January 20th, 2014

wood cat

Arisia panel: Blindness: More Than Metaphor

I found myself awake at 9 a.m. on Sunday, somewhat to my surprise, so I actually made it a panel not my own!


Blindness has been used as a metaphor in fiction for centuries, a way to talk about knowledge, enlightenment, ignorance and agency. But for some people it is a simple fact of everyday life. We have moved away from using gender and appearance strictly as metaphor in stories (pretty = good, ugly = bad). Are we ready to look at disabilities as part of who people are, and start including them in more kinds of stories and in more diverse roles?

Gann Monroe, Sarah Smith, Rachel Tanenhaus, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson, Tanya Washburn (m)

Note: I began noting whether audience members were sighted or blind, based on their own statements, partway through my note-taking, because I thought it brought important context to the discussion. I was able to extend that to some early comments as I started tidying these notes immediately after, but unfortunately on Monday I've forgotten who said some things, so these designations aren't complete.

Trigger warning: contains an instance, late in the panel, of blatant, aggressive, and unapologetic ableism.

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This was a great panel and I particularly applaud Rachel for dealing with the asshole so well.

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Arisia panel: Tell Me a Story (I Couldn't Tell Myself)

For some reason I find creative-writing-process panels fascinating, probably because all my writing abilities are so decidedly on the nonfiction side.


Authors sometimes say that they started writing because they were looking for a story to read that they couldn't find. What happens when you can't find the story elsewhere and you can't make it either? What fragments do you have sitting around, ideas you wish someone would write for you and plot bunnies that plain up and died on you? Have you ever found something you wanted in a story in other media?

Erik Amundsen (m), Greer Gilman, Sonya Taaffe, Trisha Wooldridge

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Arisia: quick con report

I am done my panel reports! *victory dance* Here are some general notes.

I had a good time! Once again, I have to remember to make specific arrangements to see people ahead of time, no matter how busy I am or weird I get about asking to see people, because while I got some great conversations in there were more people I'd hoped to see and only did in passing. Still, there was close to the right amount of socializing, and I got to talk to cool new people, which is always great.


  • I didn't do the ribbon scavenger hunt game thing, but I did treasure the "said something interesting!" ribbon someone in the audience of the Queering Up Canon handed to me (and to the rest of the panel, and some of the audience too).
  • Food trucks: brilliant. Food options have been a constant issue at this venue.
  • A con that hits its membership cap of 3,650 (I looked it up because we kept wondering) has the leverage to negotiate decent free WiFi throughout the con hotel, which was great.
  • LTK (The Legal Test Kitchen) had really good lobster mac & cheese and excellent sangria. (I only drank half of it because I had a panel at 10 and hadn't eaten properly that day, but I still enjoyed it very much.)
  • Arisia TV, in the hotel, played Allego Non Troppo (Wikipedia) after the Masquerade replay (the live-action version), which is so stunningly weird that words frankly fail me.
  • That was also the party where I witnessed the creation of a new anthology, Maiden Voyages, Motherships, and Clones, off the tongue-slip of "maiden, mother, clone" by [twitter.com profile] IsabelSchechter.
  • The most beautiful party that I saw was the Cryptozoology party, which had been gorgeously and thoroughly decorated with restful colored lights, Nessie on the walls, and a Bigfoot print in the corner. Well done.
  • There was a chocolate vendor in the dealers' room, Dark Matter Chocolate Laboratory. The dark-chocolate-only robots were weirdly dry and crumbly, but the dark bars with freeze-dried strawberries were very good.
  • If I were into the steampunk aesthetic, I'd be in heaven in the dealers' room. I am not.
  • . . . and yet I still ended up buying four pieces of jewelry. Apparently I substitue jewelry for paper books at cons. The jewelry is probably more expensive, but at least it takes up less space?

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    This was almost certainly excessive, but I love them all so much.

And that was my con! How was yours, if you went? comment count unavailable comment(s) | add comment (how-to) | link