Anyone interested in exercising their mad graphic design skillz for eternal fame and glory, or at least the profound gratitude of the conference organizers?
Anyone interested in exercising their mad graphic design skillz for eternal fame and glory, or at least the profound gratitude of the conference organizers?
Here's proof of how far I'm out of the HP fandom loop these days -- I had no idea the conference even existed until melissa_tlc mentioned it in passing -- naturally assuming I'd be there. And why not? It's only a couple hours' drive! Only, I just found out about it last week. Erm.
So now I'm trying to decide whether it's worth going to the whole shebang (or part of it at least), or whether I should just try to zip into Toronto one day during the conference for a casual meet-up. What say you, loyal readers? Will you be there?
Secondly, Keane make the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous music I've heard in a long time. I love, love, love, love, love their album. If I had a band of my own, this is the kind of music I'd want to be making -- melodic, piano-based, lyrical, sweet and wistful without being saccharine. Amazing stuff.
Thirdly, I had a wonderful time at Bouchercon, attended a lot of interesting and useful panels on writing/editing/publishing, made some very interesting contacts, and hope--really, earnestly hope--to have some special good news to post here soon. *chews nails*
Also had a rollicking good dinner with Laurie and got some nifty tidbits about the upcoming Russell book, such as:
Oh, and it's called Locked Rooms, for anyone who didn't know that already.
Russell spent more time in San Francisco as a child than she thinks she did. (This explains a lot, actually.) Her father's name was Charles; her brother's, Levi. We will see a flashback to the Accident. As the book goes on Russell becomes increasingly unreliable as a narrator, thus necessitating -- get this -- a section of the book written from Holmes's POV (in third person). Whee! There will be a cameo from Dashiell Hammett.
And finally, I have at last crossed the line into complete fangirl idiocy and am driving to Toronto today to see Kalan Porter performing at a local shopping centre (along with Matt Dusk, Shaye, and Jann Arden -- it's a free concert to support breast cancer research). But don't worry too much about my sanity yet: in all honesty, I am almost as excited about meeting Shoebox and some of my other co-snarkers from the TWoP Canadian Idol discussion forum as I am about seeing Kalan live.
I did, however, turn the icon on this post into a full-sized t-shirt design so I could wear it to the concert and, hopefully, make Kalan crack up (if it happens while he's on stage, so much the better). After the concert I'm going to give the shirt to Shoebox if she wants it... if not, I'll pass it on to one of the other TWoPpers.
Anyway, I'll only do this once, but it has to be done: EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
As you were.
Also, I'll be gone for two days to BoucherCon to hang out with some of the Bees and have dinner with Laurie King, so even if it does get fixed within the next 48 hours as hoped, I won't be here to enjoy it.
All of which means that you won't be seeing much of me here or anywhere else online until Saturday night. On the other hand, that means I have no more excuse to procrastinate on editing my novel. It's an ill wind, etc.
Note to self: Need some new icons.
*takes deep breath*
Oh why oh why oh why do I not have Case of the Winning Woman finished? Or my modern mystery novel? There will be agents and editors there and aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggh.
Except that aside from Laurie, there is not a single author on the (very long) list of attending mystery authors whose books I have actually read. I've heard of Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson, but haven't actually read any of their stuff. I think my brother might be a Rankin reader though, come to think of it...
*clicks randomly around Bouchercon site, in a state of dizzy excitement*
Woo! JKR is up for "Best Young Adult Mystery" in the Anthony Awards, for OotP! (Er... how weird is that, really?)
Oh, man, I cannot believe this. I'm already thinking -- I could stay with my brother, who has an apartment in downtown Toronto, and I could take the subway (I love the subway), and if I sign up in time I could go to the Sisters in Crime high tea and...
Did I say EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! yet?
And now I feel extra guilty that I have done such a crap job of updating The Beekeeper's Holmes Page and associated documents over the past couple of years.
ETA: The guilt is assuaged -- I have updated the web page, the FAQ and the group's list of acronyms. Phew. *feels better*
( What is Redemption, Anyway? )
Later, having established that JKR's Christianity does, by her own admission, have an influence on the outcome of the books, I came back to the subject of redemption in the Biblical sense and its possible impact on Snape's character arc, as well as including some thoughts on this motif in the Narnia books (since JKR unabashedly acknowledges her love of and indebtedness to that series as well):
( Has Snape Already Been Redeemed? )
And, of course, this would be further complicated by the question of just how much of his nasty behaviour is exaggerated (or at least, deliberately unrestrained) on account of his need to preserve his cover as a Voldemort sympathizer.
Finally, and less importantly, when discussing in the early part of the presentation whether or not JKR's comments about Snape in interviews should be taken at face value, I mentioned the Rickman factor -- that JKR was not only delighted with AR being cast in the part, but that he was in fact her first pick for the role -- and suggested that if Jo had really wanted the audience to dislike Snape and have no sympathy with him, she chose the wrong actor. :)
Anyway, I think those were the only really significant departures from or additions to what I'd written in the essay. So... now you know what you missed!
ETA: kizmet_42 wrote something in an e-mail regarding the essay that I think worth reposting here, as I can see that I didn't make myself quite clear on this particular point:
( I doubt very strongly that Harry and Snape will ever have any sort of non-adversarial relationship... )
However, I actually agreed with her, and said so in my reply:
( What I meant by 'resolve their mutual hostility' was not 'become friends' so much as 'declare a cease-fire'... )
I hope that makes things a bit more clear.
Anyway. On to Saturday morning, and the real beginning of Convention Alley!
I have a memory like a sieve, so I remember meeting a number of people at breakfast, but I can't remember all their names: however, I do recall meeting Yolanda, and Trista Merrill (one of the other presenters, who had her copy of her PhD thesis in tow -- how cool is it that she did a Pottercentric thesis?), and chatting with a guy named Robert and a blonde, bespectacled Hufflepuff so cute I wanted to adopt her. And, of course, we chattered away happily about all things Potter until it was time to go to the first session.
( Session One: 'Severus Snape: Romantic Byronic Hero or Unredeemable Greasy Git?' )
Afterward there was a general discussion, which I was in the middle of and quite enjoying when I glanced back to see sheryll urgently beckoning to me. I hurried up to talk to her, only to learn that Roslyn LaDrew, who had been scheduled to present during the next session, was still on the road, and would I mind doing my seminar next, in her place?
I hadn't exactly been prepared for that -- I'd been counting on presenting during the third session, after lunch and some free time -- and for a moment my brain just went *wkrstksft* (major House Points to anyone who gets that joke). But then I heard myself say, "Uh, yeah, sure," and a few minutes later was sprinting through the pouring rain, desperate to get back to my residence and grab my notes.
( Session Two: 'A Deeply Horrible Person: The Unlikely Redemption of Severus Snape' )
After I'd got through my presentation, the feeling of trembly breathlessness gradually eased, especially once I'd got some lunch down and had a relaxing chat with Stephanie and some other Snapefans. And then -- hey -- I could just lean back and enjoy the rest of the convention! Which I did, starting with Phyllis Morris's seminar in the early afternoon.
( Session Three: 'Reflections in the Mirror of Erised: Clues to Harry’s Ancestry and Destiny' )
( Session Four: 'Balancing Right and Wrong: Rule-Breaking in the Harry Potter Novels' )
The afternoon ended, for me at least, with Wendy Spiesman's ( Small Group Discussion: 'Dumbledore Trusts Severus Snape - Do You?' )
Hm, this is getting to be quite a long post, so perhaps I'll save Saturday evening and Sunday morning for Part Three. Stay tuned for The Truth About Steve Vander Ark, and more of callyperry's pictures!
( Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Didn't Exit Back There: or, The Anatomy of a Canadian Traffic Jam )
( Friday night at CA: Fish and Fic )
All of us had custom shirts made by yours truly for the occasion -- ( T-Shirts! With pictures even! )
And that's the scoop for the first day. Tonight or tomorrow, I'll put up the second part of the report, with details of the various presentations we attended, pictures from callyperry's digital camera, and an explanation of why stalking Steve Vander Ark is our new favourite pastime.
As for last weekend's trip to Convention Alley, I will soon have more -- lots more -- to report. Stay tuned to learn about the Worst Traffic Jam Ever, hear some shiny new HP theories and find out how my Snape presentation went. Also, find out why the new hot LJ interest is stalking* Steve Vander Ark (though if you were at CA, you'll know the answer to that already).
* By which I mean "stalking" in the nicest, purely virtual (and most legal) kind of way. Naturally. And I haven't actually got around to doing any of it yet. So it's more a sort of vague, theoretical stalking. But you get the idea.
Nothing new on the writing front, I've been prepping for my presentation and any spare thoughts have gone toward my original novel and how it may best be improved... after next week things should normalize, however, and I hope to have more to post then.
( Mostly insignificant spoilers for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban )
On the whole, I enjoyed the film thoroughly on its own merits, not as a replacement for the book (which I think may always be my favorite of the whole series, unless JKR does something really amazing in the next two books), but just as a darn good movie. I don't care about ( another incredibly minor spoiler ). David Thewlis was great, as was Gary Oldman. They reminded me of all the things I loved about Remus and Sirius when I first read the book, and that was what I'd been most hoping for. You may find this hard to believe, but of all the HP adults, it's Remus who comes closest to my ideal of the Perfect Canon Boyfriend -- prior to OotP, anyway. Snape isn't even in the ballpark. And I loved David Thewlis for being freakishly tall and wearing old baggy clothes. Now I suddenly want to write for the Eleventh Doctor again...
Anyway, yeah! I can't wait to see this movie on a bigger, better screen with full surround sound, instead of in our piddly little local theatre where the sound was turned down low enough that you actually had to strain to hear it at times (I have never had that problem in a movie before -- usually I have to plug my ears for the first twenty minutes because the decibel level on the soundtrack actually hurts). Not to mention how much more fun it will be with lydaclunas7, avarill, and callyperry there beside me, doing snarky and no doubt hilarious commentary. Whee! Convention Alley, here I come!
Er, you may well say, didn't you already finish that thing and turn it in? And the answer is, yeah, I did. It was due on May 15th, and I met the deadline. But that same week I got some really excellent and helpful criticisms from one of my brothers. And though I told myself I'd just work his ideas into the oral presentation and not worry about the essay part of things, I kept thinking about how much better the essay would have been if I'd had time to make the changes he suggested. Finally I realized that deadline or no deadline, I was just not going to be happy until I did a redraft.
Fearing the worst, I asked the convenors if there might still be a chance to submit a revision, if I didn't take too long about it. And to my relief, they said yes. So I spent the last three days tearing the essay to bits and remaking it. After about six hours of editing, I began to wonder if I'd have been better to just forget the first draft entirely and rewrite it from scratch -- but fortunately the last half didn't require as much work as the first.
I have murdered my darlings, and they bled most beautifully. It wasn't easy, but I feel much better about the essay now.*
Now I just have to work on the outline for the oral presentation, my entry for the Weiss ficathon, and the sequel to "Endings and Beginnings"... all of which should keep me busy for the next month at least.
*Except for one subheading I wrote that makes no sense whatsoever, not only because the allusion was obscure to begin with but because I accidentally misquoted the book of Proverbs. Gah. Why do I do these things?
On a more positive note, I have finished the Snape essay for Convention Alley, and now have only to finish the footnotes and bibliography and generally Chicago-proof it... well, that and cut out about 2,000 words, seeing as they were asking for five to seven double-spaced pages, and I think twenty-two might be a bit excessive.
Don't worry, though, whatever doesn't make it into the final draft of the essay will go into the presentation. Even if it means I have to talk really fast. :)
In any case, I can at least tell you the new working title of the presentation: it's "The Unlikely Redemption of Severus Snape".*
Also, speaking of Snape, this post goes a long way toward explaining why I find it easier and easier to understand and sympathize with Snape, whereas the more I know about Sirius, the more I want to scream and tear my hair in sheer frustration with the man. It's all about the Myers-Briggs.
Snape and I are both INTJ, so it makes perfect sense to me that he would become snappish and unpleasant when forced to deal with large groups of people all poking and prodding him to come out of his shell (indeed, his patience with the flamboyantly extroverted Dumbledore, especially over things like the Christmas cracker incident, is positively saintly in my opinion). It also makes perfect sense to me that Snape would value rational thought and argument over his feelings (or indeed anyone else's) and make most of his decisions accordingly.
But most of all I identify with Snape's very NT need to be accepted for who he is, without anyone else telling him who he ought to be or what he ought to look like. "Wash your hair, greaseball!" is NOT a good way to get an NT to conform to community standards of appearance; it's more likely to make him put extra grease in his hair for the rest of his life, or at least yours, just to prove how utterly wrong it is for society to value appearance over character. Unfortunately, as I and Snape both know, this kind of mulish disregard for the status quo also gets you bullied by the extroverted, fashionably dressed, socially adept kids at school.
Excuse me while I go and make my Snape muse a nice soothing cup of tea.
*Which is not, as one person thought, meant to say that I think Snape is unlikely to be redeemed. Actually, my view is that his redemption, contrary as it is to most people's expectations (and therefore "unlikely"), has already happened. Now it's just a matter of Snape learning to live as a redeemed person instead of continuing to dwell on his dark past (gosh, the theology just writes itself, here), and of people like Harry who have a low opinion of Snape's nature and intentions coming to realize that their view of him is at least partially wrong.
Now this is going to sound stupid, especially to those on my flist who have actually met me, but I can be really shy and nervous sometimes, and this was one of those times. Going up to the person at the counter in a bookstore and asking them to post a flyer about a book-related event shouldn't be an intimidating prospect -- I mean, the worst thing that could happen is that they say no, right? However, I am prone to overthinking things (gee, no wonder Hamlet is my favorite Shakespearean tragedy) and when I walked in the door of the local children's bookstore (which seemed to me the most likely to be interested in the flyer, since their store is full of Potter stuff and it was where I'd bought my own copy of OotP at midnight) my thoughts were running something like this:
I don't want to just walk in the door, barge right up to the counter and ask, because maybe that'll put them off. I should browse a bit first... which isn't hard, because I do like books, and oh, it's been so long since I had the chance to really enjoy shopping in a bookstore... except I'm not really looking for anything specific, and I just want to get this flyer thing over with... and now I feel like I'm being deceitful, pretending to browse when I'm not really here to browse, and as soon as I tell them about the flyer they're going to know that my browsing wasn't real, and maybe that will put them off...
Anyway, I did finally work myself up to this Herculean task (snert) and approached the lady behind the counter. "Um, hello... would you be willing to post this flyer somewhere in your store? It's about a literary conference... for grown-up fans of Harry Potter."
And she gave me this look, not exactly an unfriendly look, but more an "Are you serious?" look. Then she laughed, as if to say, "What won't they think of next?" and took the flyer. But I was left with the impression that she thought the idea of adults being seriously interested in HP, and holding an actual conference about it, was really bizarre.
That threw me into a bit of a tizzy, and when I got to the next store (an eclectic little shop that sells Great Literature at one end, and comic books and RPG stuff at the other) I spent a whole ten minutes faux-browsing before I worked myself up to talking to the girl behind the counter. As soon as she heard the words "grown-up fans of Harry Potter", however, her face brightened. "Cool!" she said. "What a great idea! I'll put it up right away."
That made me feel better, and I walked on to the third store with renewed enthusiasm. However, this was the Very Important Bookstore, where they sell a lot of classic literature and theatre criticism and it always seems to be staffed by men who look like retired English professors, so I waffled around some more before I could find the courage to tell the tweedy, silver-haired man at the counter what I'd really come for. "It's a flyer, for a literary convention," I squeaked, "for adults who like Harry Potter--"
-- and all my fears vanished as his face cracked into a broad, genuinely delighted grin. "Gosh!" he said. "Who could resist?" And I could tell he really meant it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up himself.
And the lady at the fourth bookshop was also very nice about it -- not perhaps so personally enthused as the second and third people I talked to had been, but not in the least supercilious. As I was leaving, she said, "Are you planning to go?"
"Um, yes," I said, blushing, "I'm one of the presenters."
"Oh, really!" she said. "I'll bet you're looking forward to it. Well, I'll put this up on the board. And good luck to you!"
So, all in all, I'd say the response in my hometown was quite positive. Still, I'm glad that I only have one bookshop left to visit!
I want to put some stuff into this presentation that makes it different from the rest, perhaps different from what people are accustomed to or what they'll get in the other seminars, but hopefully not boring either. I was looking at the audio-visual requirements of the other presenters and feeling rather daunted at first, because I'm accustomed to teaching Bible to women's groups, and working without even a black (or white) board, let alone a PowerPoint presentation. And here's everybody else with laptops and screens and slideshows and other technical whatnot.
I could, I suppose, get into PowerPoint -- and probably even make some useful and eye-catching slides with it, since graphic art is What I Do, and I've played around with the program before. But even so, the idea of talking and using PP at the same time makes me feel like David in Saul's armour. Not to mention that my husband, who uses PP regularly for presentations at work, has lots of horror stories about corrupted disks and power outages and all the other things that can go wrong with a carefully prepared slideshow. So I think I'll just save myself the stress and do what I was planning to do anyway, for good or ill.
Which means it'll be just me and my notes -- well, and perhaps a handout for the audience, so they can take notes and jot down questions for the discussion time if they like. And if they find the rest of the seminar boring, hopefully they'll at least enjoy the dramatic readings...
Dear Ms. Anderson,
On behalf of the Planning Committee, I am pleased to inform you that we have accepted your proposal, "A Deeply Horrible Person? In Search of the Real Severus Snape", for presentation at Convention Alley.
In addition, we would like to ask if you would be interested in participating in a panel discussion on Snape...
Woo HOO! I'm going to Ottawa! All things being equal, that is...
So, how many of you may I expect to see in the audience for my presentation, hmm?
SYDNEY: Was Freelancer up until middle of S2, now Mountaineer (I do not get the significance of either of these, personally)
VAUGHN: Boy Scout (*rolls eyes*)
WEISS: Retriever (so. perfect.)
JACK: Watchtower (ditto)
We now return you to your regular programming.
Oh, and HP? I haven't forgotten about it. Not entirely, anyway. Still waiting for the word from conventionalley on my Snape proposal...
Um, that's all I have at the moment, actually.
Agh! Maybe I am switching fandoms, or at least slowly drifting away from HP. But I loved ixchelmala and lizardlaugh's Funky Chess Theory With Ron=Dumbledore Bits, even if I'm not completely sure I believe all of it. And I'm working on a proposal for a presentation at conventionalley -- that has to count for something, right?