Readercon XXV

Sorry with the Roman numerals. Still have Chicago XXXVI on the brain. (Shut up!)

So Readercon 25 happened!  And for once, I’m not going to wait months to blog about it.  Just gonna dump it all out of my head in one burst.  (It’s actually part of a bigger plan to not overthink my blog posts so I put out more of them.)

Anywho….

1

Last year, I complained about the hotel renovations and how they hampered people from just running into each other and chatting.  But I didn’t realize how much I missed that until this year when I really got it all back!  And so my con was filled with old friends, people I met again for the first time (yes, you read that right), and new people I’d never met before!
1a
I liked the lobby/restaurant renovation with the expanded seating that ensured I never had to wait to get a table for breakfast.  The jacked-up prices of the appetizer menu?  Not so much.  I could almost live with what they charged for calamari, but the $12 cheeseburger was not a $12 cheeseburger.  Plus, how does any bar in the Boston area stop serving Smithwick’s?  I’ll say this for the service, though: my experience is that it wasn’t one scintilla worse than previous years.

2
The program highlight for me was the workshop “From Page to Stage: Adapting Your Work for an Audience” by C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, and Caitlyn Paxson. As wonderful as Readercon programming has been over the five years I’ve attended, there are a select few things that have stuck with me–this is the newest.  After some exercises, we were invited to read a paragraph or so of something we brought.  I brought the story I’d already recorded for Lakeside Circus, “Life After Wartime”.  I wish I’d waited until after this workshop.  I surprised myself with how differently I read! It’s been suggested that I record it again, but I don’t want to be one of those people who goes back and retcons their own work. You know the type.

3
But the con highlight for me was getting a few minutes alone at a table with Mary Rickert and Ellen Datlow, who gave me advice as to the shelf life of mentioning my old McSweeney’s Internet Tendency piece. (Apparently, the answer is forever… and that I should lead with it!). Close second: Dancing in a circle of the best and brightest in today’s award-winning fantasy and sci-fi literature as a bad DJ spun ’80s tunes (from the ’90s).

4

The lack of physical space of my home, not to mention my reading backlog, forces me to make choices about what books I get at cons. This year’s purchases/gifts/swag…
So who’s gonna be at WFC next year?  At Readercon next year?  At WFC 2015 (which is going to be near-ish to me)?

“On the deck of a starship / With her head hooked into Andromeda…”

I’m so not used to having a Monday off after a con that I forgot that I’d put in to have today off. That’s okay, because it affords me some much-needed extra sleep and the chance to do my Readercon write-up in what is, for me, record time!

That doesn’t mean I have the brainspace for anything coherent.  I’m doing this while I’m awake, typing up little bits here and there, and then I’ll set it to post after I get to bed.  Then once I’ve had more sleep and time to reflect, I might talk about some panels later.


1
I think I’ve lost my con “honeymoon period.” But that’s a good thing in that I don’t waste too much time and energy anymore feeling like I’m taking up valuable oxygen better spent on Chiang, Datlow, Edelman, Di Filippo, Van Gelder, Hand, McHugh, Link, Kessel, Clute, &c.  Hence, I didn’t take as many pictures of panels and readings this time around, though I have a few.  I have yet to really look at which are worth posting.
2
Every year, I feel conflicted about buying books at Readercon (and other cons, for that matter). I don’t have unlimited space for physical books and I damn sure don’t have unlimited funds. Most Readercons though, I tell myself, “Screw it,” and buy large quantities anyway. This year though, the internal conflict came to a head to the point where it actually killed my buzz walking into the Bookshop. Still, I didn’t come away empty-handed. I just bought more strategically…

3
I’ve reached the point where going to cons is (slightly) less about the programming and more about connecting or re-connecting with people. And I got to do that with 99% of the people I wanted to see. But on the other hand, I felt that having precious little public space to sit and congregate (due to hotel construction) led to four days of “catch-as-catch-can,” with a number of folks (i.e. others who told me they’d felt this way, too) trying to catch-as-catch-can everyone else they wanted to talk to.
4
All that to say that when I had time with people, I didn’t always have the space and vice versa. But it wasn’t impossible, obviously. When I could have space and time at the same time, it was AWESOME.

5
Having said all that though, I felt the love!
6
I could shout-out/link everyone I talked to, old and new, but there were just too many!  Some folks have already found me on Twitter!
7
Cards Against Humanity is my new favorite game.

8
Panel note-taking with Evernote on mobile devices + swipe typing = WIN!
9
Most valuable panel to me, “The Work/Work Balance.”  There might’ve been very little that I hadn’t heard before, but hearing from seasoned–and I mean seasoned–professionals that the solutions are as old as the problems was exactly what I needed at this point in my life.
10
Money quote:

“No future I ever envisioned had Republicans in it.”
– Howard Waldrop, during “The Real Utopia” panel before going on to talk briefly about all the goings-on in his state of Texas.

    #

    I WILL give a shout-out to the ConCom and everyone who volunteered.  Thanks for the memories and hopefully I’ll see y’all at Readercon 25!

    “Funny how things come undone…”

    As is typical, it’s been weeks since Readercon and I’ve yet to post anything on it.  I have those posts in the works–it’s just been an hard couple of weeks with Life, the Universe, and Everything.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been in my own personal funk.  Given that, posting my con wrapup has been the last thing on my mind. But I find myself so appalled and disgusted with the whole Readercon harassment debacle — I’m still a little too disgusted to rehash it, so here, just read it — that I realized that I’d never get my con posts up unless I talked about this first.

    Readercon 23 was my third go-round. I’d been looking forward to it every year since my first because I felt I knew exactly what Huey Lewis was talking about in the song “Finally Found a Home.”  Now, that home is threatened because a Board of Directors couldn’t follow its own rules regarding an asshole who couldn’t keep his hands to himself, resulting in a community backlash of such everlasting gob-stopping proportions that I bet the Catholic Church looks at the backlash they got over their sex abuse scandals and says, “Got’damn, I think we got off kinda light….”

    I support those who are willing, depending on the BoD’s willingness to follow certain remedies, to vow never to attend Readercon again.  I also understand that there’s a case — some, via the links above, say multiple cases — to be made for staying away from Readercon whatever the outcome.

    I know things need to change.  And I want them to change.  Because I just found this place, goddammit.  I’d finally found a home.  I was learning Readercon’s groove, I was keeping an eye open for ways to become more involved.  Hell, one of my two favorite writers IN THE WHOLE ‘VERSE, a personal inspiration of mine — one of the few inspirations of mine I had not yet met at a Readercon (I’ve now damn near met all of them there) — planned to attend next year.

    Or rather, had planned.  I know this because this writer signed the petition pledging not to return unless the BoD followed the remedies specified.  Again, good for that writer and everyone else who followed their conscience and signed!  I wish I shared that particular conviction as much as I share all the rage and disgust. 

    And yet the idea of me, personally, taking the position of “You gotta get your shit together, or I walk” feels a little dishonest on my part.  So, what would be honest for me?  Where does that leave me? 

    With the uneasy feeling that if I’ve ever had a “Man in the Mirror” moment in my life, this might be it…

    The things you think about at 2 am.  

    (Sorry, comments are off, and would be even if I wasn’t still in a funk.  ‘Cos this is all just too… yeah, I knew you’d understand.)

    Day Late, Dollar Short

    I know I know… it’s been months, now.  And since Readercon, I’ve been to Dragon*Con and have given my presentation at the 2011 Rod Serling Conference.  But this unfinished post has been in my queue forever and my brain just won’t let me move on until I’ve finished this one.

    It’s the proverbial dollar short and day late, and it’s pretty long.  Here goes…

    I’m only gonna do highlights from this point on, ‘cos at this point, I’m just trying to get this down.

    1
    “I could show you my Nook…”

    A panel that ended up engaging me a lot more than I’d anticipated, “I’ve Fallen (Behind) and I Can’t Get (Caught) Up” with Michael Dirda, Jennifer Pelland, Craig Gidney, Don D’Amassa, and Rick Wilber.

    It’s a problem a lot of folks have, especially writers (at least for several with whom I’m acquainted): How does one possibly read everything there is to read?  Obviously, you can’t.  But I liked how the panel dissected the issue.  My favorite bit: being called filthy by Jennifer Pelland when I said, “I could show you my Nook…” 🙂

    2
    Honorable Mention

    There were a couple of other panels that I attended and even took notes for.  My lack of write-up doesn’t mean I enjoyed them any less.  But for the sake of time, let’s just say that I really enjoyed “There’s No Home Like Place” and “Reconsidering Anthologies.”

    3
    A Face Made for Radio

    In case you’re not hooked up with my other social media outlets, here’s my first-ever reading.  This is the first bit of my story “Combat Stress Reaction” in Crossed Genres.

    It was a bit of a nerve-wracking prospect in itself, to say nothing about the prospect of following Camille Alexa and having Claude Lalumière in the audience.  But, I survived, and I can’t thank Bart and Kay and Camille and Claude enough!

    4
    The Land of the Lost

    Speaking of Claude, I was enthralled by his Lost Myths show!

    5
    Wold Newton

    And to think the person who gathered all these literary idols of mine on the same stage is the same guy who stopped just short of walking into Au Bon Pain to ask where the Panera was… 🙂

    Oh, the person who adjusted the camera to capture the literary and literal height of John Kessel?  Yes… it was yours, truly.

    6
    “Step aside, Butch.”

    I high-tail it out of this one panel and then Carrie (who has a better write-up of the time I’m glossing over now) taps me on the shoulder to tell me, “You know you just brushed past Neil Gaiman, right?”

    7
    Monty Haul

    This is why I went to “I’ve Fallen (Behind) and I Can’t Get (Caught) Up.” And why I needed a chiropractic adjustment when I got back home.

    “I am dressed as the woman of the opposite sex”

    The line’s from the BritCom ‘Allo ‘Allo, which was on my mind.  Anyway… wow, I’m way, way behind on these.  Well, two weeks, actually, since ReaderCon.  I’m skipping ahead to Saturday for now.  I’ll come back to Friday night after a few posts.

    My first panel that day was “Daughters of the Female Man” with Elizabeth Hand, Chris Moriarty, Barbara Krasnoff, Gwendolyn Clare, and Matt Cheney.

    I’d gotten there 15 minutes late because I was in line getting Claude to autograph some books for me.  Again, them’s the breaks of the arrangement of con panels.

    Here’s what I took away (directly or indirectly)…

    • Sorry, but I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back when shout-outs were given to Maureen McHugh and L. Timmel Duchamp, and folks in the audience were going, “Who?” and making the panelists repeat the names.
    • Discussed was, to my delight, another instance–a real live instance that didn’t take place back in the “Golden Age of Science Fiction”–where a speculative fiction writer was ahead of the curve.
    • A whole host of books I need to check out, which I tried to note for myself rather than, as one audience member sort of suggested, relying on the panelists to spoon-feed me an annotated bibliography.

    And these are my notes…

     I make no guarantees that these will make sense. I make no guarantees against my faulty memory, sketchy hearing, or any kind of telepathic or machine-based manipulation of/interference with my senses. Anything I might’ve gotten wrong is purely unintentional.

    Daughters of the Female Man
    Hand, Moriarty, Krassnoff, Clare, Cheney

    [15 minutes late]

    GC: Dearth of female hard SF writers
    * Better at: 2nd wave feminism (upper class whites) vs. PoC/lower class women. 3rd wave feminism tries to integrate race/class issues
    **UK LeGuin was trying in the ’70s

    MC: SHADOW MAN by Melissa Scott

    EH: Discussioin @MFA program she saw. Poets, creative nonfic, fic, etc. re: spirituality and writing –> individual voices from other communities (e.g. Islamic, Native American), but not a lot of talk re: crossover to POV different from own. **Spec fic writer in audience raised this issue.** Rxn: different thing for “lit” writers to think about.

    Do panelists have “moral responsibility” to tackle feminist issues?
    *BK: part of being sf/f writer.
    *GC: It’s a matter of realism. Would be uncomfortable to write stories non-relfective of ppl in real world.
    ** EH: are you appropriating? fear being accused of appropriating?
    ** Yes, danger of being accused. Should be more concerned about misrepresenting a minority than trying and being accused on the internet
    * CM: cf. Virginia Wolfe. She was able to write about the full range of women’s experience.
    ** cf. Tiptree–reflects real complexity of world re: gender, orientation, etc.
    ** cf. Kage Baker, Lisa Moore, et al. — does not fit in “boxes.”
    *BK: Need to write characters as INDIVIDUALS.
    ** “classifying is dangerous.” Otherwise, no longer human, let alone representative.
    *CM: cf. Joanna Russ: “each generation of women writers has to reinvent the wheel”
    ** stuff is/was there, but the books went out of print. Hard to find Maureen McHugh’s books. Some stuff from Tiptree you still can’t find.

    EH: re: reinventing the wheel–is it possible for woman writer to come up with something new?
    * MC:
    * GC: “final frontier” = gender neutrality
    * EH: Delany’s TROUBLE ON TRITON one of the best depictions of society that’s incorporated gender, etc. in complex way

    QUESTIONS
    ———
    On CM’s pseudonym…
    * CM: feedback from agents, et al.–like work, but urged different name. Big boxes: “cannot figure out how to stock it w/woman’s name on the cover”
    * Most fan mail writers believe she’s male–often delighted to find she’s female!

    Libraries/Bibliographies: Best way to keep those writers/books in circulation, ‘cos no one else is archiving.
    *CM: access to university libraries
    *BK: cf. Project Gutenberg

    re: new/shocking–what about L. Timmel Duchamp, et al.
    *EH: *HUGE* number of writers out there now, of every strip. So, these people need to be WRITTEN ABOUT. Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff is mediated in the Ivory Tower.
    *BK:
    *MC: the secret feminist cabal (merrick)
    *CM: Aqueduct Press
    *EH: blog about it!

    re: HARD SF
    *BK: isn’t really “science” fiction, but it is out there. More than just “guys shooting at each other.”

    Feeling Very Fuzzy

    I really wished the panels “Surrealism and Strong Emotion” (with Caitlyn Kiernan, Michael Cisko, Peter Dubé, and John Lawson) and “Feeling Very Post-Slipstream” (Leah Bobet, Paul DiFilippo, Elizabeth Hand, Chris Brown, and F. Brett Cox) weren’t held as late in the day as they were on Friday.  Hey, them’s the breaks of a con, I know.

    “Surrealism and Strong Emotion”
    “Feeling Very Post-Slipstream”

    I did make it to both panels and as you can see, I have the pictures to prove it.  But they were just a little too heady for me.  I’m not even going to post my notes–they’re too few and make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Plus, I was still a little nervous as the time approached for the Broken Slate release/Crossed Genres reading party.

    Hey, I don’t suppose anyone can point me to any write-ups?  I know about one for “Slipstream.”  Anyone do one for “Surrealism?”

    Know Your Limit

    I knew before I got to Readercon that I was going to attend “Writing Within Constraints” with Scott Edelman, Elaine Isaak, Michael Aondo-verr Kombol, David Malki !, John Langan, and Madeleine Robins. 

    I was anxious to go since Malki ! was moderating the panel.  He’s one of the editors of the Machine of Death anthology, which had a very narrow theme.  Having submitted a few stories to other, similarly tightly-themed anthologies, I wanted to see if the panel could provide any insights as to how I’d succeeded and failed.

    A few ways I’d never looked at this issue before the panel…

    • The many ways we writers sometimes impose constraints on ourselves.  Sometimes, by avoiding the subconscious places we just won’t go.
    • Sometimes, repulsion to an idea can be a constraint.  Edelman gave an example off the top of his head based on his years working in comics in the ’70s: Metamorpho vs. Daredevil
    • Another thought from Edelman: Instead of writing “in the tradition of Frank Herbert,” try writing “in the tradition of you.”
    • It’s best to keep in mind that writing for an editor is not the same as writing for the reader.
    • I need to stop taking cool-sounding panel notes unless I can remember the f’ing context.

    Speaking of panel notes…

    Like last time, I make no guarantees that these will make sense.   I make no guarantees against my faulty memory, sketchy hearing, or any kind of telepathic or machine-based manipulation of/interference with my senses.  Anything I might’ve gotten wrong is purely unintentional.

    “Writing Within Constraints”
    Edelman, Isaak, J. Langan, Kombol, Malki !, Robins

    DM!: wondermark, machine of death
    SE: 80 shorts, editor
    EI: 3 novels (BroadUniverse)
    MK: nigeria; “I can tell you a lot about constraints when it comes to writing.”
    JL: horror stories; finds constraints productive
    MR: Daredevil tie-in;

    DM!:

    JL: constraints of working w/in genre
    * prose equivalent of poetic form
    * can lead to insights you might not get otherwise
    * conventions/traditions/etc. — can be interesting way to take creativity further
    * stagnation, death, blah blah blah
    * rather than running away, run TOWARD, and exploit it
    * DM!–tension w/writers who want certain things?
    ** JL you’ll always be dealing w/reader expectations. goal: Intensely familiar and intensely new at the same time!

    SE: even constraints have constraints
    * wordcount
    * comics (worked at Marvel in 70s)–writers //looked// for constraints and cracks where something can be snuck in
    * anthos
    * shared world

    EI: writing in the chinks
    * start w/timeline
    * MR: Regency romances, happy endings–timelines and working in those constraints kept her interested.

    DM! re: writers IMPOSING a constraint
    * DM’s comics work: doesn’t have to start w/blank page unless he wants to; doesn’t have to write unless he wants to.
    * MR: certain constraints more conducive
    * DM: fan fiction–ppl who want to start w/something that’s given(?)
    * MR: writers want to be “Man From UNCLE”
    * JL: writing as imitation in the beginning; way to internalize conventions of narrative
    * SE: repulsion could also be a constraint (wow, that sucks); “metamorpho meets daredevil”
    * MK: constraints we’re not even aware of
    ** laid down in our subconscious
    ** places we don’t want to go

    DM: writing for a themed anthology e.g. MoD (plot constraint)
    * 75% of them go the same 3 ways–result of “narrative being ingrained” in a certain sense?
    * challenge for writers to be come aware of that and *distinguish* themselves.
    * SE: each antho has its own constraints
    * EI: re: van helsing antho and bookstore and animal antho–some writers took ALL of elements in same story (10-20)

    SE: e.g. Ray Bradbury who just made up titles and wrote story around them. (i.e. self-imposed constraints)

    DM: advice for writers subbing to anthos, being creative & interesting as possible w/in constraints
    * JL: read widely, know traditions of field in which you’re working. what are the trends? cook’s challenge: take simple ingredietns and use them well. [zombie penises]
    * DM: Strange Horizon’s cliched plot list
    ** JL: list of challenges, to him
    * MR: “anti-constraint” — completely reinventing the wheel
    * EI: think of five ideas–the further you go, the more likely you’ll avoid the trends
    * SE: “You WILL think of these stories.”

    QUESTIONS

    Tropes in the field = dealing w/classics — you’ll be judged accordingly(?)
    * JL: (new takes) doesn’t matter if you’re a lousy writer

    Very tight constraints and stories fit that thing. Plot, characters, etc. = they fail.
    * DM: need a STORY to hang thematic element onto
    * SE: “in the tradition of frank herbert” vs. “in the tradition of YOU”
    * JL: “horror writer John Langan vs. John Langan, the horror writer”

    Writing in other cultures you don’t belong to
    * MR: hard to not get wrong and be cause of this year’s Race!Fail
    * MK: difficult–so easy to see where ppl go wrong

    Subverting tropes of genre, culture, etc. Is *audience* a constraint
    * DM: expect audience has expectations–story he liked that another editor knew was cribbed some somewhere else.
    * JL: SF becoming so self-aware, that there was no entry point for young readers = “flip side of things.”
    * EI: TWO audiences: the editor and the readers. NOT the same thing. “conflicting loyalties”
    * MR: “…also writing for the damn salesforce.” Problem w/crossed-genre writing: “what do you put on the spine of the book?”

    BE GOOD. IF YOU’RE NOT GOOD, GO HOME.

    “Sooner or later, it comes down to you and the paper.”

    So, here’s how I’m going to do this: write about a panel I went to, with brief impressions and takeaways.

    My first Friday ReaderCon panel was “What Writing Workshops Do and Don’t Offer” with Geoff Ryman, Barry Longyear, Kenneth Schneyer, Eileen Gunn, Leah Bobet, and Michael J. DeLuca (who I seem to have cut out of the picture–sorry).

    The panel compared and contrasted different Milford-style workshops (Clarion, Odyssey, et al.), talked about some alternatives (Online Writing Workshop), and discussed which sorts of folks probably would or would not benefit from the Milford model.

    What I learned that day (directly or indirectly):

    • I probably really do need a regular Milford-model ass-whipping for my writing to improve.
    • A better sense of some things I’d already kinda/sorta knew, namely the take-home benefits of a critique that go beyond “how to fix this story.”
    • My main take-away was a quote from Mr. Longyear (who confessed that although he’s taught at workshops which use the Milford model, the model itself probably wouldn’t have worked for him starting out) said, “Sooner or later, it comes down to you and the paper.”  Amen.

    For the interested, here are my panel notes. 

    I make no guarantees that these will make sense.  I make no guarantees against my faulty memory, sketchy hearing, or any kind of telepathic or machine-based manipulation of/interference with my senses.  Anything I might’ve gotten wrong is purely unintentional.

    “What Writing Workshops Do & Don’t Offer”
    Ryman, Longyear, Schneyer, Gunn, Bobet, DeLuca

    KS:
    attended clarion ’09 (mod)

    GR:
    his exp: no roundtable; free-form discussions. real winner = authority of convener.

    BL:
    THE WRITE STUFF (“everythin except disc & practice”).
    Odyssey–“they act like adults.”
    Other workshops–crit not constructive. “i think you’re a bitch!” ppl quit.
    Felt he could not start out w/Milford method

    EG:
    1st experiences “disastrous.”
    Clarion, silver lake, eugene,
    “i am not a workshop junkie”

    LB:
    writer/editor/bookseller
    Ideomancer
    support staff for OWW
    + “very different” model than Milford
    + needed something you can do “at 3 a.m. in your underwear”

    MD:
    weightless, small beer, LCRW
    exp: ego, not a lot of constructive crit., professor always came out on top
    Writeshop in Cols, OH
    Odyssey/neverending odyssey
    rigidity! vs. “touchy-feely method”

    ###

    DESCRIPTION
    + circle
    + w/s 2-3 stories day (at workshops); 1 hr/story
    + [house rules] re: time, etc.
    + try to crit STORY not STORYTELLER
    ++ like vs. not like and WHY
    + e.g. clarion–you learn who you want to listen to and who you don’t
    + you tend to see something that *you* do [wrong]
    + Professional Level:

    GR re: instructors
    + stops things from going off rails
    + class might have “wrong end of the stick”
    + one-on-one if someone’s having trouble processing
    + pedogogical research: you *learn* through *critique*
    + value is NOT so much in the feedback
    + value is doing reading to best of your abililty to find out WHY THEY WORK
    + almost the main point of the workshop: READING!!!
    + students who are wrong…
    ++ can’t take criticism
    ++ people who don’t care what’s being said
    + terrifying to have people read your 2nd draft, if that.

    ES: act of reading/critting 100+ stories => gives you some internal voices on what doesn’t work.

    GR: worst thing for a writer is to take an english degree (“10 years to get over it.”

    LB: disagreed–her exp: different kind of critical reading. Changes process. Thinking like a “Critic” = learning how car engines are made so you can make your own

    ES: sense of community, trust, loyalty

    Odyssey?
    Different than Milford

    MD:
    +One leader the whole six-weeks w/1 guest lecturer vs. clarion (1/week)
    + “further degree of rigiditiy
    + 1 wk on plot, 1 on character, etc.
    + probs(?) w/having 6 instructors who might disagree

    BL:
    + “bill of particulars” on what you can/can’t start picking at

    ES: odyssey pre-screens re: ability to take critique

    EG: @clarion west–“never done creating a workshop” (people change).

    Consider…
    + who’s reading/who’s accepting students?
    ++ more people = more complicated = more MSs
    + accept 17 students; get 100 MSs
    + different people reading in different years
    + diverse group of people
    + [exogamous]??
    + “They’re not all adults.”
    + Milford = “subversive ways of doing things”

    LB: OWW
    + more “long term affair” unlike clarion/odyssey
    ++ can drop in and out
    ++ some have long-term process of learning
    + P2P!
    + “self-socializes”
    + EG: “false dichotomy”?
    ++ LB: not really

    ES:
    + Codex, Cambridge SF workshop, online group w/clarion buddies–varying degrees of participation
    + more crits = more voices in your head!

    GR:
    + students love online crit along w/1 F2F w/instructor

    LB: OWW “runs on reputational economy”–just like the field

    ES: re: chip delaney’s book on “the workshop addict”
    + ES’s age
    + shows up, well spoken, good critiques
    + TAKES SAME STORY to workshop after workshop, year after years
    + building up a “resume” of comments
    + GR: not at clarion
    + EG: group doesn’t reward that kind of behavior. CL & CL-W different re: amount of hand-holding done

    QUESTIONS/COMMENTS

    + Odyssey grad: discerning criticism
    ++ BL: “sooner or later, it comes down to you and the paper.”
    +++ reviews “screw me up”
    +++ awards made him froze ‘cos now “I have to write good stuff. I don’t write good stuff.”
    +++ book: getting ppl to approach writing differently. Not “manufacturer” but as art.
    ++ LB: writing is discovering your own process

    Workshops teach business of it?

    ++ GR:
    +++ yes, just by virtue of the fact that people have experience with that
    +++ professional meltdown–things changing
    ++ LB: agents blog now.

    Focus on short-story writing at these workshops?
    ++ GR: has taught Milford style for novels. lasted two years. result==unfinished novels. There is an OVERLAP, but novels *are* different. Have complexity that short-story model won’t teach you
    ++ LB: Viable paradise does novels. Blue haven (invitational)
    ++ Taos Toolbox

    “He held the Beast of the Apocalypse by its tail, the stupid kid!”

    Okay, here is, my first in a line of ReaderCon blog snippets.  I figure rather than long posts about how I spent entire days, I’d do it panel by panel. 

    First panel of my ReaderCon: Mike Allen’s “Speculative Poetry Workshop.”  My memory could be faulty, but it seemed a bit smaller than it did last year, which was a good thing.  Allen was pleased at the small size of the audience and pretty much got right to an exercise, after having us all introduce ourselves.  Also unlike last year, I was actually pleased with the piece I wrote for the exercise enough to read it aloud.  And while it sits with the rest of my Vogon poetry for right now, it may not stay there forever.

    I also got to name check my favorite speculative poet (who likely doesn’t consider himself to be one), former Poet Laureate Charles Simic.  You don’t agree?  Check out the piece from which the title of this post is taken.

    Next time: my first full panel and maybe my panel notes, too!  Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? 🙂

    ReaderCon Shout-Outs

    We played the pier on Venice beach
    The crowd called out for more
    Zappa and the Mothers next
    We finished with a roar
    Jimi was so kind to us
    Had us on the tour
    We got some education
    Like we never got before

    Chicago, “Scrapbook”

    I promised myself I wasn’t going to put off blogging about ReaderCon for weeks like I did last year.  So, like Chicago did in this song, I’m gonna start with some shout-outs!


    Bart and Kay — thanks for hosting the Broken Slate release party/Crossed Genres reading, and for giving me the thrill of my short writing career by letting me read “Combat Stress Reaction.”  And, Barbara, again, sorry for missing your reading–but I was glad to have met you a bit later.

    Carrie — thanks for introducing me to, and letting me share food and drink with Ken Liu, Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa!  Didn’t I tell you it was going to be a blast?!

    Carrie, Claude and Camille, and [edited to add] Lucia — thanks for hanging at the Crossed Genres reading.  Camille, your story was awesome!

    Ken — Great to meet you!!

    Conni — thanks for letting me be +1 at [redacted].  Thanks for signing Retro Spec for me, and see you at Dragon*Con!

    Eric — I have no choice but to bow down to someone who can get three writers I was too intimidated to approach for a second ReaderCon in a row (and others) to read for him on stage!  And not for the first time, either.

    Calista — It’d just been too, too long! So great to catch up. 🙂

    Next time: I came for the people, but I stayed for the panels!