. . . is over, and of course, like last time, I'm already trying to figure out how to make it next year. (So far it seems to take four years to save up enough to make the trip, so I can dream at least)
As people peeled off in various directions I was trying to find words to fit to the images and rapid complexity of emotions and insights that makes up a weekend like this.
I began to get a way in when, late last night, I stood outside the con suite as someone I don't know, and doesn't know me, calmly threaded through the knots of chatting people, carrying a box of stuff off somewhere. I thought about how many people I don't know willingly put in hours I cannot count to put together this weekend for a lot of people, including ones like me they don't know. And at one point, when I told someone in a conversation about all the yummy local food choices that I was disappointed that there were no ice cream stores when I'd been looking forward to Minneapolis ice cream for weeks, mrissa
used her magic to rustle up an expedition to an ice cream place at the end of the day. And it was as heavenly as I'd expected--both my hot fudge sundae and the company. The key here is good will.
There is a sense of good will strengthening the keelson of this con, which--given its one track--is a conversation that has become noticeably more inclusive each time I've come. A lot of young readers and writers brought energy and interesting points of view. Newly published writers, unpublished writers, self-published writers, and readers, were all panelists, with lots of audience interaction.
The conversation sometimes doubled back to touch on earlier discussions, something that I get an especial delight in.
My favorite panel was the one on the Tropes of Emotion, which touched on cultural expressions of emotion, brain chemistry, how emotion is depicted in genre, how it's done well and badly, how character develops through emotion, how there are different expectations depending on genre . . .how to make emotions complex, and how to give them the zing of verisimilitude even if everything around is fantastical.
"Truth, Lies, and Meta" was another interesting panel that went into how narration can lie, how and when the fourth wall is broken, and a little on what makes us believe in a world or character. I hope that this will lead to a further panel on narrative voice, and point of view.
Interactive Fiction (gaming) runs parallel to reading and writing, with interesting observations from people who do both. "Empire and Corporation" had interesting people on it, though it kept sliding over the surface of the subjects, never quite diving in. I think because the subjects were too broad; I would have loved to see some discussion of the tensions between the human craving for hierarchy, whatever we call it, and the desire to test that hierarchy.
Implied Ideology and Narrative Convention was another that could have used an entire day to get down below the surface, Large-Scale Structures and Series Planning, Disability in Spec Fic, Writing to Strength and Weakness, all brought out some interesting ideas, flickering by fast.
But that's the nature of having only an hour and a lot of people with ideas. What all these caused were spinoff conversations that one could hold for quite a while, and those were immensely satisfying. It was also interesting to find out where others wished there had been more discussion, and where these intersected with mine--and went in different directions altogether. Doors I hadn't even perceived as doors, opening to tempting paths.
I got a chance to catch up on news with folks I know, but some I wasn't able to catch because time ran out; I met a number of new folks, and of course got a list as long as my forearm of books to check out.