(6/19/04 9:21 am)
Is anyone willing to give a conference report from Mythic Journeys? I was too involved with it to give an objective view of it, and would love to know what it was like for others.
For me, one of the best moments was finally getting to meet Heidi!
(6/19/04 11:46 pm)
Why not? I really hope this isn't too long...
I signed up for the main part of the conference at the beginning of December last year, and so had months to build up unhealthy amounts of expectation. I'll also add that this was going to be my first time attending a conference of this kind, and so it would also be the conference by which all others would be measured by. However, I wasn't disappointed. The music, the art exhibition, the panels, the music, the marketplace -- and also, the music.
The music was generally improvised. That's what still amazes me. During the poetry readings, during Caitlin Matthews' retelling of the Eden myth, even during impromptu sessions in the ballroom around 2:00 AM -- the caliber of the talent was awing.
The art exhibition was equally so. My friends and I have decided that Charles Vess' "Tam Lin" will one day belong to us. And since we all want originals, he'll just have to paint a couple more. Stu Jenks' photography -- okay, I'm halfway through my rant, and I've already run out of synonyms for "amazing." Curses! And I've still yet to say anything about Wendy Froud's Horned God statue or any of Terri or Alan Lee's paintings (yay for prints!)... It was wonderful, that's all. Great props to the artists and curators.
The panels were really interesting -- but here's the rub. There was just too much offered, and too little time to do it in. And I don't mean that whimsically -- I mean, I think that either the main part of the conference should have started earlier on Friday or gone on later on Sunday, in order to toggle the panels, because it was really, really hard to pick between different workshops in the same time slot, and I inevitably felt like I was missing out on something.
That being said, the panels I attended were wonderful. I caught William Hansen's "The Fettered Giant," then "Violence in Fairytales," "New Faiths and Old Beliefs" (or was it Old Faiths and New Beliefs? Hmm) and "Snow White, Blood Red" -- star-studded panels, the lot of them, and fascinating. There were many "Eureka!" moments, when something I'd always thought was suddenly articulated for me in a new way.
Meeting authors -- okay, I'm a hopeless fan girl. So insert all the shy giggling and helpless beaming and general silliness here. I was more or less star-struck the whole time I was there, and since most of those people also post on this forum, I won't mention anymore names. But it was great to find out how kind (and, let's face it, indulgent) all of you are.
The marketplace was great fun to wander around in, and beautiful -- but here, again, I wish it had lasted longer. It was being packed up so quickly on Sunday afternoon that I decided to miss the closing ceremonies in order to have an extra half hour of browsing (if running around trying to madly decide on what gift shall be given to whom counts as "browsing") , and did come out with lovely things -- prints and CDs and trinkets of all kinds. Incidentally, Catherine Crowe's "Collected" CD is fabulous, and everyone should listen to it (or buy an enameled pin!), as well as hear her tell the story of the Crow of Ackle (Achill? Ach, that place in Ireland).
So all in all, a great first conference -- both for Mythic Journeys, and for me. There's also the fact that it was the perfect venue for me to meet an internet-friend of five years' standing for the first time, face to face -- but that's entering into the realm of personal bias. Still, it was a great experience, and I'd do it again -- except that having acquired a taste for conferences/conventions now, I'll have to go to Wiscon and the WFC first, and see how they measure up.
...And that's all she wrote. ; )
(6/20/04 9:25 am)
My Two Cents|
Let me preface this by saying that Mythic Journeys was my very first conference of any shape or shade and as such I have absolutely no frame of reference by which to judge these goings on, so I will try to keep this brief. That said, I had a marvelous time at the conference due in no small part to the extraordinary company I found myself in. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet so many of you.
The opening gala for Ancient Spirit, Modern Voice at the DeFoor Centre began the conference beautifully. The art was extraordinary (particular stand-outs for me were pieces by Virginia Lee, Terri Windling, and Wendy Froud), the set-up spot-on, and introducing all of the artists present was a nice touch.
The panels themselves were, overall, thought-provoking and a good mix of disciplines. The Animal Metamorphosis panel with Charles de Lint, Carolyn Dunn, and Terri Windling turned out to be one of the best that I attended. The panel seemed to take its cue from the earlier interstitial arts living room (also excellent) beginning with a discussion borders and boundaries (or lack thereof), this time between human and animal. Highlights include Carolyn Dunn's beautiful deer woman poem, Terri Windling's comments on metamorphosis in her art, and a great discussion of tricksters.
Joseph Campbell: A Curious Case of Myth Understanding, a paper given by Alan Dundes suffered a bit from the last-minute coupling with a paper by Robert Segal. Alan Dundes spoke at length on the scholarly definition of myth, then proceeded to gleefully tear Joseph Campbell's work apart which, given the nature of this conference, should not have been nearly as much fun as it was (this coming from long-time Campbell fan). Though Dundes was excellent, he needed the full hour and a half that he was originally allotted, if only because combining these papers precluded time for questions and commentary from the audience.
The New Faith and the Old Beliefs with Guy Gavriel Kay and C.W. Sullivan was a treat; the conversation just flowed (probably because, as both panelists admitted, they actually had most of this conversation at lunch a few hours before). They covered everything from Beowulf to Philip Pullman with insight and wit.
The Violence in Fairy Tales panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Delia Sherman, Bradd Shore, and Terri Windling was wonderfully thought-provoking, if a little frustrating. It would have benefited from a moderator more in tune with the flow of the discussion taking place, or at least one not quite so oblivious to it. Terri, Delia, and Joyce each brought to the conversation intriguing ideas about specific fairy tales, the extravagance of fairy tale violence, and how each relates to that sort of violence in her own work, and I would love to have heard the rest of what they each had to say on the subject.
The Snow White, Blood Red: Women in Fairy Tales living room discussion with Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Frost, Jane Yolen, Midori Snyder, Wendy Froud, Terri Windling, and Holly Black ended the conference for me, and what a note to end on. This was one of those that could have continued well past its allotted time and I don't think a single person present would have minded. The entire panel was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and insightful, and from Jane's wonderful opening to the last minute flood of recommendations, this was a perfect way to say goodbye to Mythic Journeys.
So much for brevity.
(6/20/04 11:47 am)
My take on Mythic Convention|
What surprised me most at the Mythic conference:
1. That many of the academics were clueless when meeting the actual practitioners of the stuff they have long studied (storytellers, shamans, performers, artists.) A few relaxed when they discovered that a lot of us had higher degrees, too, and were articulate and passionate in equal measure.
2. That so few people came to the conference as opposed to the numbers they were expecting (I thought they were much too generous with their expectations, but certainly expected at least twice the number who came.)
3. That the Campbell folks didn't tone down an undercurrent of mysogyny in Campbell's work (or as Ellen Kushner whispered to me as we watched the opening slide show of Campbell and his
sources/inspirations: "We have to remember that there were no women 50 years ago."
But those caveats aside, I was surprised, learned lots of new stuff, found new friends, talked so much I lost my voice entirely, and....met Heidi, whom I hadn't realized was coming and who is MUCH younger than I expected.
(6/20/04 9:56 pm)
Re: My take on Mythic Convention|
Oh, that comment just sounds so...Ellen! I'm still laughing.
(6/21/04 3:55 pm)
There was an artist downstairs in the Huckster room at the Mythic
convention named Larry MacDougall who certainly takes his inspiration
from the Swedish artist John Bauer. He gave me his card and his
website is www3.sympatico.ca/underhi...index.html
and is certainly well worth checking out.
(6/22/04 7:39 am)
Re: Re:Mythic artist|
There's an article on the conference on Jewsweek.com, an online
magazine. Here's the link: jewsweek.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDisp
Edited to fix the link
Edited by: Terri Windling at: 6/22/04 7:44 am
(6/22/04 5:20 pm)
Re: Re:Mythic artist|
My favorite part of the conference was meeting everyone. Since that was my primary purpose in attending, I was far from disappointed. The warmth and enthusiasm from everyone I met was wonderful. I can't thank you enough for bringing me into the circle so readily. Especially after I surprised everyone by showing up unannounced. I wasn't sure I could make it until the last minute, so didn't announce anything for fear of disappointing anyone, primarily myself.
The fairy tale workshops--Violence in Fairy Tales and Women and Fairy Tales--were the best for me and some of the few I attended in my two days at the main conference. Of course, I am biased in that direction as anyone could guess. A more informed moderator for the Violence in Fairy Tales time would have improved things a bit, but Terri, Delia and Joyce Carol Oates rose high above that obstacle.
For a first time conference, I think the organization was strong and most events ran smoothly, especially considering how much was offered in such a short period of time. I was impressed since I have attended others that did not run as well. I think it would have been improved with themed tracks, such as fairy tales (Ellen's idea). I'm not much of a Campbellite myself and was a little tired of him by the end although I honor his work and the purpose of the conference.
And Jane, I am a fresh 32. I've often been told I am too old in spirit, but I didn't think it came across so strong on SurLaLune! My husband works hard to keep me young. I guess I was young to start SurLaLune when I was 26 but it was my way of gathering much of my years of reading and research in one place and possibly share it. I didn't imagine all of this then. If I knew then what I have experienced now, I would have been too scared to start it all.
Either way, I hope to see everyone again, probably at WisCon 2005.
(Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. My husband and I are house shopping and my time is consumed at the moment. My visits will be sporadic for the next few weeks, I imagine.)
(6/23/04 4:06 am)
And in what area are you looking for houses. Heidi? (Off topic, but of vital interest to everyone on board, I bet.)