wMay 28, 2007

Refelections on my first WisCon

So, I've just added a lot of people to my friends list, most of whom I met at WisCon (and some of whom I only admired from afar!). If you're wondering who I am, I am a white girl with curly/frizzy brown hair. My name tag said "Jacqueline" (although I go by Jackie). Last night at the parties (I was mostly in the LJ room), I wore a brown dress.

If you don't friend me back, I won't angst and feel like dying, although if you do I'll probably squee and be all excited. I post in my blog that I've had since 2001. The problem is that I kept reading LJ and friending people and joining communities, but nobody really knew anything about me. So, now I copy and paste entries from my blog to here.

So. I was expecting WisCon to be neat and interesting, but I really didn't expect it to be the life-changing experience that it was. I feel like I will consume my media in a very different manner. The way I approach movies, TV shows, books, anime, and comics/manga will now always include, "Why are women being depicted this way?" "Why are people of color being portrayed this way" (or, where ARE the people of color?), "Why are there no non-heterosexual people in this imagined universe?" I will still like shows that get it wrong (ie, Battlestar Galactica), but even all the more because I like them, it will very much be worth analyzing what they get wrong.

I absolutely love the sense of community and connectedness that is WisCon. Saturday night, I went to go find Kristen so that I could give her a ride home, and I found she and Gretchen in the room in which their panel on Dragons had occurred. There were about 10 people in the room who simply couldn't leave because they kept talking about dragons, which authors and books they liked or didn't like, and why. I attended two panels on the show Heroes and was amazed at how excited I was, and I realized it was because I can't think of anyone I know in real life (other than Gordon!) who watches Heroes. One of the women in the dealers' room who was trying to thin out her collection of paperback books set Enchantress from the Stars on top a stack and said to me and another person who was browsing, "I have a lot of good books that nobody's ever seen before." "I've read that book!" I exclaim, "I loved it!" "Yeah, I've heard good things about that book," says the guy standing next to me.
"I should have known," said the bookseller, "this is WisCon."
The greatest thing, for me at least, is that everyone at WisCon was nice, and also articulate. People spewed geek knowledge like fountains, but I never got the vibe of "OMG LOOK AT ME!" or "WTF, I know so much more than you ever will about this particular series" like I often do at other places. I will admit, though, that part of that might be because we were only by each other for one weekend.

I did feel like I was way behind "the curve" most of the time. At most panels, I didn't speak or contribute to the conversation at all, but I listened and took lots of notes (except at the Battlestar Galactica panel.....ohmygod, I am SO geeky!). There seemed to be many common texts that everyone else was aware of, and I wasn't. At this point, I feel like it's my duty as a geek to see some Star Trek so that I catch all of the throw-away references. But, it's not only that. I've only read one book by Tamora Pierce. I've only read one book by Ursula K. LeGuin. I've never read anything by Octavia Butler, Barbara Hambly (possibly some Star Wars books, but I can't remember which), Ellen Kushner, Pat Murphy, or Nicola Griffith. I had never heard of James Tiptree until this weekend.

I almost felt guilty because as a young person who has read book since age 3, I never noticed that 9 times out of 10, I was identifying with a male character, or that even when the female was the protagonist, everyone was swept into gender roles. I think that I never felt weird about always identifying with male characters, especially in sci-fi and fantasy novels, because I myself was very much a tomboy. In the third grade, my career goal was to become the first woman in the NFL. Once we hit seventh grade and my peers switched over from flag football to tackle football, I stopped playing. I don't think that I have analyzed why that "had" to happen.

Expect many posts in the next few days; I intend to do write-ups of all the panels I attended, partly for my own reference, but partly also because I feel like many of the things that were said are things that people need to hear.

This is the first day in as long as I can remember in which I have had no homework to do, no scheduled hours at which I should be at work, and no WisCon to attend. I am so excited because I actually have time to do laundry. I have time to tidy up my room. I have time go and buy groceries (the store will be open, right?!). I have time to read manga (because God knows that before I dive into the page-long list of book recommendations I have, I need a brain-break of cracktastic goodness like Saiyuki first!). I will have time to hang out with Antoine (my boyfriend), and we can watch anime! I'm even excited to go to work tomorrow (for n00bs to my life: I am a Senate page at the Wisconsin Capitol) because I have been chosen to accompany my bosses on a trip to Milwaukee, where a committee will hold a listening session with constituents on gun control - it promises to be vastly interesting, and I get to go to Milwaukee! And not pay for it!

So! It's time to unwind, relax, and eventually type up all my wonderful notes and thoughts about WisCon panels. I hope that even those of you who didn't attend the convention will find them interesting. I haven't felt this wonderful in a long time. Badass.


scribbled mystickeeper at 11:23 AM

That dragon conversation ended up going on until like 2:30am that night. it was awesome. I heart WisCon like nothing else. You should read Octavia Butler so you can talk about her with ME because I LOVE her.

By Blogger Gretchen, at 6:02 PM, May 28, 2007  

OMF, okay! Today I bought her book Wild Seed. Is that a good place to start? I also bought Suzy McKee Charnas' Dorothea Dreams.

By Blogger Jackie, at 8:58 PM, May 28, 2007  

OMG no WTF behavior during squeeing? Awesome. I like Sci-Fi but I don't really read it much, so I do enjoy hearing your paraphrasing of the con. It sounds cool. It's always good when people start thinking about what they produce and take in.

You should make business cards w/ your blog addy for next year lol

I finished Lullaby on Saturday. I really liked it, except for the end but I suppose - given his realistic themes in unrealistic plots and events - it made sense. There was SO much meaning in this book! So many little themes that kept coming up again and again, the power struggle among minorities, "there are worse things you can do to your loved ones than kill them," how it's easier to make yourself the exception than strive for equality, there was just so much on every page! I wish I had been reading this simultaneously with someone else. Chuck would be an awesome author to read in class and discuss forever! I just love his style. Even though he gets really gruesome sometimes, he ALWAYS uses it to drive his point home. I know I haven't read many authors, but he's definitely my favorite so far in a mixture of style of significance.

I've got my new blog urls narrowed down, so it's only a matter of time until SMD is back up.

I still haven't gone job hunting, it feels too good putting it off and it took me all week just to relax from school. Last semester sucked. Plus I'm scared to job hunt =(

I thought of an excuse to come see you and call a gathering back in Madison, but I can't remember it anymore. I'll think of it again.

By Blogger Steph, at 12:39 AM, May 29, 2007  

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