Thoughts from ShadowCon

I went to ShadowCon last night and will do so again today once I’ve finished enough work on my short story. As is often the case, the value of conventions to me is in the people I meet and interact with.

ShadowCon is a small casual convention that used to include a bellydance hafla, but no longer does. Quite frankly, it was the best part of the con and I miss the bellydancers. These days it is more like a normal con, but very small.

The writing session I attended had three people in the audience and that is typical of ShadowCon. (Strangely enough it has an excellent vendors area.) Because it is a small convention with few distractions, I ended up talking intensely to two people instead of shallowly to several.

With Bill Webb I discuss my fears and the elaborate way I write around them, never getting close enough to get burned by them. As I explained to Bill Webb, my fears actually stop me from writing and so far my attempts to push through them only resulted in not writing for months on end.

When I began the Short Story Challenge I couldn’t afford to be stopped by fear or I wouldn’t finish a short story a week. So I consciously steered around my blocks. I seldom write about religion. I am afraid of people’s sensitivities and that stops my writing cold. I also steer around graphic descriptions of dead bodies and the violent aftermath of battles because I find them nauseating.

My current story takes me into death from starvation and exposure, one of my fear areas. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, but talking to Bill gave me a few ideas. He’s a proponent of writing fearlessly and tried to convince me to push through them.

In today’s Patreon post, Kristine Kathryn Rusch says

If a writer isn’t afraid of what she’s writing, then she’s doing it wrong because she’s not stretching herself. You should always reach just a bit, go a place you haven’t gone before.

–Kristine Kathryn Rusch

It’s something to think about.

Of course there is stretching that is healthy, that results in improved flexibility. Then there is stretching that rips tendons. I think some of my fears are important. They keep me safe in a world that feels less safe each day. I’m wrestling with this. Sensitivity around religion is real and real people get stabbed, shot, or bombed because of it. I think my concern about this is rational. Meanwhile, I have enough foolish fears that I know are irrational to work on. I don’t need to walk into real fires. Yet.

The second person I spoke to for a long time turned out to be someone I think would  make an interesting friend. Our conversation touched on Derrida, Foucault, and Bourdieu. We spoke about the changes to our institutions that have to come in a world where knowledge is no longer precious but omnipresent. She is doing interesting work in education, reminding me of Steve in her focus and interests. Plus, her husband has the same preoccupations I do.

She helped me with some ideas for the short story I intend to revise, “Yom Kippur and the Misdirection of Time” and referenced Bourdieu’s essay, “The Logic of Time.” We are time-bound, repentance relies upon that. But what happens to repentance when the constraints of linear time disappear? I look forward to digging into the philosophy on this one. Writing opens doors into many topics and is one of its delights.

Hope you are also connecting to interesting people, either physically or virtually. It is the best part of life.

Be well, friends.





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