(5/8/04 1:46 pm)
Anyone going to be at Wiscon, the feminist fantasy convention? If
so, would you like a roommate? I have made up my mind late to go,
and now the hotel is full.
(5/8/04 2:38 pm)
| Re: Wiscon
This is the first year in a long time that I won't be going, because
Mythic Journeys is right after it and I can't manage two conventions
in a row. It sounds like I'll be missing a good Wiscon, with both
you and Pat McKillip there. <sigh>
(5/8/04 2:48 pm)
| Re: Wiscon
drop me an email--I have my daughter's room which I haven't canceled
yet--she's off in Costa Rica. let me know what days you wanted it
for. I will be there Friday and Saturday.
See you then !
(5/8/04 5:23 pm)
You are a saint. Email on its way.
(5/9/04 4:53 pm)
Finally compelled to delurk; I've been reading these boards for
about a year now and find them wonderful! [I'm a Jungian psychotherapist,
author of two books published by Shambhala about psychology and
myth, working on a third which uses fairytale images about old women,
and an aspiring fantasy writer].
Jane-- I'm going to Wiscon [my first time at a sci fi/fantasy con]
and will be there from Thursday through Monday nights. You're welcome
to share my room on any days Midori's daughter's room is not available
or for all five nights. Email me at Doso81844@aol.com and we can
discuss it. I love much of your work and would love to meet you.
(5/10/04 5:40 am)
| Re: Wiscon
Thanks, Kathie--email on the way. Am only there Friday-Sunday anyway.
(5/25/04 11:59 am)
| Wiscon related
As it fast approaches...will anyone on the board be speaking/reading?
No Endicott Living Room this year?
See you there!
(5/25/04 1:40 pm)
I am on a crone panel and in the Lady Poetesses reading. But I registered
too late to actually do a reading or anything else.
(5/25/04 2:21 pm)
| Re: Me
Well, I'm going to be presenting a paper on Saturday concerning
Pat McKillip's use of Russian archetypes, particularly Baba Yaga,
in In the Forests of Serre, and on a few panels throughout
the weekend. Looking forward to seeing all of you!
(6/1/04 12:25 am)
| Wiscon Report,
I didn't make it to yet another Wiscon, but will probably be attending
the Mythic Journeys conference this weekend. Does anyone have any
time to report on Wiscon this year? I always appreciate the annual
(6/1/04 4:48 am)
| Re: Wiscon Report,
I would report, but am exhausted. I met Kathie and Helen and many
others I had only met here on the boards, or old friends not seen
The panels I was involved in (said crone panel where Kathie got
so angry, she was still fuming hours later, and "Lady Poetesses
from Hell") had good crowds. And the YA panel (which I heckled
but was not on) actually had to move to a larger room to accomodate
There is an astonishing level of commitment to the con, even 28
years after it founding, that I find quite refreshing. Perhaps that
is because of its political (feminist) stance. Or the commitment
to ideas and relationships. It certainly seemed to transcend genre.
(For example, the biggest buzz around the con was about Karen Joy
Fowler's rise to prominence with her THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB book
making the Times bestseller list. I bought it and read it on the
way home and, while I enjoyed it, could not find a shred of genre
in it anywhere. But KJF is a founding mother of the convention.)
Mostly, I had long talks about books and writing with people at
meals, in the halls, before and after panels.
And tomorrow am off to Atlanta for more of the same.
(6/2/04 6:45 pm)
Yes, I'd like a report too of all that I missed b/c of a reservation
mix-up. (Although some people we just met kept insisting that sleeping
in the hallway was a viable option for my sister and I, we had to
I can also confirm the YA talk was well attended. Even with the
change of location, the room was packed. It's great to see such
interest in YA fiction and I learned a lot from Jane Yolen and Sharon
November. For one thing, my list of books to read got longer. Occasionally
there were bursts of joyous laughter from the next room over. I
learned later that evening that was the Broad Universe Rapid Fire
Reading and something about "a burning bush."
I next went to a panel called "Characters Are People Too"
which featured Patricia McKillip, Kristine Smith, and Susan Palwick
and found that Patricia Mckillip is the nicest, most unassuming
person as well as good ideas about characters. For one thing, don't
kill off your characters willy nilly. Any death is the end of the
universe for someone. And in some country, I forget where, they
put bowls of rice out for the spirits. Each morning they are curiously
empty. The explanation is that ants haul away the rice, and the
villagers protect their food supply.
Best button I read was: "Can't sleep. The garlic mustard will
The interstitial panel was like home, ("Finally, what to call
it!"). I think everyone there was very excited about IA's mission.
I learned about their web site, www.artistwithoutborders.org (which
I will go to next.)
However, that's where my story ends and I'm hoping someone will
tell me about Sat. evening to Monday and about the Ratbastard party.
Did any of you karaoke?
I would also love to hear about Mythic Journeys when you (collective
"you", or "yous guys" as we say in Wisconsin)
(6/4/04 9:06 pm)
| Dismay, multiplied.......
O my; I spent all day Sunday in utter dismay because I couldn't
find Jane before she left WISCON to tell her she'd misread my [admittedly
strong] reactions to the panel on Older Women Characters that she
was on; was still dismayed about this on Monday and all during the
long drive home on Tuesday. Hoped that maybe she'd been joking when
she'd said to find her on Sunday so I could 'yell at' her some more,
maybe she didn't really think I was angry [which I wasn't, just
very stirred up]--- and then I happened to read this board again,
before I've had a chance to email her about it, to find myself described
not only as 'angry' but 'fuming for hours afterward'. Oy, oy! Now
I'm out 'in public' even on a board I adore and have been lurking
on for over a year but haven't even posted on yet.
So-- I will certainly write to Jane and try to clear this up but
for the record: I wasn't angry at what i was hearing from this panel.
I was shocked and definitely stirred up and challenged and reactive.
But I wasn't angry, certainly not AT anyone on the panel, nor was
I 'fuming' afterwards-- instead I was hugely challenged, stimulated,
stirred up and thinking thinking thinking about the topic.
All this was because aging in our culture, fears of aging, the way
older people, particularly
women, are treated and see themselves, etc have been topics I've
been researching and lecturing about for a couple of years now.
I'm writing a nonfiction book-- my third from a
Jungian/feminist pov-- on aging, that includes chapters on the Old
Woman in fairytales [Baba Yaga and Frau Holle] and the 'dark'/death
goddesses in various myths.
What I was hearing from the panel-- that older women are rarely
main characters in sci fi/fantasy, in part because they can no longer
be 'active' heroines; the focus on aches and pains in portrayals
of older characters; the sci fi/f market focussing largely on younger
audiences-- and much else that was said was SO, in my opinion, reflective
of cultural views of old women and the subjective experiences of
old women I've been reading about and talking to that I was blown
away. Marginality, feeling 'invisible'-- this is what my last lecture
audience and I had been talking about, just two weeks ago. 'Invisible'
seems to be the most common experience-- a few months ago, in an
article in the NY Times, even the actress Joanne
Woodward, now in her 70s, spoke of feeling 'invisible' now that
she is older. If SHE has this experience, a well respected actress
who is eminently recognizable, how much more do other, less 'known'
women.......... This is in part what I was reacting to and I must
confess, I didn't expect it. Only today have I been able to name
why--- part of what has drawn me to this genre has been the number
of good writers who 'look like me', older women; part of what warmed
me about this conference was how MANY of the attendees were midlife
and beyond. To think that they were not also well represented as
main characters in the genre when obviously they TOO are many of
the writers and certainly a significant part of the audience roused
On Sunday, another woman who had been at that panel and I talked
at length about it and our reactions; what she felt was missing
and though I hadn't quite thought about it in these terms I had
to agree was a feminist perspective on all this. That was much of
what I was thinking about and why I was reacting so strongly, though
I couldn't have named it clearly in the moment. I understand that
the vicissitudes of the market may not support many books with older
main characters and that 'action' may be more valued than, say,
'inner quests' but all of this reflects a bias and a lacuna in our
culture itself and this bears looking at and challenging critique,
in my opinion.
Anyway, I will try to clear this up with Jane whose work and voice
I SO value and to anyone else who may have been at this panel, if
I came across as angry and strident I truly apologize for while
I meant to challenge and ask questions and WAS rather shocked and
reactive, I wasn't angry nor did I mean to disrespect or attack
anyone. For me, actually, the effect of all this was highly positive;
I've been stuck on and ambivalent about writing this book on aging
for a couple of years now and this convinced me that it IS important
to write it. I also realized that several short stories I've written,
mostly outside the genre, but also a fantasy novel I've been struggling
to revise have as main characters midlife men and women-- and one
of my fantasy cultures is governed entirely by old women. Sometimes
it helps to come to a genre, naive about its conventions. So in
the end I was hugely stirred up to go back to my own work and DO
it, feeling [even if I will have difficulty getting it published
because of the market's preferences] that it and I DO have a place..........
One of those 'lightbulb' moments you talked about, Jane......
(6/4/04 10:00 pm)
| Wiscon report
from a first-timer
I'll try hard to be brief and not erupt in superlatives too often
but this conference-- my first sci fi/.fantasy conference ever---
was a transforming experience for me. I was THRILLED by it; it fed
every aspiration and interest I have, convinced me that even at
my age I have something to contribute to it, taught me, encouraged
me, moved me, and left me full of inspiration, excitement, and pleasure.
I've been to a few other writing conferences, though not in the
sci fi/f genre, and they were nothing like this. What I loved most
of all about WISCON was the variety and the utter range of what
was presented----- from the hilarious auction done by Ellen Klages
in her chicken suit to the utter seriousness of Eleanor Aranson's
GOH speech on the demise of capitalism and how we are already immersed
in World War III; from formal academic papers such as the one on
Baba Yaga/Brume delivered by Helen to less formal readings and talks
on the market and on craft. I loved the range of panelists on each
panel and learned SO much from so many people-- from Sharyn November,
e.g. I got a glimpse of what the 'ideal' editor might look like,
the editor who really DOES care passionately about 'her' writers
and their career development and who [like me] has strong opinions
and isn't afraid to express them succinctly and directly; from Lawrence
Schimmel I learned about writing for DIFFERENT audiences and communities
and markets; from Kelly Link and Leslie What I learned about writing
for comfort, humor, and entertainment even WHEN the world outside
is falling apart. Those are just a few examples; I can't think of
any panel I attended or encounter I had from which I did not take
away something of real value.
I too went to the panels on the Interstitial Arts Foundation and
learned a new name for part of what has kept me from doing the revision
my novel needs-- genre anxiety! A couple of years ago, a well published
fantasy writer generously critiqued this novel and though she DID
say well maybe I'd invent a genre all my own, came on rather strongly
about having to know WHICH genre it fits. While she made clear that
the reason she was asking me about this was to determine whether
she could really be of help to me [if it was a mainstream literary
work, she felt less able to critique it] but I was still new to
all this and got intimidated. And stopped working on it. Listening
to talk about 'interstitial' work, I remembered that she also encouraged
me not to worry so much about this and my 'shamanic fantasy' seemed
viable once again. As well as the crossovers I kept imagining should
be so organic from my own extensive Jungian background in myth and
folklore to fantasy and folklore writing in this genre.......
I also went to two panels on craft-- one on scene and one on character
development and found both very helpful.
It was also of course truly wonderful to meet writers whose works
I've read-- most exciting was meeting Jane whose Sister Light/Sister
Dark and White Jenna I read when they first came out and NEVER forgot;
the way she wove together multiple povs has remained a model for
the kind of writing I want to do, all these years, and I've loved
more recent work by her as well, Briar Rose and Sister Emily's Lightship,
Take Joy and others. I also got to spend some time with Louise Marley
whose book The Glass Harmonica had moved me and with whom I got
to talk a bit about adding a second career at midlife as she too
has done.......... Other writers were people whose works I'd come
across or who had edited work I've read and then there is the excitement
of discovering new writers. I bought a zillion books and will be
VERY busy the rest of the summer or maybe even the rest of the year!
I didn't get to hear much of Eleanor Aranson which I regret, though
her GOH speech stirred and moved me. But I did get to hear Patricia
McKillip read and speak--- such gorgeous writing, full of such exquisite
detail and description [which I am trying to learn to do more of
in my own work] and such a very shy person. It was instructive to
me to see how an introvert can navigate celebrity and the demands
of a conference like this--- and what an unexpected delight to hear
her GOH speech which was not only beautifully written but VERY VERY
Another thing that moved me about this conference is that there
was NO sense of 'heirarchy', in my experience; editors, writers
both 'famous' and relatively unknown, GOH, everyone seemed friendly
and accessible and that too made it so easy to learn from them and
interact. Of course the 'Gathering' in the beginning helped-- I
got to tell Pat Murphy how much I had enjoyed her books while she
was constructing a pink and turquoise balloon hat for me!
What also surprised, encouraged, and simply meant a great deal to
me was to find that my books--- nonfiction, though both about myth
[In Her Image was about mothers and daughters, Life's Daughter/Death's
Bride was an in-depth exploration of the Demeter-Persephone myth]--
was of real interest to many of the people I encountered and I even
managed to sell a few copies of Life's Daughter. One woman even
came up to me and as we were talking, suddenly stopped, stared at
my nametag, stared at me and said, 'You're THAT Kathie Carlson?!'--
turned out she had not only read Life's Daughter but had TAUGHT
it in her Women Studies classes. Wow. But even without the discovery
that the books I've already written are relevant to this genre,
I really felt 'included' at this conference, even though I haven't
published any fiction yet; I felt at 'home' in such a full and deep
way, SO inspired, SO sparked by virtually everything I encountered
Well-- perhaps this isn't quite the 'report' some of you were looking
for but I couldn't help but share my exuberance as well as a little
of what actually happened there. I came home newly charged up to
continue work on both my book on aging and my fiction, sated to
the brim with the sense of a new community and an exciting, open
genre that I hope to write my way into---- and very tired .
(6/6/04 6:16 pm)
| Re: Dismay,
At my first-ever Wiscon I took part on a panel--I now forget the
topic--during which Suzette Haden Elgin raised the topic of how
difficult it was to get stories with old woman protagonists published.
I was pretty stunned, too. Once I'd gotten a bit of a name for myself
as an author, I tried to find a publisher for an anthology of SF
and fantasy about revolutionary old woman. No luck. I haven't given
up yet, though, and I currently have a novel under contract in which
the protagonist is a menopausal woman. Now I'm trying to figure
out how to write a menopausal woman. Course, if I just wait ten
(6/7/04 1:39 pm)
| Oh dear oh dear
Sometimes I forget how much the written word can be hurtful when
misinterpreted. And how little playfullness or ironic commentary
misses online. (Funny thing for a writer to forget you say.)
But dear Kathie, you WERE fuming, but in that "We must talk
some more and there is no more time..." way. And I was feeling
like the messenger who had gotten in your gunsight at first, before
I realized that we needed to continue the conversation but I had
to leave Sunday.
I agree that I would love to see more active older heroines, but
the market wants me to write either (for kids) Walter the Farting
Dog or (for "adults") active fifteen-twenty-five year
olds.And though I am not market-driven, I cannot turn my back entirely
on it and still expect to be read.
So I find ways to sneak in older heroines or at least older fascinating
characters. (The goddess Alta, the priestesses, Cat in Sister Light
and White Jenna for example. The dying grandmother clinging to her
metaphor and mystery in Briar Rose. The Amazon queens vying in my
Hippolyta book. Now the middle age fairies in "Except the Queen"
novella that Midori and I are writing.)
So let's continue the discussion here. No ground rules but mutual
admiration and respect.
(6/8/04 1:29 pm)
| Re: Oh dear
I wasn't at Wiscon, but I am upset to read that even book publishers
are pushing an 18-25 market. Boy, that is discouraging seeing as
how I just dropped $100 on books. No wonder I keep picking up classics
- there is nothing being written for me. I hate to think of myself
as "over the hill" at 40 in terms of fiction reading material,
but if Jane says even SHE has to bow down to the marketing god that
says we older women have no market clout, then it must be so.
Re: Walter the Farting Dog...the title says it all. And I finally
got up my nerve to make my first ever submission - to a children's
book publisher. My book has no gastrointestinal references whatsoever.
I guess I am doomed.....
(6/8/04 3:45 pm)
| Re: Oh dear
To echo Jess--I just finished ERAGON and wondered why it was selling
so well since, although it has an okay story, it's not well written
(irritatingly so, at points). Then someone pointed out to me that
a teenage, home-schooled, first time author/child prodigy makes
great press, thereby making ERAGON a kind of celebrity author's
book. No one is interested in writing a New York Times article about
a middle-aged, married woman with children. We're--cough--boring.
(6/19/04 9:30 am)
| Re: Oh dear
I had to miss the conference this year, and as a result the Endicott
Studio Living Room discussion and the Endicott Fairy Tale panels
were both cancelled....or, rather, postponed till next year. Perhaps
next year's ES Living Room can focus on aging, in order to continue
this interesting and necessary discussion?
We're going to make a special push for having a good gathering of
fairy-tale-inspired writers, artists, scholars, and readers at Wiscon
next year (maybe a joint Surlalune and Endicott Studio party, Heidi?),
so I hope folks on this board will consider coming to Wiscon in
Edited by: Terri Windling at: 6/19/04 9:33 am
(6/19/04 2:59 pm)
| Wiscon 2005
Where will Wiscon be in 2005? And when? (Or is it always the same
place, same time of year?) Sorry, I'm new on this board and it looks
like I've got a lot of catching up to do!
(6/19/04 7:49 pm)
| Re: Wiscon 2005
Wiscon is always in Madison, Wisconsin in May, over Memorial Day
weekend. Here's their web site (though it's too soon for them to
have info on next year's convention):
Edited by: Terri Windling at: 6/19/04 7:50 pm