Monday, August 27, 2012


I enjoy conventions. I love being surrounded by like-minded geeks, writers, artists, storm troopers, Captain Mals, and the odd assortment of people who just really dig science fiction and fantasy. I don't have to apologize for being nerdy. And, I'm not the only highly myopic person! Hey, it's the little things....

Bubonicon is a local, small con that happens to be frequented by lots of talented writers. It's the sort of con where you can easily bump into people like George RR Martin. Or rather, you could just stare at him as he excuses himself to pass by you, thus making yourself look like a complete moron. Not that I did that or anything. Ahem.

The theme this year was all about the end of the world. The Mayans predicted that it would all come to an end this year on December 21st. And it does seem as if there's been a surge in apocalyptic fiction in the past decade. So what's the deal? Why are we so obsessed with the end of the world? Part of it probably stems from issues such as global warming, overpopulation, and the recession. Part of it is the appeal of starting over again. We can do it better next time around. And I think part of it is that we like seeing people survive against huge odds. There's something innately hopeful about that.

Earth Abides is currently on my TBR list. One of the novels I read recently that depicted the apocalypse differently was Will McIntosh's Soft Apocalypse. In this novel, the world doesn't end with some global catastrophe that wipes out 95% of the population overnight. Rather, the collapse comes slowly, with people clinging to the old ways and hoping that things will pick up. I found it chilling, and in many ways more disturbing than novels in which the end comes suddenly.

I've read The Hunger Games and The Stand, as I think many have, and enjoyed both immensely. I Am Legend had an interesting take on the end of humanity as we know it (the novel, not the movie). I started The Road and put it down after only a few pages because it already depressed the hell out of me, and from what I understand, it didn't lighten up. I like a healthy dash of hope in my apocalypse, thank you very much.

If you've read any outstanding post-apocalyptic works, please share. Right after you make sure your zombie survival kit is up-to-date.

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Artist's Date

I started reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way years ago and ran out of steam before I could finish the book, but one of the things I took to heart was the artist's date. An artist's date is meant to fill the well of experience that you draw from. It's time away from your busy schedule to rejuvenate. It's an adventure. It's about play. It can mean going to a museum, taking a hike, trying a new restaurant, exploring a flea market. You never know what you'll find. And according to Cameron, you must go alone.

I love doing adventurous things, trying something new, traveling. However, I have little to no alone time. So for most of the past couple of years, my toddler has gone with me on my artist's dates. Sometimes I have to cut them short, and I don't have the luxury of just sitting still with my thoughts, at least not until later in the day when he's sleeping. But I get to share my love of art, nature, and adventure with my son, and because I find myself pointing out scenery or music or art that I particularly enjoy, I still manage to fit in some deep thought every so often (yes, that's my tongue in my cheek). And besides, little kids are all about play and fun and adventure. Two year olds have no inhibitions. They just do and go, laugh and cry, spin and run and drop to the ground to play with something that catches their eye. They give every moment their all. What better companion for an artist's date?

This past weekend we headed to Old Town and listened to Shelley Morningsong and watched a buffalo dance. Oh, and this guy and his cat were there, appreciating the show:

We listened to contemporary Native American music, enjoyed the dancing, and got to people watch. My son flirted with a five year old, played in the dirt, and picked a flower he probably should have left alone. If only it hadn't been as hot as Hades, it would've been a perfect afternoon.

Here's a list of a hundred ideas for an artist's date. Go, have fun, play, explore! And if you have any ideas for an artist's date, please share.