Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Wiscon

Wiscon was fine, as usual. I was a bit hyper, I think because I was doing a writers' retreat after the con. My first ever. It added up to nine days of interacting with people I don't know well. Usually, I plan two or three social interactions a week, mostly with people I do know well. Fewer and I get squirrely from solitude. More, and I feel I'm not getting enough quiet time.

I see Patrick every day, of course. But we have to plan our lives so we both get enough solitude. I go out to write in coffee shops. Patrick takes walks.

The best meeting in many ways was Pat Murphy's midcareer writers gathering. (This is an annual gathering of people who have at least a few books out and are dealing with the problems of being midlist.) Toward the end, the question was asked, why do we write? We went around the room, and everyone said why he or she wrote. To express oneself. To understand the world. To change the world. To get attention. My answer was, "All of the above."

The one place my introversion does not seem to bother me is on panels. It took years of work and much help from Patrick to gain the confidence I now have. Pat used to sit in the audience at my panels and critique me afterward. "Look out at the audience. Speak into the mike. Don't cover your mouth when you are speaking. Don't fidget." And so on.

Patrick said I was really relaxed at the Aqueduct Press group reading. I didn't even introduce myself. Pat said it looked as if I assumed everyone knew me. Actually, I forgot. In any case, I said I'd be reading poems from the new Lady Poetessses from Hell collection, and I did. It's a good collection.

I was on a panel on anarchism and a panel on class issues. Neither really worked, but I think these are worthwhile issues, which need to be discussed. Class is really hard to talk about in the US, though it's getting easier, thanks to Occupy and the rich.

I realized in the course of the anarchism panel than many movements in the world today would not call themselves anarchist, though they share qualities with historic anarchism. The Native peoples of Bolivia and Equador overthrew their governments through mass demonstrations and strikes. Both countries then wrote new constitutions. They both still have governmental organizations, but they are working to reshape them.

Iceland did much the same.

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