Norwescon 37 thoughts

I had a really good time at Norwescon last weekend, even though I missed out on most of Thursday’s events due to exhaustion. I did not attend at all on Friday as I had another commitment in Seattle on Friday night.

There have been many years when it’s rained while I’ve brought art into the hotel or taken it out, and this year was no exception. Thursday was very wet. Setting up my table went smoothly, and I opted to leave early rather than stay for the artist reception. I’d spent the past several days sculpting like a maniac, and I wanted to rest up before the weekend got into full swing.

Saturday I got to see Michael Moorcock and listen to him read from one of his books. I also got to attend readings by local authors Keffy R.M. Kehrli and Nisi Shawl.

If you’ve never read or listened to Keffy’s work, you are missing out. This guy has a really wicked sense of humor and the knack of finding creative ways to reflect that in his story concepts. The first time I heard him read was last year. The story was about a young woman explaining to her mom that she’d trapped a zombie in her washing machine. (“Machine Washable,” you can hear it here.) This year’s story was about peeps. Yes, peeps, those gooey marshmallow confections (and how appropriate for Easter weekend). The concept? A woman whose divination technique involves peeps. I am not going to tell you more; you really need to read it. Here’s his website and the story in question is titled: “Gazing into the Carnauba Wax Eyes of the Future.”

Nisi Shawl read an excerpt from her upcoming novel “Everfair,” which was described in the convention guidebook as “a Belgian Congo steampunk novel.” That description was enough to make me check out her reading, and I wasn’t sorry. The plot of the novel involves socialists and missionaries creating an idealized settlement in the Congo and the interaction between these people and the resident Africans. The excerpt she read was about one of the settlers watching a Congo group interrogating some prisoners, and their techniques definitely had elements of African Traditional Religion/Voodoo in it. Very cool stuff, and I can’t wait for the novel to be released.

One of the panels I attended in the afternoon was about Intersectionality. Things were progressing along nicely until the topic of profiling by various agencies came up. There was an older white guy in the audience who, wouldn’t you know, worked for TSA. He became very angry and stated (and I mean stated as if it were an irrefutable FACT) that the TSA never engages in profiling and that type of abuse never happens. After all, they have rules they have to follow and he’d never witnessed it in all his years of experience, never mind that he was completely disregarding other people’s lived experiences, including those of all of the panelists. I also don’t know how he kept track of what went on in all of the airports in the United States 24/7.  He was angry enough that it felt as though there was the potential for possible physical violence, but fortunately the panelists (particularly Sheye Anne Blaze and Amber Clark) were able to defuse the situation by calmly acknowledging his feelings without denying the actual facts. Par for the course, the powder keg that is ever-present whenever discussions of oppression occur, especially when it involves race. (I may be writing more on a related topic soon, but we’ll see.)

Other miscellaneous stuff: I was supposed to meet up with two local friends on Saturday, but it never really happened. I did manage to see one of them when we ran into each other at breakfast, but we could not find each other later in spite of the fact that he was dressed in a rather distinctive costume (but doesn’t carry a cell phone). The other friend had an unexpected mini crisis to deal with so never even came to the con on Saturday.

I am hoping that next year I can be on site for the full four days and am attempting to get an early start on next year’s art projects. I am not great on time management though, so we’ll see how that goes, plus I have other commissions and projects to work on, including two that just came up yesterday.  Best laid plans and all that…..


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