(4/28/02 5:20:25 pm)
Sounds excellent to me. My flight lands at 4:30 or so. Hope there's a hotel shuttle . . .
(4/28/02 8:16:37 pm)
| detailed report|
I would love to hear what goes on out there! It sounds like a whirlwind of excitement!
Just wondering - are there any similar conferences in the NYC area?
(4/28/02 10:26:30 pm)
| here I come!|
Thanks to the incredible kindness of those on this board and the WisCon programmers, I'll be both attending and presenting -- you can count on a report! Not sure when I'll be getting there on Thursday (buying my tickets in the morning), but I appear to be presenting about 2:30 on Sunday.
As to your question, Luciana, there are a TON of conferences in New York. If you mean fantasy-oriented ones specifically, then I'm not entirely sure, but I would sure guess so. Others here are more qualified to answer that than I.
And Kate asks a great question: Is there a hotel shuttle?
(4/29/02 7:05:02 am)
| Re: here I come!|
I *think* there's a shuttle, but it's probably best to call the hotel and verify that. I usually fly into Milwaukee, so my knowledge of the Madison airport is limited.
Laura, what are you presenting?
(4/29/02 7:57:57 am)
| Re: here I come!|
There is a shuttle, according to the conference pamphlet; you just call the hotel, wait twenty minutes, and you're all set. I don't know about conferences in NYC generally ... but next year's MLA ought to have a folklore division, no?
(4/29/02 10:41:56 pm)
| my panel|
It'll be selections from the larger kitsune work. At the moment, I'm trying to figure out a way to connect it to the other woman's paper: SF in New York in the 40's. I ordered the article she's responding to. My thought is that I may focus on the Abraham Merritt short story that uses kitsune -- it was written in the 40's as well. Otherwise, I'm not sure yet. It's still in a bit of a whirl! :-)
(5/12/02 9:37:18 am)
| Re: my panel|
I can't wait to hear everyone's 'reports'!
I'm **really** looking forward to next year . . . Hmm, I'm off to their site to check out pre-registration for next year . . .
(5/28/02 12:09:06 pm)
| WisCon Report ...|
I'm newly returned from WisCon, and still reeling with pleasure. It was literally a marvelous experience. Meeting people from the board in person is wonderful ... quite reminiscent of my childhood dreams of stepping into a fairy tale. I may never get to actually meet the robber girl from the Snow Queen, but I did finally get to meet Terri, Charles, Midori, Greg, Kate, Erzebet and Laura (some for the second time; one thing that I particularly loved was seeing people that I'd met at ICFA again ... the sense of community is wonderful). I'm struggling to find the right words to describe how amazing it was to encounter people from board, and have them meet, and then exceed, all of the expectations that had been built up through years of correspondence. Everyone was astonishingly warm, and welcoming, and encouraging (which, as a relative newcomer to the field, and a total newcomer to WisCon, I really, *really* appreciated). One memory that is going to stick with me for the rest of my life will be that of sitting up on a podium with this amazing collection of scholars, and having my contribution greeted with whistles and applause and support (I went first, and if you think that wasn't nerve wracking ... Could you guys actually see my hands shaking?). Another will be that of sitting with everyone in a lounge that evening at midnight, drinking champagne, and unwinding from the excitement of the day. Terri, Midori, Kate, and Karen Joy Fowler put together a beautiful Endicott Studio Living room, one of the most heavily attended events that I saw all weekend - standing room only - where we all spun off on an impromptu discussion of what our favorite fairy tales were, and why. We finally got to hear Terri's ThermaSilk story, which is an achingly beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast that references Carter and Dunsany (among others) and presents a totally new vision of the tale that definitely pushed me over onto the "Beast better than Prince" side of the spectrum. Laura gave a great paper on the kitsune figures of Japan, both informative and enthralling. Erzebet sat in on a living room on small press publishing, and brought examples of her work, which is stunningly beautiful (taking shameless advantage of the opportunity, I've asked her to rebind the battered copy of an AT index that I was finally able to find second, third, or from the looks of it, ninth hand ... a perfect graduation present to myself). I was scheduled against Greg (boooo) so I didn't get to hear him read, but his discussion of _Fitcher's Bride_ at the panel was tantalizing (19th century NY, millenium cults, and more).
Speaking of the panel ... I'll try to provide a brief synopsis,
working backwards. Midori was simultaneously the most organized
and the most relaxed moderater that I've ever seen or heard of,
and, thanks be to the powers above, she decided to give a brief
discussion of her take on transgression instead of just herding
we lot. It was, unsurprisingly, a brilliant conclusion to an inspiring
discussion ... she posited the theory that the good girl/bad girl
tales are so universally popular because they reassure the audience
as to the nature of their own characters. No one is *ever* that
nauseatingly good-natured; likewise, no one can ever be so unapologetically
mean-spirited. Charles brought a gorgeous selection of his art,
taking us through the progression of the image which will eventually
grace the cover of Charles deLint's newest Newford novel, illustrating
the transgressive nature of selecting one vision to encompass the
myriad texts (he will be able to explain this better than I can
... I was too busy gaping, mesmerized, at the gorgeous art). Greg
talked about _Fitcher's Bride_, as I've said; he also talked about
the archetype of the male transgressor, using Bluebeard as his primary
example ... it was a really fascinating exploration of the idea,
particularly for me, as I've spent so much time this year examining
the motivations of the female counter-transgressor. Terri discussed
the Native American Trickster figures - their humor, their sexuality,
and their similarities to and differences from similar figures from
other cultures - inspiring me to go forward and do research (and
likely most of the rest of the audience as well, as I saw roughly
half a dozen people approach her afterwards, asking for the exact
citations for authors that she'd mentioned). Kate talked about the
amoral, unabashed, unapologetic joys of being bad, using the example
of "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf," and her approach was
a great illustration of the theme; when she brought up examples
from the text, with chuckles and sly grins, almost the entire audience
was helpless to do anything but follow suit, proving her point nicely.
We know we shouldn't ... but ... (Brief aside; listening to Kate
and Terri's presentations led me to the connection that the "bad
girls" who transgress through delightful misbehavior in their
youth grow up to be the humorous, sexual Tricksters. Kate used the
example of the little girl who had a little curl - "When she
was good, she was very, very good; but when she was bad she was
*horrid*" - which I, naturally, free-associated with Mae West's
"When I'm good, I'm good. When I'm bad, I'm better." Maybe
it's just me.) And I talked about the interpretation of transgressive
behavior by critics, and how sometimes they can get it totally wrong
- i.e., seeing the mother as a transgressor because to scapegoate
her is easier than to critique the existing power structure of patriarchy
by blaming the king for his own incestuous urges, seeing the daughter
as a transgressor for defending herself from abuse - and how progressive
social attitudes have changed the story over time (while the readings
have, unhappily, stuck, in many cases). The audience was receptive,
enthusiastic, and involved; in short, it was wonderful. Heinz was
unwell, unfortunately, and unable to attend; everyone was very disappointed
not to see him (I know that I certainly was), and, hopefully, he's
feeling much better.
This is turning into the world's longest post, so I'll try to tie things up. The conference was a fun, amazing experience. So far, I've only hit the academic high points; aside from that, there was the Dance of the Founding Mothers (which really needs to be described in person, with sound effects and hand gestures). There were way too many opportunities to ask for autographs (which I shamelessly took advantage of; I'll be more professional next year, promise). My inappropriate behavior netted me, among other things, a copy of _The Green Man_ with signatures of everyone there (and a gorgeous, off-the-cuff illustration by Charles) which is now one of my most treasured possessions (buy this book, by the way; I read it on the plane home and was so completely carried away into the authors dreams that I managed to forget about the horrors of travel). It also netted me the worst flush of my life, after gibbering at Neil Gaiman like an idiot; to make matters worse, I was dressed in all black, the proto-typical Goth fanatic; I will now try to redeem myself by writing a nice paper on transgression in _Stardust_. Nalo and Nina, the guests of honor, were wonderful and accessible, and their speeches were wise and funny and touching. At one point, Nina said that when she used to get home from events like this, she'd get the reaction "Did you have a good time with your invisible friends, dear?" I know exactly what she meant. But these relationships, founded on the intangible threads of the Web, maintained at chance meetings in far-flung places, are incredibly valuable to me ... and to many others, from the looks of things. Here's to many more meetings in the future!
P.S. - I don't know if this has already been done, but, for next year, what about a panel on subversive characters in fairy tales? The old women, the helpers, the villains, the minor characters who say the things that heroes and heroines aren't allowed to, and whose words sometimes stick in our heads long after more important details of the story have faded? It was the image of the little robber girl, who asks why the heroine is going to such trouble for a worthless male who abandoned her, that put this idea into my head.
(5/28/02 2:55:20 pm)
| Re: WisCon Report ...|
I so wish I could have gone! Helen, your post is so inspiring, I may have to make next year's WisCon into a pre-wedding break to keep me relaxed!
Looking forward to the rest of the reports!
Soft whispers and valley blossoms,
(5/28/02 6:49:45 pm)
Helen, Thanks so much for your wonderful report! I went on line tonight to give a quick review and found that you have done such a wonderful job! It really was a great time--tons of Nepalese food, amazing conversations--Karen Fowler's story about her mother cutting Bettleheim down a notch or two at a lecture was sublime. And Helen is being very modest--her paper was fabulous! her presentation on the panel was like rocket fuel--it was thrilling and fascinating. It made my job as a moderator very easy. Everyone was great--and quite a few people came up to me afterward to let me know how much they appreciated it. In the end, it seemed to take no time at all to shift from the friendly familiarity of the board, to the familiarity of being together in Madison. I felt like I had known everyone for years. Greg, it was great to remeet you after all these years! And Heidi--we need you there next year! You were missed!
Sharyn November of Viking books was also there and I had a chance to thank her profusely for the beautiful look of "The Green Man"--Charles' drawings are really elegent and beautiful throughout the book. It's the kind of book a writer dreams of being in. I just hope lots of people went up to Sharyn and told her what a cool editor she was for making sure the book turned out so gorgeous.
(5/29/02 1:36:35 am)
Damn damn damn--Wiscon is always when I can't get to it. I've even been asked to be a GOH. And if they ask me again, boy will I move heaven, earth, and assorted planets to do it. This year, though, with my husband so ill, would have been a disaster.
I was salivating reading about all the goodies I had missed.
(5/29/02 4:58:25 am)
| Re: WisCon Report ...|
Your going first on that panel may have seemed daunting but it sure raised the bar for me when it was my turn. I had to be...lucid (in all of its variant meanings). Charles and I just looked at each other at one point with a kind of "Oh, God, we have to be *this* good" look.
It was a terrific convention, and my only regret was that I couldn't divide into three and thereby attend all tracks of programming simultaneously. I look forward to making WisCon an annual event. Midori, it was great to re-connect after so long and after keeping track of you via Tor publications. Terri, thank you for prodding me to get off my butt and participate; Charles, for the pleasure of your conversation.
And Kate--I'm seriously contemplating writing a story called "The Girl Who Shellacked Frogs." For me that was a best story of the entire weekend.
Edited by: Gregor9 at: 5/29/02 5:03:53 am
(5/29/02 5:53:34 am)
| Re: WisCon Report ...|
I think I saw that look pass between Greg and Charles. What fun! Honestly, the entire WisCon experience is going to remain with me for a very long time to come, and no matter how many more times I travel to that event, I think that this first time will always be remembered as the best. While my heart was with the wonderful folk from the board here, everyone I encountered was warm and kind and simply happy to be there. At the very end, on Tuesday morning as I waited for the shuttle, I was handed a rosy red apple by one of the guests of honor. While for me this woman appeared as a fairy godmother figure and her gift was given in all kindness, I couldn't help but be slightly disturbed and the apple sits now on my kitchen table, uneaten, as a potent reminder of all that transpired over the weekend.
It was so incredibly wonderful to meet you all and I look forward to seeing some of you before we gather again in Madison next year.
(5/29/02 10:22:46 am)
I am at home, at my little desk, longing to be at WisCon!I am thinking of all of you. Those who did not attend, we spoke of you, please know. Anyone who can make it next year, please do.
And Helen, thank you so much for posting such a detailed version of the weekend's events, and please know that your presentation was simply amazing! Amazing! I was not kidding when you finished and I spoke into the microphone: "Can you also do my presentation?" Midori, Terri, Greg, Charles, you were all so full of grace and intelligence. I think we had a very modest panel, and it went over well. (Except, well, except for one bad girl--who was just trying to speak up for the forlorn!)
On that, Greg: "The Girl Who Shellacked Frogs" would make a perverse little story, indeed! I would be so excited to read it! I have, I should tell you, used it also in my current manuscript, and in a story called "Tales of the Wicked, Wicked Girls," but there could never be enough shellacked and outfitted frogs in this world--poor little frogs, they need their pink dresses! In The Complete Tales of Merry Gold, Merry is a student of clothing design, and her projects--which sort of get her kicked out of school--do, I must admit, involve frogs, along with dead birds and, well, in a collaborative project with her friend Semyon, an, ah, cat. Well, a little kitty's head. I will tell you off the board what becomes of it, pretty thing. (All who are now scratching their heads or cursing my name: there is NO CRUELTY TO ANIMALS being advocated here, we are gentle, gentle people. This is fiction, fiction.)
Erzebet: don't eat the apple! Shellack it! Write something about it for one of your lovely books!
And Laura, my deep apologies for missing your panel. I never managed to say it in person amidst all the activity. I was catching a reading, and time passed me by.
I just want to thank everyone on this board, whether attending WisCon or not, for being so generous in so many ways. To experience it in person was quite overwhelming. I'd do it again any time!
(5/29/02 12:30:46 pm)
| Re: Home|
It is wonderful to hear that everyone had such a great time at Wiscon. I'm sorry I missed all of the presentations and conversations. Now that all of my siblings are married, I am hoping I will be able to attend next year! I know we have a special community here and I want to thank everyone for making it so.
(5/29/02 2:21:11 pm)
| Me too...|
Really that's all I can say about all the comments concerning WisCon, "Me too!!!"
Terri and I already planning a panel/slide show for next year,"Modern Visionary Artists". We began discussing it's subject matter right here on this board:
contemporary "fantasy" artists that have developed their set of visual symbols not from specific exsisting prose but from their own personal search for archetypal imagery that has meaning to their individual lives. For those of you who don't remember the discussion, it is in the archives of this board (Sulamith Wulfing and modern fairy tale art, Sept, 2001). I set up a mini-website so that members of this board could see some of these artists work that is linked from that archived discussion. We plan on expanding on those discussions as well as presenting a comprehensive slide show. If any of you have suggestions as to other artists that should be included please let me know.With an entire year to prepare we should be able to cover some exstensive ground on this.
(5/29/02 5:02:18 pm)
| Re: Me too...|
You guys are all being way too kind ... but I won't say that I'm not eating it up! Kate, I know exactly what you mean when you say "longing to be back at WisCon." Waiting for the shuttle to the airport, I just had this wistful sort of a vision of staying there indefinitely ... a kind of Eternal Con. I'm also now trying to figure out how tough it would be to organize a Fairy Tale Conference. It wouldn't be too, too big, judging from the attendance at fairy tale panels at ICFA and WisCon (and assuming that that's the target audience; fairy tale fans with frequent flier miles). Maybe one or two hundred people? I'm pretty sure that I could convince Columbia to host, if not for next year, then the year after ... just think; a nice, enduring, annual fairy tale festival. Jane, wanna be the first guest of honor if I can put it together?
Speaking Not Nearly as Facetiously As I Should Be If I Ever Want to Write an Actual Dissertation,
(5/29/02 11:44:17 pm)
So much recovering to do and so little time. Just spent ages catching up on the board -- too tired to make my con comments tonight. Will post them tomorrow. Suffice for now to say that you are all marvelous delights, and that I am still riding the high.
To the main point, now: The pictures are developed. Rather than emailing them to everyone individually, I was thinking of just posting them all to my (newly created) webpage, then posting the link here. That way, everyone's inboxes won't be swamped with huge files, and you can just right-click on any of them you'd like to save. Does anyone object to this plan for any reason, such as preferring not to have his or her image posted on the Net? If so, just let me know privately at lscheuerNOSPAM@hotmail.com (minus the NOSPAM bit). Otherwise I'll begin scanning them tomorrow evening and wait a bit to give everyone time to see this post.
(5/30/02 2:44:51 am)
| Fairy Tale Con|
A GOH at a fairy tale convention? I'm there! Except remeber that both Terri and I are in Great Britain (she in Devon and me in Scotland) usually from late May till mid September. So plan accordingly!
(5/30/02 5:56:04 am)
| Re: Fairy Tale Con|
Wiscon was indeed a delight this year. Midori, Heinz, and I have done our best over the last four years to carve out a little niche for fairy tale and folklore at this convention, but having a strong SurLaLune presence aided and expanded this immeasurably. I'm already looking forward to next year, with the hope that this time our valiant Surlalune webmistress will be able to attend as well. Also looking forward to Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and Heinz returning -- they were all sorely missed.
It was a great pleasure to meet Helen at last (after working with her via e-mail), as well as Erzebet, and Laura, and of course to see Midori & Taiko, Charles & Karen, Kate, and Greg once again -- as well as Sharyn, Nalo, Nina, Neil, Kelly & Gavin & the Ratbastards, Karen Joy Fowler (whose books I utterly adore) and so many other good souls. I came home feeling so very inspired by all that good talk (and all that good Nepalese food, too. Yum.) It's wonderful, and creatively affirming, to be able to talk with others who take fairy tales seriously. Many, many thanks to you all.
My apologies that this note is so brief -- I returned home to a looming book deadline, plus packing to leave for England in another week, so time is suddenly very tight. But Helen's thoughtful convention report covers the weekend so thoroughly that all I can do is nod in agreement, and smile at the good memories that it invokes. It looks like next year will be even better -- particularly if we can encourage more artists to attend and show their work.
Carolyn: There was *so* much interest in the Deer Woman in the audience for our "Transgression" panel. Any chance you can come give a talk on the subject next year? I sent many people to your anthology and your new book of poems. [That's "Through the Eye of the Deer" and "Outfoxing Coyote," by Carolyn Dunn, for anyone reading this post who may not know. Both highly recommended!]
Kate: Thank you *so much* for helping me and Midori out with the "Endicott Studio Living Room" discussion. It was wonderful of you to be willing to jump in like that -- filling in for Heinz. You did it brilliantly and it made for a really memorable discussion.
Helen: Yes, a fairy tale con sounds intriguing to me too (with Jane as GOH no less!), particularly if it's in New York -- a trip I can combine with publishing business and visiting family and friends. I'm in the UK from June to December each year -- but if it happens during the months I'm in the States, count me in!
Laura: I'm sorry, I'd prefer that you didn't post the pictures I'm in on the Internet. The World Wide Web is so *very* public -- and a number of those pictures were taken at casual, private moments. My apologies for being a wet blanket.
Edited by: Terri at: 5/30/02 6:49:21 am