrap-up post, let me say that this Wiscon was the best one I've been to yet. There are soooo many people I love whose presence would have brightened it, but everything has just gone so well today.

I want to thank everybody involved in making Wiscon happen, and everybody we talked to and who talked to us. My first year at Wiscon 34 I had such a good time and then I went straight from there to Maryland to spend some time with Jack and Sarah and I was so determined to share the magic with them that we made our plans immediately. And you know, they enjoyed it enough to want to come back, but I think as a group we were kind of on the cusp as to whether we'd make it a regular thing. But this year's con... this was very much the experience I wanted to wrap up and give to them last year.

I'm not saying it was perfect, but expecting perfection is the easiest way to disappoint yourself, and some of the things that didn't go quite according to expectation or plan were pleasant surprises, so there's that.

Anyway, I've spoken briefly in my daily posts about some of the panels, but I'd really like to do a full report on all the panels I went to, both to share with anyone who didn't get to go to one of them and to help me remember, months and years from now, what spoke to me here.

I'm going to be doing it in reverse chronological order, and because it's the end of the con it's possible these will get shorter and less detailed as I go.

Recapturing A Sense of Wonder

The broad subject of this panel was the sense of wonder that draws so many adults back to Young Adult fiction. The parts of the panel description that interested me most--"Are there those who avoid it (and if so why?) Why doesn't it appear more often in adult fiction? Can we change that?"--didn't get much time or consideration. There was some discussion of the "why not" part, but little or no discussion of how to instill "mature" fiction with that wonder... it seemed like the general feeling on the floor was that it's not really possible and no need, so long as YA is there to fill the need.

As disappointed as I was by that, it wasn't a disappointing panel. Moderator Ellen Klages kept a lively conversation going among the panelists, who included my frequent co-conspirator panelist Lori Devoti. One panelist I would have liked to hear more from was Anna Black, who had some interesting things to say about style.

Creating Your Own Religion

Moderated by K. Tempest Bradford and including other very intelligent, educated, and engaging people, this panel was a real joy and worth staying up for on Sunday night. A major approach to the topic was how not to do it: unworkable cliches like people worshiping "evil" or beliefs and practices that would not be sustainable over time, putting everything through a Christian lens of a supreme being with sin and redemption, making people's beliefs within a religion a monolith with no disagreements or interpretations, etc.

Since most of my constructed religions are one half a response to/reinterpretation of the cliche fantasy religions of D&D and its children, I have a feeling the panelists probably wouldn't point to anything I do as an example of "doing it right"... and neither would I. I'm doing things wrong on purpose. But I was really interested by the conversation about homogeneous fantasy religions, because even writing what is supposed to be a D&D-y religion I just can't bring myself to have one clear version of dogma, one universally accepted creation myth... the fact that gods are "real" and even physically present shouldn't make everyone agree on what the god wants or what the god is like, because we disagree about those things even with regards to living, breathing people who are around to explain themselves to us.

The panel was the last programming item of the night (excepting parties that were still ongoing) and so Tempest ran it late. I was pretty worn down and also getting overheated by 15 minutes after, and also sitting near the front... so sadly me getting up to leave the room signaled its end. It was a great panel, though.

One of the interesting topics that came up was about the relative dearth in our fiction of mystery religions in the Eleusinian mold. The point was made that this has to do with the fact that these religions were by their nature secret, they didn't keep records, and they were disproved of by the people in charge, so there really isn't that much to go on if you want to write about them. But then a panelist (Deirdre M. Murphy, I believe?) raised a point that had been going around in my head: in a lot of stories, wizards fit the mystery religion mold. They have secret knowledge that gives them power, they are often initiated into a mystic order with secret rites.

I didn't really have the wherewithal to keep my hand up long enough to be noticed by that point, but my thoughts on this are that the parallel might be more explicit except that D&D and Christianity have both taught a lot of fantasy writers and readers that there is a sharp divide between the arcane and the divine, between what is magical and what is holy. D&D's emphasis

Gender and Class in Gaming

This panel, moderated by Tanya D., was hands down my favorite panel this year. That's not to say there weren't a lot of incredible panels this year, because there were. Nearly every panel... even ones I was quite sure were going to be good... were better than I expected.

You could chalk a lot of it up to the fact that gaming is my thing, but it wasn't just topic, because quite a lot of the discussion revolved around BioWare games that I have limited familiarity with. There was some danger of some in-groupy aspects of the discussion once the audience started responding to itself, so to speak, but Tanya kept things moving and took little asides to explain relevant details, and she also made sure that Mass Effect and Dragon Age didn't dominate the discussion.

There was one person in the audience who objected to Tanya's construing the mages in Dragon Age as an oppressed class because they really are dangerous, "ticking time bombs", to use his words, and have to be controlled for the safety of others. The panelists had some cogent objections to that, but there was something I would have liked to have said if there had been time. Since there wasn't, I'll say it here now:

When we're talking about dynamics of power and oppression in fiction, I am deeply suspect of any argument which begins by pointing out that there's an in-universe reason for it.

It normalizes the idea of "reasonable oppression". It says that these things can be justified, if you have a good enough reason, and once you'e done that... well, then when you encounter someone who wants to round all of them up (for any value of them) for the sake of us (for any value of us), you don't have a fundamental disagreement with them, you're just quibbling over details.

It doesn't help that nearly anything you can say about a fictional example of "justified" oppression has been said and probably still is being said in some fashion about real people in the real world, whether it's "They're too dangerous to be allowed to live free." or "It's for their own good, they aren't evolved enough or intelligent enough to rule themselves." or "Well, they're just born evil and we must fight them in self-defense or they will destroy us."... these are all arguments that are made in the real world.

/rant

Anyway, I was interested in the whole thing, but the tabletop aspect really spoke to me, for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who follows this blog. One of the panelists, Alyc Helms, brought up the point that D&D has instilled the fantasy gaming genre with a very straightforward sort of capitalist drive: you have to constantly amass wealth to make your character more powerful. And of course, that's terribly relevant to a portion of the sprawling conversation on this post of mine, and of course I think she's dead right. That's a feature of D&D, it isn't a feature of the fantasy genre. So after the panel dissolved I went up to tell her how much I agreed with her and found out that she's familiar with my work, and we had a brief conversation about story-driven games and I got her contact information so we could talk more about it.

As an added bonus, there was a person sitting right in the blind spot behind me who made some excellent points, including laying the responsibility for a lot of the predominant and often problematic fantasy tropes at the feet of J.R.R. Tolkien. I agreed with her pretty heartily, but it was only after the panel ended and we got out of our seats that I learned she was [personal profile] heavenscalyx, one of the last remaining people I'd wanted to make a point of meeting in person.

(If you're reading this: regrettably, I am now realizing that I have completely forgotten what your real name is and I also didn't memorize any markers for your face. So, let me say that I look forward to meeting you again in the future.)

Blogging While Female

Moderated by [livejournal.com profile] shadesong, this panel was about the dangers that women who are vocal and active on the internet face, and the sense of entitlement that others often have towards our time, space, and even our lives. I certainly have had my own experiences here. It was a very powerful panel, more "serious business" than most of the fare we consumed, and difficult at times due to the subject matter, which is so important that I think it needs its own post later in the week.

I would call it an awesome panel, even though it wasn't a fun one. The subject matter was kind of risky, even at Wiscon, but there was no fail. It also gave me a chance to connect with a good online friend I hadn't seen in person very much before, and we were able to get together for a just incredibly entertaining mealtime later.

Passing Privilege

This panel was Jack's idea to attend (we didn't entirely stick together for the weekend, but we did quite a bit... there were always too many good panels to choose from and that could make it hard to decide which one to go to, so sometimes if one person had a strong preference for one it was easier to just go along with them.

It was a great panel. I've had some brief interactions with at least two of the panelists, I'm pretty sure, but they were very animated and engaged that I might just be remembering having seen them on previous panels. They examined the concept of passing from multiple angles. The most attention was given to the sense of trans* folks passing as one gender or another, and the concept of passing as white.

Jack got a lot out of this panel. It would not be my place to write about what I think he took away from it, but he did tweet at one point that his neck hurt from nodding so much.

Steal Like An Artist

This is one of those panels that I expected to be great and was impressed with how much better it was than I'd expected. I'd really thought it would skew more negative, either in terms of condemning unoriginality or in clinging to the idea that there's nothing new under the sun in a really pessimistic way. But it was a very engaged and thoughtful audience (especially for 8:30 in the morning), which was a good thing because S.N. Arly and moderator Nancy Werlin were the only panelists. So it was very much a multi-directional dialogue, and very entertaining.

I had a lot to say about the topic (as you might have guessed, since it is, you know, a topic), but Jack participated quite a bit. He impressed the room with his talent for concise and pithy summaries of salient points, but then, it probably isn't hard to look concise when you're sitting next to me.

Feminist Bottoms

This panel was very well-attended. It was also very good. I don't recall many of the specifics right now... we ended up going back to the hotel room to take a long break after it, so I think I was starting to get run down.

Body Acceptance From All Sides

This is another one where my memory is starting to degrade. It was a great panel with great people on it. I at least passingly knew the majority of the panel members. The topic was about broadening body acceptance from the narrative of "you must love your body" and "there's nothing wrong with your body" to include people whose bodies do present them with serious problems that are their own business as to how they relate to them. There were maybe some iffy moments, but it was relatively free of fail.

The Feeding and Proper Care of Your Underclass: How a Society Maintains Poverty

I don't remember a lot of specifics from this panel. There were some intelligent people saying some intelligent things, but I do have the feeling it might have benefited from a slightly larger panel with more diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.

Despite the title, the focus seemed to keep shifting towards contrasting the middle class with the upper class, and as was pointed out to me after the panel (I didn't catch this myself, though I can see it in retrospect... but of course, I'm from a pretty comfortably middle class background myself), some of the language being used to describe class mobility was pretty boot strappy.

It might have been hard to get more volunteers for a panel at 8:30 in the morning on Saturday, though, especially since people who couldn't afford to take a day off work Friday would have arrived Saturday or late the night before.

In fact, now that I look at the program, there's one more name listed than I have memory of people being there. So it's possible the discussion could have been a bit more robust than it was.

A Princess With A Sword Is Still A Princess: Modern Adaptations of Fairy Tales

This was a great panel, a discussion of the nature of the fairy tale princess, what fairy tales teach children about being boys and girls, and how modern interpretations change things and how they don't.

One of the most important things I took away from it, though, is that there is going to be a live-action Maleficent movie in 2014, starring Angelina Jolie.

Chicks Dig Comics

The topic panel is also the title of an essay book, which the panelists had contributed to. The book itself was not so much under discussion, though, as much of the experience of the panelists as women who read comics. It was a pretty wide-ranging group, in terms of age and experiences and preferences, but there were a lot of interesting commonalities.

Due to the size of the panel (about nine people, I believe), there wasn't a lot of audience discussion, but when the floor was opened up for questions I registered a two part one: "Did you see when Stephanie Brown slapped Batman in the middle of his lecture? Wasn't that awesome?"

It was that kind of panel.

And it was awesome.

From Sherlock to Sheldon: Asexuality and Asexual Characters in SF/F

This was the first panel that we went to. I believe it may have been Jack's idea, but I know I endorsed it on the basis of Tempest's presence as the moderator. I remember it being pretty great, but at this point it's all fog.

So that's it for panels.

You might notice that there is not a lot of repeat or direct overlap in terms of subject matter. Last year, I was on four panels that all at least touched on self-publishing and they all sort of turned into the same conversation. That had its strong points, in that we were able to have a sort of meta-dialogue running through the three main days of the con, but it also meant that by the end of the weekend it felt like I'd been at a self-publishing con.

So we consciously avoided things that hit in the same area. The panels titled "Women of Comics" and "Women in Comics" actually had different focuses than each other and "Chicks Dig Comics", but given how many great-sounding panels there were, we felt we'd be better off going to one of them rather than giving up three hours and forty-five minutes to talk about women and comic books. It's not that there isn't that much to be said about those topics, but there are so many other topics being discussed...

As always, the biggest problem with Wiscon programming is simply that it offers an embarrassment of riches. There are just too many good choices.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The Daily Report

So, yesterday went pretty dang awesomely. Jack and I attended a panel called "Steal Like An Artist" about creativity, originality, appropriation, and artistic debt. Jack was very engaged considering it was an 8:30 panel and he impressed everybody with his talent for conciseness, while I impressed everyone with... the opposite.

Seriously, though, it was a great start to the day. We had some really good panels with some really great people on them, and we got to hang out with [personal profile] karnythia and her husband... I think at my first Wiscon I managed to say about seven or eight words to her, but this con... well, we've been taking more breaks for both physical and social reasons, and so I've made it to Monday with a surfeit of spoons and by Sunday I was feeling really warmed up to the whole "talking to people" thing.

I'm glad that I ended up not doing any panels this year because it gave me a chance to observe things like that. I think next year I'm going to put my availability down as starting Saturday night through Sunday, because Saturday night was when I really feel like I started to hit my stride.

Yesterday was also a really great day in terms of choosing panels that proved to be helpful for the purposes of developing A Wilder World.

State of the Me

I feel good.

Plans For Today

Last day of con. We're planning on attending one more panel, about the popularity of YA novels and reclaiming the sense of youthful wonder. Also, there's a bag I was looking at in one of the stores on State Street that I didn't want to plunk down the money for until I knew I was covered for everything else.

We're here all day, by the way. The extra cost of one more night at con rates is less than the difference between the three of us flying out on Memorial Day and flying out on Tuesday.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The Daily Report

I'm trying to keep up my blogging here, even if I don't have a ton of stuff to say, because any disruption to that routine that lasts four or five days is going to be enough for it to not be routine any more. Obviously things were more complicated last year than they're likely to get this year, but even if nothing in particular goes wrong it doesn't take much for me to fall into radio silence, and when I'm not blogging the structure that keeps me on task on a daily basis falls apart.

Yesterday was a day of unusual social boldness for me in the morning, with pleasant results. It was a pretty good day, all in all. We had some difficulty with dinner... there was some kind of race happening around the capitol square area, and it was Saturday night, so most places that were near to the hotel were pretty packed. I think next year we'll probably plan on eating in Saturday night.

Last night was my first night at Wiscon where I've acknowledged to myself that I'm not a party person. Every other night of this and my previous two cons I've seen things on the schedule and gone, "Oh, well, I like [this subject] or [these people involved in this party]. Maybe that will be cool." Then I go up to the 6th floor and go in, and it's just a room full of people and I don't know what to do with that. My usual response to crowded rooms is to sit down in a corner and be very quiet, which I'm actually okay with doing... it's not like I'm bored or distressed or anything. But it seems to me to be missing the point of a party. I did enjoy Cat's ...Fairyland... launch party here last year, but it was also a concert.

Anyway, with the decision to stop making time each night to wander around the sixth floor trying to catch the vibe, it becomes a lot easier to be awake during the day to partake of the content.

The Daily Report

I'm not quite getting a full night's sleep any night here, but I am sleeping well. Still no signs of the creeping con crud.

Plans For Today

Nothing too strenuous.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The Daily Report

It's been a pretty wonderful con so far. The panels yesterday were pretty great. One about fairy tales (A Princess With A Sword Is Still A Princess) featured a favorite panelist of Jack and myself, Lisa Blauersouth, as well as the ever impressive and ever entertaining Na'amen Gobert Tilahun. It was a great panel, and the discussion of fairy tales was helpful to me in my thinking on By Half Measures.

I'm not good with faces but twice so far during the con I have recognized someone I couldn't see by their voice... first [livejournal.com profile] shadesong and then [livejournal.com profile] mmohanraj, who I heard on the other side of a display in the art gallery. Coincidentally I had just spotted one of her photographs on display, though I hadn't read the card yet so I didn't know I was looking at her work. Shira (shadesong) is I believe the person here that I've known the longest (if only by a day or so), as so many of my older friends weren't able to be here this year, and Mary Anne Mohanraj... well, I got to WisCon my first year ahead of the rest of my group, who had been here before when I hadn't so I felt pretty lost. [personal profile] brainwane, who among her many other fine qualities is also basically a walking human icebreaker, rescued me at the Gathering, but Mary Anne was the guest of honor at WisCon 34 gave me a huge pick-me-up at the guest of honor reading when I went through the receiving line and she had some very nice things to say about me and my work.

Other luminous and wonderful people we have been able to connect with so far include but are not limited to [livejournal.com profile] ktempest and [personal profile] piglet, who was kind enough to come up and say hello to us at dinner. I was kind of tongue-tied at the moment, but I'm reasonably sure I manged to say hello back.

The panels we've seen so far have been pretty uniformly awesome. Aside from the aforementioned fairytale one, there was one about asexuality in sf/f (and to an extent in popular fiction in general) overseen by Tempest, and a mammoth panel with a huge number of contributors from the essay collection Chicks Dig Comics that unexpectedly included someone I've gotten to know on Tumblr recently, Spastamagoria.

I popped up to the party floor between the last two panels of the night, but didn't have the wherewithal for much socializing so I just stopped off at the Circlet Press party to say hi to Cecilia Tan.

Jack and I finished the night off in the con suite, in a game of Apples to Apples with two people whose names I regrettably did not catch. So far, the con has pretty much been the experience that I had hoped to be able to share with Jack and Sarah last year.

Jack hopes that we can manage to meet more people in the next couples days... we're a party of relatively withdrawing people in real life, and we're missing our extroverts.

As always, if you want to come up and say hello, feel free. If you're on the lookout for me or you're not sure if you're looking for me, I have a light-up Tinkerbell hanging off my collar for recognizability... as someone who experiences a lot of uncertainty about identifying other people, I like to leave as little room for doubt as possible.

The State of the Me

Still doing great! Yesterday I kind of wore out my legs, but no sniffliness or other signs of impending respiratory complaint or anything.

Plans For Today

We're about to start our panels for the day with "How Society Maintains Poverty" and then we'll see where we go from there. I will probably check in at the Chicks Dig Comics party tonight.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The Daily Report

The first substantial day of Wiscon!

Yesterday, we discovered to our sadness that Frida's (a Mexican restaurant we all enjoyed) is no more, though we did try a Nepali place that we'd walked past a few times last year. The restaurants of downtown Madison, Wisconsin are pretty much reason enough to come to this con all by themselves.

Since I'm not empaneled at all this year, I have greater flexibility and freedom as to my schedule. This year I'm planning on not focusing on things that deal with the nuts and bolts of the writing and self-publishing businesses... in my own life, my focus just lately has been more on things like my work habits and the honing of my craft way more than it's been about developing business things. I feel like my writing was good enough from the beginning for me to achieve the success that I have, and I've got my basic money-making model nailed down well enough that I can work on developing my gifts further.

I just posted the chapter of Tales of MU for today, wrapping up the Enwich interlude. Since there won't be an update until May 2nd, it seemed like a good idea to find a stopping point there.

Today marks 44 days in a row of on-schedule updates. I keep thinking that I could keep counting upwards by saying that holidays don't count or announcing it in advance means it's on schedule, but I think the psychological benefits of counting as it impacts future productivity will actually be stronger if I start a new count rather than justify keeping the old one. Because now I'll have a target to beat, you see.

State of the Me

Slept well, though I'm still behind on sleep. No other problems.

Plans For Today

If the rest of the party rises early enough, we were going to see about going to the Cornish pasty stand for breakfast. Then we'll go to the Gathering for a while, of course. For panels, the only fixed point in time here is Chicks Dig Comics. I'm strongly considering Pan Morrigan's voice workshop... even though I'm not doing any speaking in front of an audience, I found it did me a world of good in terms of confidence building/ice breaking last year.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The Daily Report

At Wiscon! Our hotel room is awesome. We have a fridge. Do all the rooms in the Concourse have those now or are we just lucky?

The State of the Me

Was up all night, due to travel. Got a few hours of sleep here at the hotel. I'm feeling really good. A little achy, but that's probably the airplane seats. A hot shower did a lot to take care of that. My sinuses are very clear, so apparently I'm not allergic to Wisconsin this time.

Plans For Today

We're talking about dinner at Frida's.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Hello! It's WisCon time again. We're actually already settled into our room, where we will probably be chilling for the next several hours as we traveled all night.

First, I will be extra easy to recognize this year... as the first year, I have a light-up Tinkerbell charm I'll be wearing when I'm out and about. This one's even in color. I'll be wearing a black straw hat with a long scarf, or floppy black and white print hat. I will usually have a cane with me. I will be wearing a collar. The fairy pin is there to minimize the amount of "Wait, is that...?" that people have to do.

If you see me and want to say hi, I would deeply appreciate it if you introduce yourself and tell me where I might know you from, or where you know me from. Failing that, please don't take it personally when I very obviously look at your name tag before greeting you back. My brain, it does not face well. Two of my siblings changed their hairstyles and the other got glasses right before Easter and it was chaos. I am generally down to hug, as long as it's post-(re)-introduction and your intentions are well-telegraphed.

As with last year, I'm here as part of a group. This year we're making a special effort not to split the party, so drinking and dining invitations aren't mine to accept alone.

Anyway... whoo, WisCon!
alexandraerin: (Default)
Per [personal profile] maevele's suggestion, I checked out the list of WisCon panels needing panelists and saw that there were a bunch of them dealing with world-building. Well, world-building is one of my favorite things and something that I get consistently good feedback on, so I decided to put myself forward for a couple of them. Just two, though. Four was too many. There were three that were about world-building in general. One looked like a collaborative activity panel, where the panelists and audience work together to build a world on the fly. Possibly fun, but I do not have a collaborative spirit, so I passed on it.

One was concerned with the balance between world building and plot, with the description starting off "It has been said that any world building that doesn't directly serve the plot is time wasted. Is this true?"... long-term readers can probably guess that I have definite thoughts and feelings about this, but... I'm not sure that's the panel for me. This year I'd rather talk about how than why, share my experience than my opinion.

So I signed up for the third panel that mentioned world-building, which is just called "world building": where to start, what to be wary of. I suspect I'll be the voice for keeping things loose and not over-planning, because the main pitfall I warn people about when it comes to world-building is filling notebooks with minutiae as a source or means of procrastination, and how you can write yourself into a corner through excessive preparation as easily as through lack of it.

That's not to say I'll have nothing to contribute beyond "don't fill up a notebook with minute details and then slavishly adhere to them". I do have methods to share.

And then I signed up for another more specific world-building panel, one about the creation and use of magic systems. Should be interesting.

I have no idea what kind of response the canvassing for volunteers gets, so it might be that I'm the 17th person to volunteer for both of these panels and won't be needed for one or both of them. But since I was okay with the idea of not being on any panels, I won't mind too much either way.

Both panels are in the morning and on different days, so if I'm selected for either of them they should have minimum interference with anything else our little family wants to do.

On a related subject, I've been remiss in following other people's blog exploits the past several months - who all is going to WisCon this year?
alexandraerin: (Default)
...that in the haze of the last few weeks, I completely missed the WisCon programming sign-up period... which is something I literally had nightmares about happening during the period before it opened. I guess now that it's actually happened, I'm realizing it's not actually as bad as all that.

I'd planned on limiting my participation this year, because last year's panel load was excessive... the results were pretty awesome and I loved having an extended platform for discussion, but I was on what ended up being almost the same panel four times in a row. Again, I can't argue with the results. It was basically a really kicking meta-panel. But the necessity of being available at specific places and specific times limited my ability to go and listen to panels on topics I know less about. And since we went to the con as a family, that meant my schedule set the group's agenda.

So, I hadn't planned on being on more than one or two panels at most this year anyway. Zero isn't really that much lower than one. I can spend more time this year expanding and developing my knowledge rather than sharing it, and we can pick where we want to be based on what's most interesting. I might be able to catch more readings/performances, too.

One of these years I'll figure out a balance between no panels and ALL THE PANELS... actually, now that I'm writing this post, I'm realizing how like me this is. Moderation is not in my skill set.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I'm writing this quite a bit more after the fact than I'd expected, so I'm not going to be lingering on specifics very much. All four of the panels I was on ended up blurring together even while they were happening... while in theory they had their own individual focuses (exploiting the long tail, getting paid as an author, self-publishing, and cooperative self-promotion), they all ended up being mostly about self-publishing and the hows and wherefores thereof. Remarkably, this wasn't a result of me deliberately steering the panels towards my own personal hobbyhorse. It was more of a group effort. That's just the way the conversation went.

The one panel I felt most strongly about being on (and that I missed other things I was very interested in seeing to be on), "Shakespeare Got To Get Paid", was my least favorite panel of the four, primarily because one of the other participants apparently believed that he was both the moderator and the sole panelist... he began calling on audience members personally, answering their questions, and then immediately calling on another audience member. I had just enough gumption to get my words in edgewise, not quite enough to call him out on what he was doing, unfortunately. The individual's name was Matt Forbeck. I'm recording it here as a reminder for myself next year and a warning to anyone else who might find themselves on a panel with him. His behavior was rude, off-putting, and left me pretty well off-balance compared to the rest of the panels.

Other than Forbeck, my other co-panelists were awesome. I learned quite a bit from my repeat co-conspirators co-panelists Monica Valentinelli and Lori Devoti and I think that through our participation in multiple panels we fostered a sort of meta-conversation that stretched throughout the various panels... I know I saw some of the same nametags at more than one panel, and I think the last one (on cooperative promotion) probably was better attended than it might otherwise have been, due to people following us from the earlier ones.

Next year I'm going to do fewer panels. I believe I'm going to hold myself to one panel a day, as I had one panel on Friday and Saturday and two on Sunday and it made a marked difference in my ability to just relax and enjoy the con when I had two can't-miss appointments on Sunday.

One interesting sidenote is that an individual who attended the cooperative promotion panel shared that she'd been told that her work would probably be accepted as Young Adult if she would "lose the fisting scene", which I found amusing as I've been told similar things about Tales of MU. I'm of the opinion that what reads to some industry insiders as being "YA style" is simply a more flowing, conversational style of writing and I see no reason why accessible and organic writing should be restricted to a single demographic, and I am amused by the idea of using the label "YA+fisting" to describe the juxtaposition of this style with adult concepts.

And I think I'm going to cap this post off here. I might write more about some specific points that came up on the panels, but I want to at least get a general overview up before it becomes any murkier in my head.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I hate that this is my first and very possibly only mid-con post, because it's about something so awful and the con has not, by and large, been made up of the awful. But this happened to me last night and I have to get it out, to process it.

Last night, in the middle of the launch party for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, Jack and I wandered downstairs to get some air. We hung out with [livejournal.com profile] popelizbet and company (one thing in this life you can be sure of is that the Pope will never be far from her and company). Eventually much of the company went back upstairs, and Jack and I remained. I was catching up with a friend, and then another friend came out to smoke... I had their names here but I think I'll leave it up to them to decide if they want to have their names attached to this fuckery. I don't know how anyone else was affected by it, and whether it's something that was deeply upsetting or something they were able to shrug off or anything in between, there are reasons they might not want folks coming up to them to ask them if they're okay and so on for the rest of the con.

So the four of us are all clustered around the bench in the smoking area, and suddenly something hits right next to where I'm sitting on the pavement and splatters all over my skirt and another person's feet. A car drives past. It takes a moment for my brain to connect those facts, by which point the car is long gone. Then I have a moment of blind panic of knowing I've been hit with something and not knowing what it is, but then I see a bit white chunk of shell and suddenly I can process the rest of the mess and my first thought is, "Oh, it's okay. It's just an egg." Eggs are, after all, essentially harmless.

And then a few moments later it hits me: someone threw an egg at me from a moving car. At us, of course. I think I got hit the worst but I can't say it was aimed at me. I just happened to be the one sitting on the ground and thus most within the splatter radius. Rationally I am sure it was just completely random asshattery. There are many reasons we may have been targeted... as a group we're pretty transgressive of gender roles, there was one visible POC among us, but it seems unlikely that even the assiest of hats carries an egg around "for just such an occasion". I'd guess it's high schoolers (or the emotional development equivalent thereof) who were cruising around on a holiday weekend looking for targets, and their definition of target may have been no more specific than "out on the street at 1 in the morning." There's an outside chance that it was somebody who knew about a feminist science fiction/fantasy con and wanted to register their disapproval, but the chance that there was anything about it personal to me or any of us is vanishingly small.

That's what's in my head today. Last night, I was also thinking of high schoolers, but to be specific I was thinking of the high schoolers who used to hurl insults and other things out of their car windows as I walked home from school when I was in high school myself. They were mostly younger kids... i.e., younger than me and in theory below me in the social pecking order as it's laid out in pop culture cliches. But they were athletic and able-bodied at the time and at the very least presented as straight cis young men, and they had cars. I was weak and queer and weird and walked the mile or so between the school and my house every day, dreading the sound of a low bass thump and the roar of certain engines.

I never talked to anyone about this abuse because it didn't seem like there was anyone to talk to. It wasn't something that happened on school grounds or during school hours, and it wasn't as though the teachers and school officials did much or cared much about the bullying that happened in their homes and classrooms. The grown-up answer to people who do things like stalk a walking kid in their car and shout threats is to say the equivalent of "sticks and stones may break my bones", and if it's pointed out that the verbal harassment is occasionally accompanied with a stick or stone or bottle or whatever they pretend not to understand that this is physical violence and entreat the victim not to let it "get to them", as though the weird kids come equipped with a natural forcefield or telekinesis.

The attackers don't mean anything by it, after all. They're good kids. On the track team. On the wrestling team. And aren't they a year or two behind me? Sophomores are constitutionally incapable of hurting Seniors. It's a law of nature.

That's the sort of space my head often lived in when I was growing up, and it's the space I retreated to last night. No, what happened to me wasn't so bad, objectively. I just had to change my skirt, which suffered no permanent damage. But I couldn't stop thinking about all the other places the egg could have hit (my head, for instance... all over my face and/or hair), the other things that could have been launched from a car window... a high school-grade prank is a pretty sorry memento mori, but there you go.

So I spent the rest of the night... the rest of Cat's wonderful book launch party, where wonderfully talented people were taking advantage of an open mic... kind of in a daze, never too terribly far from tears and with somewhat intermittent control over my body and voice. Stress and anxiety lessen my muscle control and make years of speech therapy retreat from my uncooperative mouth. When I get really upset, I have trouble talking. Some sounds come out slurred or half-formed. Some... the ones that were most stubborn and I spent the most time learning... I can't get out at all, because I know they're coming out wrong.

When we went upstairs, I wanted to tell Pope Lizbet because I knew she probably hadn't taken her last smoke break of the night and I felt the need to warn her (and through her, the whole merry and company). She felt I should make a report to con security, and because she is the Pope I went with her. My voice failed me worse in the presence of a near stranger, a man I had seen around and maybe heard on a panel but never talked to.

After several false starts at telling him what happened, I borrowed his pen and notepad, but found that my brain wasn't cooperating in stringing together a sentence. I wrote the words "I think about" and had no idea where that sentence was supposed to be going. After I managed to express my frustration that I wasn't able to write any better than I could talk at the moment, he suggested, "Maybe you could draw better?" and... I burst out laughing. It wasn't hysterical laughter, exactly. It was genuine heartfelt mirth, tinged with hysteria. It broke the dam and I found my voice and explained better what had happened, then told the Pope and the Jack that I wanted to go back to the party.

The Pope asked me if I was okay and I told her that no, I wasn't, but I was going to a party. :P

The rest of the night had its good moments and its bad moments. The problem was that the bad moments lingered and stacked up on top of each other, so that by the time 2:00 rolled around and it was time to pack things up and leave I felt the need to fly from the room in full retreat lest someone talk to me and I burst into tears in front of them. I had been looking forward to helping with clean-up... I'm sure that sounds really disingenuous, like, "Oh, I was looking forward to helping clean-up the mess from the party, but darn it, I've got this post-traumatic anxiety going on," but I really was. I'd shown up early for the party to help set up but there's a limit to how much I can do so I mostly picked up a bunch of garbage on the floor from the previous event.

It was only about an hour of a pretty long night following a pretty packed day, but it felt like so much longer. I went to sleep wondering if I'd wake up feeling any different, if I would be able to sit on my panels this morning with any conviction. I'd had an experience on a panel earlier in the day where I'd needed the confidence to interrupt someone because it was the only way I was able to speak... one of my fellow panelists had seemed to think that he was the moderator and that any question not specifically addressed to another panelist by name was addressed to him and him only, and there was no chance anyone else might have anything to add that would be worth listening to, and unfortunately the moderator seemed disinclined to correct this misapprehension.

Ugh, now I've talked about two bad con experiences. I'm going to wrap this post up now. I just want to repeat that I'm having a great time overall, I've met some awesome people and renewed my acquaintance with other awesome people and people have responded really well to what I've said on panels. I just really needed to get this out of my head so I could get on with enjoying today and tomorrow.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, I tweeted a couple of times about being sick... I have what I really hope is a 24 hour stomach bug or something similar. It hit me last night while I was out and about, kept me up most of the night, and has kept me close to a bathroom for most of the day. What I'm simply going to call the worst symptom thereof seems to have abated, though I'm trying to keep my fate-temptation to a moderate level there. I still feel shaky, which can probably be put down to lack of sleep plus mild dehydration.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be getting on a plane for WisCon. My prediction based on how things are going today is that I will better and fit to travel. The alternate prognosis, of course, is that I will be worse and not fit for traveling, which would really really suck for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that I'm supposed to be that I would be leaving the rest of my party hanging in more ways than one. So any good thoughts and well-wishes are appreciated.

In either case, the next two days aren't going to be work days. I had what I thought to be a moderately ambitious workload planned for this week, but because I approached it piecemeal I have a lot of stuff that's begun but nothing that's done, and I need to get my packing and con prep done tonight in a way that I'm not going to strain/exhaust myself.

I'm tempted to try to salvage a finished chapter out of the 2,000 words I have written, but the results would be so much less... I have plans to rewrite the 1,000 word infodump about television into a conversation that is also going to be potentially revelatory about other topics and I'd rather do that than post it in infodump form. Note: I'm not talking about getting rid of the information... it's not "plot relevant" but it's the sort of thing that people tell me repeatedly that they want to know more about. Just less dumping and more weaving. This chapter is an important one, as it's a big part of what I feel Twyla's fans are owed... I'm referring here both to the fundraiser "answer incentives" and to the support she received when the question was raised of who readers wanted to see more of/learn more about in the second volume.

So, anyway... as I said on Twitter, I'm sort of canceling this week. May's newsletter will go out sometime next week. The first installment of Kin & Distant Relations will come out at the start of June. You'll still get the 13 episodes that were promised when it won the fundraiser, but like the Twyla chapter I want to make sure it's as good as it ought to be instead of something I banged out.

If you're going to be at WisCon, I really, really hope I see you in a day or so. If not, I hope you have a fantastic Memorial Day/early summerish weekend. Either way I'll see you back next Wednesday.

P.S.: You all bought 30 copies of the The Gift of the Bad Guy Kindle edition. That means I'll be enlarging the whiteboard map to 4 times its current area, and for those who missed my addition to the initial post on that subject I do have an artist on board for making a nicer version when that's done.

(As a sidenote, I really need to get a tattoo on the inside of my eyelids that says "One thing at a time." The best laid plans o' mice and men are spoiled by the other best-laid plans of those same mice and men.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
...somebody else's con post has just reminded me that not everyone who might be looking for me next weekend will have seen me before or remember what I look like after a year. For those of you who aren't on my Facebook, here's a current pic:



Note that I will not be smiling when you see me. This is actually a picture of me laughing. If like me you don't process faces well, here's how you spot me: broad-brimmed black hat (not necessarily the one in the picture but it will be black and brim'd), black plastic glasses, collar.

I will probably have a cane. I will probably be wearing black. My hair will probably be black and shortish... but a wide-brimmed hat, glasses, and collar are my Constant Accessories.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, I've seen other people making things like "handling instructions" posts and I figure it's probably a good idea as I'm going to be seeing a lot of people I've only met once, haven't seen in a year, and/or only see sporadically.

First, I'm probably not going to recognize you. That's for any value of "you". You may catch me checking your nametag before greeting you or acknowledging your greeting. You may catch me doing this every single time I see you. Please don't feel slighted. This isn't personal. I don't have a great memory and I don't process things visually very well at all.

Just as an example of how non-visual I am, one time I spent a long weekend with a bunch of people and it was like Sunday when everything was winding down and everybody was leaving that I noticed one of my good friends thee had dyed her hair flaming red. Ironically, she's one of the people I can always recognize, because of the look in her eyes. I couldn't tell you what color her eyes are. But I know them when I see them.

Second, I have very little idea what my face is doing. A lot of the time I think I'm smiling and I'm not. I also have a neuromuscular condition from that which sometimes causes whole-body spasms that look like I'm shuddering. So, please believe me if I say I'm having a good time or I'm happy to see you. If I could do this: ":)" in real life, I would.

I do enjoy hugs. I'm very awkward about giving them. This year I will be trying to hug people who have made their hugging preferences known. But of course that will entail checking nametags first.

I'm going to be avoiding alcohol this year, because fatigue and alcohol interact with me in a bad way. I won't be accepting any offers of drinks or invitations to go drinking, but no one should let that stop them from imbibing in front of me.

Also, I'm traveling with a group this year, none of whom have been to WisCon before me... but please, never think that because I'm with folks that means I'm "busy" and you'd be "intruding". My facial recognition thing means that if you wait for me to come over and say hello you'll probably be we waiting a long time.

And for everyone last year who asked if Jack was with me: this year, the answer is yes.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Anybody familiar with the restaurant The Icon in downtown Madison? If so, what are your impressions of it? Worth checking out?
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Tentative WisCon programming stuff is out now. I am on the Shakespeare Got To Get Paid, Son panel on Saturday, one on self-publishing and one on cross-promotion on Sunday. I've put myself forward for the Long Tail panel, which was listed as needing volunteers. That's also on Sunday. If I'm not placed on that one I'll still use the SGTGPS panel to share my "there's more money for each individual writer who writes for smaller audiences" theories with the world. That's one panel on Saturday, two or three on Sunday. That's probably good. There are a lot of panels I might like to be on but these are ones that I feel I have a lot to offer on.

I also just scored my plane ticket to Madison. $79. Hell yeah. I haven't bought my flight back yet because I AM NEVER COMING BACK FROM WISCON!!!! No, actually, it's because I'm going to be flying out to Hagerstown for Jack and Sarah's wedding reception and since we're all going to be at WisCon together we're going to try to get the flights home coordinated.

Also: Volume 2 starts today.

Personal Assessment

Feeling okay. Slept six-ish hours. After reading a peer-reviewed paper in a noted medical journal this morning, I've decided to add deep breathing exercises to my repertoire of techniques for both diminishing anxiety and reducing bodily fatigue.

Dreams From Last Night

Very strongly inspired by Deathless (holy shit, Amazon's almost sold out... way to go, Cat!), involving Baba Yaga. Also, I was building and selling bicycles again. WTF? I think this is my subconscious's way of saying "Fuck you!" after all those times I said that I don't put much stock in the whole dream metaphor symbolism thing because after having a noticeable pattern in my dreams involving something so random and unrelated to my life or interests I can't help waking up thinking "BUT WHAT DO THE BICYCLES MEAN?"

Plans For Today

Obviously for volume 2 launch day that's my primary priority. I'll do the whole work days thing for the rest of the week.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I submitted a couple of programming ideas for Wiscon, a panel on living in the long tail and a discussion on Impostor Syndrome. No, I didn't leave it until the last minute or anything... only the last day.

Personal Assessment

My sleepiness wanted to delay itself and I let it because I needed to go grocery shopping with my housemate Angie when she got home from work in the morning. So I've slept all day, but I did sleep all all day. Eight hours. It was good sleep in that it was deep enough for vivid dreams, even if they weren't good dreams.

I have sniffles and a bit of a sore throat that I'll need to keep an eye on.

Dreams From Last Night

Oh, man, did I ever have dreams... first, I was hanging out with my family down in Florida, only the part of my parents' Florida place was being played by the second house we lived in growing up. There was a lot more inter-family bickering than we are usually wont to get up to, including my older brother and I arguing over whether accessibility laws are an unfair burden on businesses or a result of society having too narrow a definition of "normal" levels of mobility and sensory acuity in the first place.

This part of the dream culminated in a car accident as we were all arriving at a restaurant, where one of my brothers hit the car that my parents, my sister, and I were in, and then my other brother and his wife rear-ended him. No one was hurt but it was very scary. And then I had to hurry off to get to WisCon.

I know where that came from... last year, I flew directly to WisCon from my folks' place in Florida, so my brain sort of has that association in it, I guess. But in this dream, WisCon was at a hotel in Florida (I just typed "a florida in Hotel"... the joys of not being fully awake yet) and my whole family was going. My brain conflated WisCon and the sorts of academic competitions my siblings and I attended in high school in all sorts of hilarious ways. I was in a hurry because I was late to meet up with Jack and company and I didn't even know what programming I was on... my brain was very aware that they had just had the deadline for programming idea submissions (it's today, this dream took place one day in the future) and didn't think it was normal at all for them to be notifying people of what panels they're on without actually announcing the panels and letting people volunteer for specific ones. I had the sense that everybody else knew what was what and had coped with the short lead time but I was stuck trying to get a chance to read the schedule while rushing to meet Jack. The whole thing was very Willow in 4x22: Restless: "I think they're really just doing things in the proper way, and now I'm in a play, and my whole family's out there, and why is there a cowboy in "Death of A Salesman", anyway?"".

I was supposed to meet Jack on the second floor of the hotel, and since I am excommunicated from the stairs at WisCon I ended up getting in an elevator and hitting "12" instead of "2". And then I woke up before I could almost inevitably be stuck in the elevator.

This was a very anxiety-driven dream, obviously... I feel a lot of anxiety connected to anything like a con, or a public appearance, and that's a big part of why I want to have a talk about Impostor Syndrome because I know I'm not the only one.

Link For The Day

Steam Powered, Lesbian Steampunk Stories is a story collection that somehow managed to cram a lot of awesome people between two covers including N.K. Jemisin, Shweta Narayan, Amal El-Mohtar, Shira Lipkin, and Mikki Kendall, who is the only person besides me to have written a canon MUnivere story.

You can hear Amal read her contribution here for free.

Plans For Today

Finish up the chapter for tonight.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, a couple of weeks back, Jack told me that he hoped I had the Mackenzie/Gloria fight scene wrapped up before WisCon because he didn't want to be waiting for that to be resolved for a week or more. "What are you talking about?" I said to him. "Wiscon's only one weekend." And he said, "Yes, but you'll be too tired and too busy to get anything done after it."

I thought he was being silly. Of course he was actually being Jack, and even worse, right.

Tiredness and busy-ness aren't the only things in play, of course, but they're the things that stop me from noticing the other things or that render otherwise surmountable things distinctly un. My routines fall by the wayside, the little things I do to help keep track of time and what I'm doing, to manage my physical and emotional energy levels, etc. I forget the lessons I've learned about how not to beat my head against the wall all day long.

One of those lessons is not to put off blogging. When I have stuff in my head that needs to get out, I'll get everything done faster by letting it out, not saying "Okay, I'll finish this other thing than get to that." Sometimes it happens the other way around: if the story is raring to get out, blogging can wait. I've always got something to say, something to write. It's just not always in the order I would prefer it to be.

So, never mind the preamble above: this is my Great Big Wiscon Post. It probably won't be the last one I make that touches on Wiscon events, but the other ones will likely be smaller, or more about general things that were inspired by things I heard on panels.

One of the most amazing things about Wiscon was the number of people on my own informal "Must Meet" list who told me something like "I was hoping to get to talk to you!" when I did meet them, and the number of people I was in awe of who I heard/read talking about grappling with impostor syndrome... it was a bit of a revelation.

I did not sign up for any readings or panels this year because I wanted my first year to be "recon", because that helps me manage my anxiety. Fear of Doing It Wrong is one of the major components of that anxiety. When I'm someplace new, without clear instructions and expectations, I flounder and flail. I'm getting better about that. Actually going out, going to new places and doing new things is helping me to get past that. But part of that anxiety, at least as it connects to things like cons, is impostor syndrome. I'm afraid that I don't belong, or that others will act as though I don't. I always figured that this was a function of how I've come by my success, of the relatively small amount of attention and acclaim I've garnered from the traditionally recognized sources of such.

But people who've followed other paths... people who win awards, people who are blogged and tweeted about much more widely than I am... have the same misgivings.

Mary Anne Mohanraj, who was one of the guests of honor this year, hugged me and told me she loved my work. I knew that. I'd heard it from her online, even. But hearing it from her in person was very different. I hadn't expected the hug. I hadn't expected to find myself eating dinner with her, largely due to the efforts of Sumana Harihareswara, AKA The Human Ice-Breaker*. I hadn't expected, basically, for her to be just another person, like me, full of hopes and dreams and doubts and second-thoughts.

I felt incredibly honored and lucky when [livejournal.com profile] tithenai let our little group, including people she only knew from online and people (like me) that she'd never met, hang out in her room with her after she decided she was too tired to do any more readings. I shyly asked her if she would please sign a copy of The Honey Month for Jack. The next day we hugged like three times when it was time for us to leave, and then I got back to Omaha and a few days later I found on her Livejournal where she wrote about what it felt like to realize that we were all happy just to hang out with her.

And we were. We had been. The last night of the con, which was full of Just Hanging Out, was easily the best part of it for me.

None of us are impostors... we're all just people. Some of us write, some of us paint, some of us are doctors or lawyers or teachers or soldiers or parents, but none of us are where we are because someone screwed up and mistook us for a grown-up and let us into the club and we don't have to go around thinking all the time that any minute now someone is going to notice that we don't belong and kick us out.

Anyway, next semi-connected topic: I've never really made use of my Livejournal friends list in an organized fashion. I don't go to my friends page to see who's doing what. Instead I went straight to the journals that interested me as I remembered to. As a result, there are some people whose LJs I've been reading that I considered to be at least "internet friends" but who I never actually friended, and there are numerous people whose journals I started following but then forgot about. After Wis Con, there are so many people I know I want to keep up with that I've finally learned how to use the friend list tools to construct a reading list.

I'm a little embarrassed to realize I never friended [livejournal.com profile] karnythia before, since her LJ was one of the ones I remembered to check most often. I got in the habit of going there after I stopped frequenting the snark communities where I first subscribed to her newsletter, as they say dans la belle internet. It took me ten minutes of staring at my list of friends and trying to figure out why I couldn't add her to the group I just created before I realized that she just wasn't there. Well, better late than never.

Other things that happened:

  • I got officially grounded from using the stairs by papal edict.
  • I was in the splash zone of a spit-take at Sunday brunch. I don't even remember who it was, just that [livejournal.com profile] karnythia provoked it.
  • I met [livejournal.com profile] angelsscream and seemed to notice something awesome about her wardrobe every time I looked at her. Okay, twice. But that was a sweet bolero jacket and awesome shoes.
  • I found out that Circlet Press has a paranormal romance imprint, right as a relevant idea of mine has been shaping up.





*If somebody told me that Sumana is under a geas to introduce everyone in the world to everyone else, I would believe them. Or maybe she invented the handshake and gets a royalty every time someone does it? Regardless, I love her a bit now.

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