Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Can-Con

Last weekend was Can-Con, which is my local literary con.  I have to admit that Can-Con is always one of my favourite cons.  It's nearby, which is nice, since I can go home to my own bed. But it's also one of my favourites because it's intimate and I get to chat with lots of people each time.

This year, Can-Con's organizing committee did an even more fabulous job than before - getting better and better!  Hats off to the con-com.  You guys are rocking it more each year!

I had lots of fun on programming.  My weekend started with a "So this is your first time at a con" panel. We were short on panelists due to busyness/ sick children, so Dr. Dave stepped in and added his stories to the mix.  Good messaging all around, mostly centered around: we're all here to have fun, don't be a jerk.

My second panel was the paper airplane contest.  That's right. I mouthed off to the programming dude, Derek Künsken (who also happens to be my morning writing buddy), and he decided it would be funny to put me in charge.  Well, I loved it!  The contestants were hilariously into it.  They first had to sing for a good piece of paper (and boy some people could sing) and then, to get extra points, they had to use the "paper airplane launcher," a role assumed by Thought Admiral Korath of KAG Canada (that's a Klingon, people).  It was... awesome.

Participants had to bribe the launcher to get the throw they wanted, so that was pretty hilarious. Then the ever lovely Jenn Seely played the part of The Enforcer, throwing little uncooperative Styrofoam airplanes at the launched airplanes to take them down.  It was hilarious.

I can't thank everyone enough for being such sports as we tested an obviously new and odd event.  I think it's safe to say we'll have another such activity next year. Practice your paper airplane making skills now!

The rest of my panels were quite fun as well. I had one on marketing, one on flash fiction, one on villains and one on my writing group (the East Block Irregulars) hitting WorldCon.  I laughed during the panels, until my sides hurt.  I have to say I was quite impressed with the moderators this year, too.  Everyone seemed ready with questions and were quite good at getting everyone to talk and at keeping the conversation flowing.

The main messaging on a bunch of my panels (except my villain one, in which I believe my dark side may have peeked out a bit too much) was: Don't be a jerk.  It's fairly consistent messaging here, people, so let's take note.

My con ended on a high note with reading space shared with Leah Bobet. Leah and I discovered a while back that we had a very giggle-inducing reaction when in the same room, so we stuck with our combined strength and read some funnier stuff.  Leah read her awesome second-person-point-of-view parable written in King James language, the Parable of the Shower.  Seriously funny stuff. I even cried a bit I was laughing so hard.  And she read it so beautifully, showcasing even more how awesome she is!   I read from my upcoming story The Kevlar Canoe, and that went over quite well also. I stuck with the religious themes.

My other high reading point of the con was reading Matt Moore's Touch The Sky, They Say.  Matt is a friend and fellow East Block Irregular, and moderated the flash fiction panel.  He asked each panelist to bring a couple of examples of flash fiction we felt worked.  I had a few stories in my hands, but Matt's story was my favourite, so I decided to go for it even though I would potentially embarrass him.  He's tough and could take it.  But reading the story to an audience reminded me once more how much I love it.  Go read it. Go read Leah's story. Be amazed at Canadian talent. I am, all the time!

Hayden Trenholm did a fantastic job as the author guest of honour.  Truly classy, funny and engaging. His first anthology, Blood and Water, is good stuff.  Go check that out, too (OMG, more fantastic Canadian writers!)

Thanks to everyone who made Can-Con so memorable. I'm already looking forward to next year.  Heck, next year the Aurora Awards are coming to Can-Con, so our little con should be a whole lot busier. And even more full of awesome Canadian talent!