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Nov. 19th, 2015

Goodnight Dune

On conventions and various -bilities of importance.

So, World Fantasy time wasn't that long ago, which means that accessibility for the disabled is a hot topic again because World Fantasy can't seem to stop screwing it up. This seems to have boiled down to Mary Robinette Kowal making an Accessibility Pledge to only attend conventions with accessibility policies and trained staff members, and many other people signing on to this. Which is all well and good as far as it goes. It might even do something about this immediate problem. But it doesn't do anything about the more general problem.

I'm hesitant to weigh in on this, because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be attending any more conventions. (And you're about to find out some of why.) But what bothers me, as both a disabled and an organizational person, about what happened to Mari Ness at World Fantasy is not that they failed to have wheelchair access to her stage, the first time it happened. The temptation is to add "however many years ago that was," but you know, even this year. Sometimes you forget things, sometimes things slip through the cracks. Mistakes happen, and it's OK for them to happen as long as you admit they were mistakes and do something about it.

The problem is that they were unwilling to do that. They said "we're not going to get you a ramp," which, OK, maybe on some level the immediacy made that impractical. And then they said "we're not going to get you a ramp tomorrow either." Their solution to the problem was to make Mari and her fellow panelists come up with a work around for the problem on their own. And that is not acceptable, for reasons having nothing to do with disability specifically, and it is not something that can be fixed by demanding a policy on the thing that happened to go wrong this year, because something else is always going to go wrong next year, something you don't have a policy for yet. And then we end up in a cycle. People in this field already have a portfolio of policies they require of conventions, and pretty soon it's going to be a filing cabinet, because it's about putting bandaids on symptoms and not addressing the core problem.

And what if next year's issue is something that doesn't have a substantial, loud consitutency? Sexual harassment was going on at conventions for a long time before anyone actually started listening to the people being harassed and demanding that something be done about it. What is the thing now that sexual harassment was thirty years ago, that is harming someone and everyone is willing to blow off? (My own experience suggests that taking advantage of artists is one of those things. One of the things in my portfolio of policies that I won't be attending a convention without in the future is one where they pay their artists fairly.)

I want a convention which says "We will get you a ramp," whatever the equivalent of the ramp is that year, whether there's a social media constituency for ramps or not.

I want a convention which, when it unexpectedly makes a profit, doesn't decide to stick its guests with their expenses after enjoying all the benefits of a collaborative relationship.

I want a convention which, when it notices that it comped travel and rooms for some people for the same job other people were volunteering for and paying extra hotel for without any of those people's knowledge, apologizes and makes restitution.

It's not about accessibility, it's about responsibility. And I've come to the conclusion that if I want that convention, it's not going to happen in science fiction. Maybe I'm wrong. But I've seen enough of this cycle now, and I don't want to be in it any more. 

Oct. 14th, 2015



So, the Amirah book is now available on Amazon! Actual book! Many many photos of a baby tapir! Support for me doing more weird projects like this in the future!

For local people, they'll also be available directly through me, though I don't have my copies yet. It looks like I will have them tomorrow.

Oct. 10th, 2015


Things are happening, projects abound.

There's been a lot of doing stuff and not a lot of posting about it. So. I guess this is an attempt to dump it all off at once.

Spring was chaos. Summer was more pleasant chaos. I kind of threw myself headlong into learning stuff as a coping device, and it worked amazingly well. I came out of it not only with several new skills, one of which (screenprinting) I'm very enthusiastic about, but with a lot better understanding of some of the ways in which my process is broken, and considerably more direction. I've decided that most of my effort should be going into taking my publishing company more seriously; we've got two books coming out next week, and a big ongoing project aiming to launch the first of the year.

One of those books is my second:


More details about that soon.

I also have six landscape photos in a show at the Hastings Art Center until November 8, and on Monday I'll be hanging fourteen of The Reader at Hudson Hospital in Hudson, WI, which will be there until mid-January; there's a reception on November 13th. I'm administrating a bunch of stuff for our new Eagan artist's collective, Eagan Artist Connect, including a Community-Supported Art project for next summer. We're also having an art sale on November 21st, so I'm putting together inventory for that.

So, busy. It's enjoyable actually having lots of directed stuff to do; It's been a long time since that happened for me.

Sep. 23rd, 2015




Sep. 12th, 2015


What's your favorite Reader?

So, I'm putting together next month's show of The Reader that's going to be at Hudson Hospital, and I'm trying to figure out what's going to go in it, so I thought I would ask you for your opinions.

I know it's going to include The Witch's Hat, The Anderson Center, Palais des Congres, and American Swedish Institute, but I need about ten more. You can see almost all of them here.

Jul. 19th, 2015

tori imposters

Necessary scenes and Empire of the Sun.

So, a common bit of writing advice is to omit any scenes that are unnecessary. We've been talking about this in my rather intense comic book writing class at MCAD, and everyone seems to be on board with this actually being a stylistic choice, but it's been an interesting discussion, partly because that group is very fractured in terms of common references, and we end up talking about movies a lot. So I was thinking along those lines when rewatching Empire of the Sun tonight.

And the thing is, Empire of the Sun is a great movie, and also a good movie. It's both poignant and beautiful. But every scene in it is a non sequitur. The plot only makes any sense when interpreted through the theme. And there's only one scene in the movie that's actually necessary - the last one, when Jim reunites with his parents. And you could probably do without that one, though that would be significant stunt-writing. But you could replace every other scene in the movie with a different scene from Jim's life and tell the exact same story.

Even if you want to keep the shape of the plot the same, you only add four more scenes: the scene where Jim meets Frank and Basie, the scene where Basie gets beaten by the kendo club, the scene where Jim discovers Basie has left the camp without him, and Mrs. Victor's death, total of maybe ten minutes out of a 150-minute movie. The real story isn't the narrative plot but the psychological plot, and that's told more or less entirely in vignettes that could very easily be replaced by different vignettes.

The decision of which vignettes to use is a terribly interesting one, and one I dont have a good handle on. Writing from theme might be the hardest starting point. Also, I haven't read the book, which I really need to do at some point. But it's a thought that's worth further thinking, and seemed like a good thing to make a post about.

May. 19th, 2015


One-question personality quiz.

If you knew you would be exactly as interesting in ten years as you are now, you would find that:

As expected
Something else I will explain in comments.

Apr. 19th, 2015


A few thoughts on playing with the Sony a7 ii.


Since there aren't comments over there, you're welcome to comment here.

(There's also a ring-tailed lemur.)

Apr. 14th, 2015

Kill and eat

Continuing Ed Class Decisions

So, the reason you haven't been seeing much in the way of posting from me lately is I'm working on a new website, and I haven't really seen the point of blogging on the old one. Blog posts from the new one are going to be more focused on art-related things, and here's the first one, talking about the decisions the MCAD Continuing Ed summer schedule has presented me with. http://www.lightspacewonder.com/index.php/blog/continuing-education-class-decisions/

The rest of the new website is still something of a mess, but you can poke around if you want.

Feb. 3rd, 2015


Gelato Blogging.

mrissa gave me a gelato machine as an early birthday present, and I suspect it's going to become a Thing. I'm blogging about it on Tumblr.

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