Monday, October 6, 2014

Can you carry all these bags at once? - aka Convolution 2014

I’ve been to Convolution since its first year.  I’ve chosen to return each year since, but this is the first year I’ve come away and felt relaxed with a genuine sense of happiness at the end. I had fun this year!   Even though the Masquerade didn’t go as planned for me, due to miscommunication somewhere along the way, I still had a great time overall.  I’ll be doing a separate blog about my costume later.  I'm really happy for my friends who participated, and they've all done their posts about it, just start clicking through the links to see many of the costumes

My sister Jenny and I arrived on Friday afternoon.  We checked into the hotel then hauled our stuff up to the room in one trip.  A challenge like that should never be passed up.  Multiple trips? No thanks!  Two suitcases, two backpacks, a cooler, a garment bag, five tote bags and a small dragon.   We were very proud.   Think of us next time you bring in groceries from your car.  We are your role models
We picked up badges and met up with Sheryl R. Hayes and Sally Rose Robinson.  Sheryl gave me a crochet baby Groot for my birthday that I was sworn to secrecy about.  His twin was going in the charity auction so I couldn't even brag on twitter.
While I was on my own I ran into SetsuUzume, and her fiancĂ© Zach. Setsu is one of the most fun people I know.  I always seem to run into her when going from one place to another. We usually end up saying hello in passing, this year we finally spent time at a party Saturday night.  A conversation with Setsu often ends in a direction you don’t expect, which is half the fun.
I spent some time with some great folks at lunch on Friday; Arley Sorg, Erin Metcalf, Effie Seiberg, and Brian Buhl. 

Friday afternoon I went to a panel with Tanya Huff, Tyler King and Steven Mix and Carrie Sessarego.  It was in the most far away room on the highest floor of the hotel.  After the panel, Tanya, Carrie, Sheryl and I all walked the more scenic rout back to the elevator. There was a big window at a balcony so we played point out the local landmarks for the Canadian.
I went to the Writer’s Workshop on Saturday afternoon, organized by Wanda Kurchu.  No migraine this year, which makes the whole thing so much easier.  The wonderful Lillian Csernica, Jon DelArroz, M. Christian  with Sheryl R Hayes and Brian Buhl all gave their critiques for part of my second novel.  Some of what they said was expected, things I knew would be weak this first draft.  Some I thought I'd cleaned up, some of it was not at all expected and we'll see what I do with it.  So it’s back to the mines for me.  Some of the unexpected is a good thing it means I’m looking at quite a few things in new ways which is why I took it in the first place.  It’s a book that I’m not done writing yet so that means that a lot of things are easy to move around. 
I was scheduled to be on three panels, and I moderated two of them.   The Kink: 50 Shades of Grey panel wasn’t what I expected but was interesting.  Entering the Professional World panel which I moderated was just what it needed to be, though maybe not what I expected.  Ultimately, I think many panels aren't what you expect.  They but become something really cool and fascinating through the course of conversation.  It's the melding of the personalities on the panel that makes them work.
My Monday morning panel, Bend it like Bechdel - was my favorite panel of the convention.  Fellow panelists were Juliette Wade, Lance Moore, Michael Rhodes. We had a really involved group attending. When I proposed the panel the idea was to find something other than the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests because I was dissatisfied with them.  I thought if I brought the idea to a group of panelists and a room full of people with opinions on the subject we would either come up with a better Test, or decide no test was ever going to work.  A lofty goal, so I may have been reaching too high.  I read a lot of articles on both sides of Bechdel, and Mako Mori, and also looked around for any other types of “tests” out there that were a gauge of representation of women.  I found Gina Davis’s seejane.org which is a really amazing.  Ultimately I don’t think we reached a consensus.  We all want women to be human, not props.  Even then though, it isn’t a rule or a test to tick off on a list to say your movie or show is complete. 
Who else did I see at Convolution? There were so many really awesome people there that made this a great experience.  I chatted with Kyle Aisteach at meet the Guests. I never had time to go to any of his panels, which is a shame.  I had lunch with Jennifer Carson, Denise Tanaka and Carolyn Hill. Brian Buhl and Sheryl R. Hayes were there too.  Melissa Snark popped into the Bend it like Bechdel panel and helped bring it to life. I know there were other people.
Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything.
Things I learned this year include the following; you can avoid spending too much money in the dealer’s room if you are a guest and have a friend who is also a guest.  Then you are then always in a panel that you are either on or obligated by friendship to attend.  I only purchased dice this year.  My bank account is in shock.  You can get in and out of the Swiftwater cafĂ© quickly if you tell them exactly when you have to be at your next event when you are seated.  If you forget your sister’s favorite snacks while packing, you are a horrible person.  But she’ll still come to your Kink panel because she loves you. In fact, she'll come to all of them and even buy you a Funko Pop Groot because it's your birthday and you're too busy to go in the dealers room.