pegkerr: (Honestly am I the only person who's ever)
I like these pictures, which were taken at Infinitus in 2010. Rob found them poking around the HPEF Flickr website.

Fiona and Delia at Infinitus in Orlando, Florida, July 2010

Peg signs Alternity Posters - HPEF Infinitus July 2010

© 2010 HPEF, all rights reserved. Free for private, non-commercial, use only. Please credit Jenn Racek and HPEF if photos are printed, published or reposted in any form.
pegkerr: (Default)
We haz 'em. And my daughter Delia ([ profile] ooh_pretty_mine) is maintaining them.

Minicon Tumblr.

Minicon Twitter: @minicon.
pegkerr: (Loving books)
I've been asked to pass along word on this by [ profile] kate_nepveu:
As you may know, I organize [ profile] con_or_bust, a fundraiser to help people of color attend Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions, which in the past has been principally WisCon, but we're looking to expand. This year's auction is currently live, and will end Sunday the 6th.

I don't know if you've anything you might donate--signed books, food or craft things, blog posts, etc.--but in any event, I'd be really grateful if you could spread the word about the auction. The announcement post is designed to be linkable, and has information on how to bid, offer items, and request assistance.
Sounds like a worthy cause, so I am passing the word along. Check out the community, and make an offer or donation.
pegkerr: (Default)
I've avoided saying this outright until now, but now we have a house sitter for the two weeks we'll be gone (my lovely nephew David) and so:

All FOUR of us will be going to Infinitus. So if you'll be there, you'll not only meet me, but Rob, Fiona and Delia, too. This was made possible by the generous assistance of some lovely people who really wanted us to be there. Thank you!

The girls are beyond excited. Hurrah!
pegkerr: (Default)
I am going to be at Infinitus!

How many of you will I see there?

To get us all in the mood, here's the new trailer, in case you haven't seen it yet.

pegkerr: (Default)
There's a nice photo pool for Portus accumulating at Flickr. I've added my photos. If you couldn't make Portus, check 'em out to see what fun we had.
pegkerr: (Default)
Just a few pictures at the Welcoming Feast )

I took several pictures of the first night's dance, with The Mudbloods and the Moaning Myrtles, but they didn't turn out very well, so we'll skip those.

So. Portus

Jul. 16th, 2008 10:15 am
pegkerr: (Default)
It was wonderful. It was distinctly peculiar to be there without delivering a paper. But that gave me a little more freedom to attend panels myself. The programming was multi-track, so I wasn't able to see everything that caught my eye, but on the other hand, that meant that there was usually something interesting going on. One panel (on Severus Snape) was a disappointment. It turns out that none of the four panelists (all fans rather than primarily academics) had done much preliminary thinking or planning about the topic at all. They simply said, "Well! Let's talk about Snape." And then made no attempt to moderate the audience at all. I left after a half an hour of frustration.

I caught two of three of the panels that Barb Purdom ([ profile] psychic_serpent) held, as well as Catherine Schaff-Stump's ([ profile] awelkin) panel on Neville Longbottom. Professor Ed Kern continues to please, with interesting panels on postmodernism, and the King's Cross chapter in Deathly Hallows (the two of us got into a fun and lively debate as to whether the Potter books demonstrated Tolkien's concept of eucatastrophe or not; he thought they didn't, whereas I thought they did). I had a great talk with him at the small HPEF reception, where we discussed the influence, among other things, of Jane Austen's work on Rowling's writing. It is always a pleasure to speak with Ed.

It was so much fun to see so many of the people I've been corresponding with online for years. Met all the [ profile] snapecast crew and sat through the live [ profile] snapecast podcast. I spent time with [ profile] flourish, and got really excited discussing the preliminary planning of a new RPG. And I finally (FINALLY!) got to meet [ profile] moony! We met first on line when her Snape was tormenting my Neville when we were on [ profile] nocturne_alley together.

We enjoyed Jim Dale's presentations hugely; he was SOOO delightful and funny. We heard his Saturday morning program, and then we were also at the special dessert event--I have pictures of him sitting next to the girls, which I hope to post later. We also attended the luncheon with Monique Trotter. Wish we could have attended the one with Dr. Henry Jenkins, but couldn't swing that one financially.

I caught a few of the acoustic wizard rock sets, but the highlight of the weekend for me was the ball. Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls was first up, and then Ministry of Magic. They were just as great live as I hoped they would be, and we had a great time being dancing fools. My hips are still hurting, days later, I danced so hard. So many people said to me afterwards, "OMG Peg, you were right about wizard rock! It's fabulous!" Which felt really good.

Both girls had a wonderful time, too. They bought stuff in the huckster's room, played Quidditch (and unfortunately, both as Seekers on opposite teams, managed to crash each other when chasing the snitch; Delia was icing her leg for a 1/2 hour afterwards). They made mosaics at the Smashing Times art event; they danced to wizard rock; they brainstormed RPG with [ profile] flourish; they sang along to "The Mysterious Ticking Noise" with [ profile] moony; they volunteered at the Common Room, they were everywhere. So many people were so kind and friendly to them (after reading about them for years in my journal) that they felt very welcomed.

[ profile] bekkio and the rest of the Portus team, you did a wonderful job. Excellent conference.

It was really tough to come home. (And Rob, true to form, practically gave me a heart attack on each leg of the trip. On the trip out, he was so late from his interview that I feared we'd miss the plane. When we were ready to leave to come home, he realized at the last minute that his driver's license was missing, so we feared that we wouldn't be allowed on the plane. He finally found it in a frantic search through the sofa cushions in our hotel room.)

If you saw us (or have pictures!) leave a comment. Wasn't it fun?
pegkerr: (Default)
We're home safely. Now it may be said: not only Rob and I went, but both girls went too. We had a MARVELOUS time. The wizard rock was awesome. Lots of pictures to download, and I'll have to do a con report, but I have to get to bed. Later.
pegkerr: (Default)
I didn't think we were going to do it. But despite our bad news, in the last 24 hours the universe has all sort of aligned itself in extremely surprising and generous ways, and gee, Rob doesn't have to ask for time off from his job anymore, does he?

So here's the news, and I hope people will be happy to see it:

Rob and I are going to Portus. And I'm going to have a lot of fun dancing to Ministry of Magic at the Ball.

So. How many of you will we see there?

And can we convince any more of you to go, given this news? We REALLLLLY need to see more people there!
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
We came, we saw, we kicked butt!

Delia passed the double black stripe belt test this morning. I did not attend, but Rob was there and took pictures. Hopefully I will be able to download and post some of them tomorrow. She was actually not feeling particularly well, but Rob said that she pulled herself together and had a good test.

We also got the word that Fiona passed the third pre-test screening.

Fiona is testing for Black Belt on December 1.

The test will take place at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and yes, you are invited. This is the black belt exam which is held quarterly for all the National Karate schools citywide, and it is quite interesting to watch. I will post more information about the exact location later, but again, you are invited to come watch. The whole test takes (I think) about two hours.

As for me, I had two appearances today at the Fantasy Matters conference. The first was the panel on The Wild Swans, held at 8:30 a.m. I read two sections of the novel, one from each storyline. David Lenander suggested the sections, and although I hadn't done those ones at readings before, I thought they were well matched and both suitably dramatic. The first was Elias' second visit to the baths, when he was looking for Sean, and then the scene at Central Park where Sean tells Elias he has AIDS. The second was the scene where William and Jonathan follow Eliza to the graveyard, followed by the scene where she is arrested. The advantage to reading the scenes together was that (hopefully) the juxtaposition made it clear to the listeners that the language describing the men at the baths was exactly the same as the language describing the ghosts in the graveyard. That reading took twenty minutes. It was actually an excellent suggestion on David's part; I think I'd chose those two selections for future readings (if I have many other occasions to do readings from Swans, which probably won't happen, actually. The book is getting harder and harder to obtain, although it isn't quite out of print yet). Then David talked for about a half hour about the novel, relating it to the tradition of fairy tale retellings in general and H.C. Andersen in particular. It was lightly attended, but given the panel time, I expected that.

What totally took me by surprise was the turn out at my presentation on the Heart of Flesh/Heart of Stone. My jaw literally dropped as more and more people came into the room. I thought it would be empty because of the panel opposite on Stardust, but I guess they might have ended it early. Anyway, maybe thirty-five people or so showed up, which was a good turnout. I cut one section of the paper on the fly, but that turned out to be a good decision, because it was really just a secondary example of the point I made in the previous section, and that way, the paper came in at exactly the right amount. NOBODY THREW TOMATOES. On the contrary, there were a gratifying number of thoughtful questions and gracious compliments afterwards. It went much better than I ever expected it would.

Hurrah for all of us!
pegkerr: (Default)
I asked for and got permission to get tomorrow afternoon off. With that extra time, I think I'll be able to finish it.

I still don't think it's very good. I probably should cut it: I have another couple of sections to write, and it's already 4200 words.

I am not sure which days I'll be attending. Saturday, certainly, but other than that I'm not sure.
pegkerr: (Default)
It is not coalescing at all. I didn't get anything coherent finished despite working on it all weekend, and I am just about in despair. I won't be going to any karate classes until I get it done, which is just making me crankier.

I keep forcibly telling myself that it is unlikely that the audience will throw tomatoes.

This is undoubtedly true, but helps only a little bit.
pegkerr: (Default)
It is not going particularly well. In fact, it's barely going at all. Much pacing and hair pulling is involved.

pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
I got this tonight from the Fantasy Matters conference organizers:
Dear Peg,

We are delighted to inform you that your scholarly work, "Flesh, Stone, or Missing Altogether: The Heart as Embodiment of Humanity in Fantasy Literature" has been accepted to the Fantasy Matters Conference, 16-18 November 2007. We are going to be organizing a number of less formal panel discussions during the course of the weekend. When you respond to confirm your attendance, please also indicate whether you would be interested in serving on a panel.

Also, David Lenander, a scholar and librarian at the University of Minnesota (whom we believe you know) has indicated an interest in discussing your work at the conference, specifically your retelling of Andersen's fairy tale "The Wild Swans" in your novel of the same name. It seems that it would be a fantastic opportunity for you to participate in such a discussion as well, and we were wondering if you would perhaps be interested in reading selections from your novel, then having him present his paper, and then having the two of you lead a discussion of the novel together. Please let us know if this is something you would be interested in.
pegkerr: (words)
(This is 227 words; the maximum is 250):

Flesh, Stone, or Missing Altogether:
The Heart as Embodiment of Humanity in Fantasy Literature

O had I known at early morn Tomlin would from me gone
I would have taken out his heart of flesh,
Put in a heart of stone

In the Author's Afterward to her fantasy novel, Tam Lin, Pamela Dean suggests that the book was about keeping a heart of flesh in a world that wants to put in a heart of stone, and how learning and literature can help their adherents accomplish that. The idea of a heart of flesh versus a heart of stone is a trope that has been used throughout the history of literature, a powerful metaphor which captures something essential about the experience of being engaged with the world, curious, creative, compassionate, vulnerable--in short, being human.

This paper will examine three metaphorical "states of the heart" (flesh, stone, or missing altogether) and explore why fantasy literature in particular is adept in exploring the different ranges of human experience suggested by this flexible metaphor. Examples from the work of Hans Christian Andersen ("The Snow Queen"), Barry Hughart (The Bridge of Birds) and Robin McKinley, among others, will be used to touch upon two advantages particular to the fantasy genre: 1) the illustrative contrast offered by the presence of non-human characters, and 2) the dramatic possibilities inherent in making the metaphor literal.


Or something. Help me make it pretty? Your comments are very welcome.
pegkerr: (Go not to the elves for counsel for they)
While juggling a pretty heavy work load at the office today, my back brain was quietly mulling over possible proposals I might make for the Fantasy Matters conference. A few observations:

1) the deadline is in two weeks, so I don't have much time to come up with something, but on the other hand, they only are asking for a 250 word abstract.

2) I guess I'm thinking of submitting to present a paper rather than an author's sample to do a reading; I have fiction I could present (from the ice palace book), but I don't know if I'm ever going to finish that book, and I'm not actively working on it now. It feels more honest, somehow to do a paper. I need to find out how long of a paper they want (and would it get published?); it doesn't say in the Call for Papers. They only give you fifteen minutes for your presentation (it says with five minutes for questions; is that part of the fifteen minutes or an additional five minutes?)

3) What category I'd submit it under is a bit fuzzy. I am a writing professional, although not working actively on fiction now. I have a graduate degree, but am not in a program at the moment. So which category do I submit under? This is probably a question I can send to the inquiries e-mail for clarification.

Vague idea # 1

Something about the heart of flesh/heart of stone theme I've been chewing over with such fascination for so long. I've talked about tracing this theme throughout all the fiction I've loved (including, say, Dickens and Austen, among others). Looking at the specific call for papers for this conference, what can I say about the heart of flesh/heart of stone theme specifically in fantasy literature? Is there something about the working out of this theme that is particularly distinctive in fantasy? The whole germ of my thinking about this theme, after all, came from a fantasy novel, from [ profile] pameladean's Author's Afterward to Tam Lin. I'd look again at Emma Bull's essay "Why I Write Fantasy," which in turn, touches upon Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories." (Although that latter essay is such a seminal work in fantasy criticism that it is hardly necessary to thrash it out again; and anyway, in terms of the presentation, that alone would more than take up the entire time allotted.) I'd love to touch upon this using Snape's character in the HP books as an example, as I spoke about during my [ profile] snapecast essay. It might be a bit difficult to pitch a proposal on this for two weeks from now, however, when final story arc about his character won't even be coming out until mid-July.

*Sigh* I am not sure that my thoughts would coalesce enough on this idea, or I would be able to develop the structure of a solid paper.

Vague idea # 2

The fantasy element of transformation, specifically of the mortal becoming a bird. I'd have a particular authority to speak on this subject, as I've written a book doing exactly that (although perhaps presenting a paper where your own fictional work is part of the subject might be viewed as rather tacky? I have no idea what academic etiquette would be here.)

[ profile] kijjohnson once gave me a swan card from a sacred animal tarot deck. The notes accompanying it talked about the swan entering Dreamtime (perhaps the collective unconscious, or even Death), ushering into a time of altered states of awareness and development of intuitive abilities.
"Swan medicine people have the ability to see the future, to surrender to the power of the Great Spirit, and to accept the healing and transformation of their lives. The Swan card is telling you to accept your ability to know what lies ahead. If you are resisting your self-transformation, relax; it will be easier if you go with the flow. Pay attention to your hunches and your gut knowledge and honor your intuitive side."
Could trace these ideas through a variety of works: The Children of Lir, Grimm, The Wild Swans--my re-telling, Nicholas Stuart Gray's, Juliet Marillier's works (which I'm rather embarrassed to admit I haven't even read yet), touching even perhaps The Goose Girl or The Ugly Duckling. There are actually loads of stories using this theme, the challenge would be limiting the subject matter.


Of course, I reserve the right to do neither one of these paper ideas. I even might not submit anything at all. But do either of these ideas sound faintly interesting?


pegkerr: (Default)

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