Saturday, January 25, 2014

Arisia 2014

Allegory with a Boy Lighting a Candle
in the Company of an Ape and a Fool
(1577-9) El Greco
I've finally gotten over my exhaustion from Arisia and it's now the following weekend.


 Worth it, though.  I had a blast.

It also looks like I'll be a part of Boskone 2014 in some capacity (details to come) so I'll be revving up once more for February!

But for now, some snippets from Arisia 2014!  I went to many panels, mostly on the Literature and Writing track.

Some panels I attended (but was not on):

Writing the Other. Saturday 10am. This panel was about writing a culture, race, or group that wasn't your own. So much insight! Nisi Shawl is awesome and Mikki Kendall is hilarious.  I thought a lot about the otherness categorization system Don Sakers suggested.

Write What You Know All Too Well. Saturday 4pm. Lots of discussion on confessional writing and personal truth vs. fact.  I believe Shira Lipkin referenced Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, an excellent how-to-write book I read in undergrad.

The Unheard Voices of SF/F/H. Saturday 8:30pm; Representation, Race, and Reconciliation. Sunday 2:30pm. Both different panels, but both about authors of different backgrounds in the predominantly white, straight science fiction and fantasy community. Catherine Lundoff gathered a list of resources referenced from The Unheard Voices panel, if you're interested in checking that out. K. Tempest Bradford was on both panels in place of Nisi Shawl because Shawl had too many panels, I gather, but the latter sat in the audience.  Hilarity ensued and it was wonderful.

Queering Up Canon. Sunday 7pm. Activist Kate Nepveu is an excellent moderator and A.J. OdassoCassandra Lease, and Julia Pilowsky wonderful panelists.  There was a good balance of "fangirling" and analytical discussion interrogating fandom. Maybe it's because the panel was about fan fiction and being a fan of integrating shows with LGBT content, but there was a warm, excited energy in the room.

Looking Forward to Last Thursday. Monday 10am. A time travel panel moderated by John Chu. I was still a bit foggy when I walked in but the ban on discussing paradoxes made me chuckle.

Stick With It! Complex, Rewarding Literature. Monday 11:30am. Among others, Greer Gilman, Max Gladstone, and Lila Garrott gave book recommendations and discussed the rewards of tackling difficult books. Not a lot about strategies to finish said complex books, but they kept what could have been a dry panel very lively on the last day of the convention.

Gothic: Women in Houses. Monday 1pm. This one was at the tail end of the con and the last thing I went to before I called it a day.  It was fairly easy to get off topic, as there are tons of books and stories that potentially fit the "gothic literature about women" category, but moderator April Grant kept this one fun.

Annnd I guess I should talk about my own panels!

Reading: Altabef, Daniels, and Kimmel Hale Fri 7:00 PM
Authors Ken Altabef, Gillian Daniels, and Daniel M. Kimmel will be reading selections from their works.
An excellent reading.  I had a lot of nerves going in because it was the first time I'd read my work at Arisia, but the environment was ultimately comfortable and the people in the audience welcoming.  I volunteered to go first as the handful of things I wanted to read (two poems, two flash pieces, please see previous entry on stuff I've published this year for which ones) didn't take very long to get through! Ken Altabef and Dan Kimmel then read from their respective novels, the former of which was about Inuit culture and the latter an unpublished but enormously funny work.

The Future Is Now: Online Short Fiction Faneuil Fri 8:30 PM
Shira Lipkin, Julia Rios, Ken Schneyer, Gillian Daniels
I was unsure what to expect from this panel and, in preparation, put together as many notes as I could.  It started with a discussion of the best place to find short stories online and became advice to audience members on how to submit your work.  We discussed the future of print vs. online publications and the increased presence of places like Lightspeed Magazine and Clarkesworld Magazine at the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

QUILTBAG Representation in YA Faneuil Sat 11:30 AM
Julia Rios [mod], Victor Raymond, Adam Lipkin, Emily Wagner, Gillian Daniels
Julia Rios made a recording available on Outeralliance and I strongly recommend a listen. This isn't the first time my voice has appeared on her podcast, either! I say the word "um" a lot, here, and I'm pretty sure the click of ice cubes is me continuously drinking water.  Then Emily Wagner and I bond over Sailor Moon fan fiction.  I very much wish this panel could have been longer. Arisia's panels have a pretty long run time to begin with, too.  By the end, we really started to get into the lack of asexuality in YA lit.

Welcome to Night Vale: And Now, the Weather. Paine Sat 1:00 PM
Gillian Daniels [mod], Lila Garrott, Melissa Honig, Adrianne Brennan, Kate Nepveu
Agh, now this was just too much fun!  To start with, I read a small, Cecil-like intro I scratched out beforehand in order to set the mood for discussing the series.  The audience responded wonderfully.  We just had a lot of good vibes running through the entire block of time, whether we were discussing the overarching plots or the diversity within the cast.  The positivity was also tempered with criticism, keeping the panel interesting and thoughtful.

Gravity Falls Paine Sun 11:30 AM
Gillian Daniels [mod], Dan Morris, J. S. Hailer, Jennifer Pelland, Sonya Taaffe
Another fun panel!  Lots of discussion on the well executed, surprisingly sincere Disney cartoon series and why it feels more in-depth and interesting than most of the channel's live action content.  We talked a lot about the theories behind the show and where it may be headed.  At the end, the audience and panel finally talked about the multiple secret codes and puzzles the show gives its fans.

When Poets Write Prose and Vice Versa Faneuil Sun 8:30 PM
Erik Amundsen [mod], Adrienne J. Odasso, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Sonya Taaffe, Gillian Daniels
Okay, this panel was pretty loose.  I loved it, but considering the attendance was light (it was the same time as the Masquerade) and the panel itself was punchy, we got off-topic pretty fast.  I was on the panel with Sonya Taaffe again, who has an amazing voice and the ability to just delve into subjects so beautifully.  First, there was some discussion on craft and how the writers on the panel develop and write poetry vs. prose.  Then it somehow became a discussion on creepy stories on the Internet and how much fun scary things can be. Yup. I'm a little unsure how we started on that subject in the first place, but I have no complaints and we were all pretty into it.

Whew.  Writing all that up took longer than expected!  I'm not sure I'll have such an in-depth summary of conventions I attend in the future.  Suffice to say, this was pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to next year.