Tag Archives: style

Setsu goes to San Diego! ConDor 21

freya

Laura N. Stephenson as Freya, spearing me. http://deskoflaurastephenson.blogspot.com/

I’ve just returned from ConDor 21, a science-fiction and fantasy convention in San Diego. It was a small event, maybe a few hundred people. Despite its size, the range of events and attendees was expansive.  In a span of twenty feet, I saw steampunk costumers, whovians, ghostbuster-gunslingers, hard sci-fi authors who have been writing since the 80s, fencers and inventors. I saw mummers perform, and learned line dances from the time of the American Revolution. I learned about anti-heroes, how to sustain tension in romance, the development of airship technology in the real world, and how fantasy elements like magic affect large-scale war tactics (I.e., being able to ward off dysentery or preserve food is FAR more useful than being able to chuck fireballs).

That’s some incredible variety.

(Except for the photos, I’m always getting killed in those)

What struck me about the pro/fan interaction was that no one had the same frame of reference. No matter what the subject, when someone mentioned their favorite example, no one had read that book. I think that’s why genre writers and fans have latched on to older material from the 30s (Conan) 50s (Lord of the Rings) 60s (Doctor Who) and 70s (Star Wars). I can’t say for sure if there was less competition; but mass-distribution of science fiction and fantasy was rarer. It’s interesting to note that something like Lord of the Rings would never be published in today’s market — the standards are much more specific. As a result, we’re re-booting the popular items all the time. We are the generation inspired by those big, sweeping stories to either ‘do it justice,’ or write our own.

It makes me wonder what it would take to stand out in the age of self-publishing. It makes me wonder what the difference is between writing fanfiction and being hired to write a novel set in the Dark Crystal universe. There’s really only one answer — you have to keep going, and you have to love it. Worry about fame and recognition later. If I learned anything this weekend, it’s that there’s enough room on the bookshelf for all of us.   I tried to find a quote, but I found this poem instead. Please enjoy, and I’ll see you around.

“Style is the answer to everything.
Fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.
Bullfighting can be an art.
Boxing can be an art.
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art.
Not many have style.
Not many can keep style.
I have seen dogs with more style than men.
Although not many dogs have style.
Cats have it with abundance.

When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun, that was style.
For sometimes people give you style.
Joan of Arc had style.
John the Baptist.
Jesus.
Socrates.
Caesar.
García Lorca.
I have met men in jail with style.
I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.
Style is a difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water, or you, walking
out of the bathroom without seeing me.”
Charles Bukowski

gun

Jerry Abuan Photography – Steamgirl does NOT want free hugs from my Redcap self.

 

 

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Objects, Symbols and Affectations

When you’ve had a habit for many years, it becomes part of your persona. Your image, totem, signature, symbol — however you like.

When folks see someone with your habit, they think of you.

When they’re looking for you, they look for your symbol.

It could be anything from a piece of clothing to the way you walk. There’s something you do that’s yours.

Someone once told me that my combat boots are my signature. I started wearing them in fourth grade to be practical. When my class shuffled through the hallways in two parallel lines, some dickhead always stepped on my sneaker and make my heel pop out. I hated it. Flat tire, we called it. It was probably accidental each time, but it still drove me nuts. I started wearing boots to address an immediate problem. They became familiar. Comfortable. Preferable.

Things are different now. I don’t walk in line with a bunch of other kids. The boots’ intended purpose is gone. It doesn’t rain enough, or get cold enough here to justify heavy boots; but I still wear them every day. As a little kid, I didn’t plan on incorporating a symbol; but now the boots are part of the image I project. I still wear them because they’re familiar. The tricky thing is, I couldn’t tell you if the familiar thing is the boots themselves, or that projected image.

When you see someone walking down the street in big black boots, what does it say about them? What does your perception say about you? These objects are telling in both directions.

What’s your signature?  Your symbol?  How do objects and affectations affect your story?

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde

From one thing, know ten thousand things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi

Untitled by Shadi Ghadirian (Iran) from the "Muslima" exhibition

Untitled by Shadi Ghadirian (Iran) from the “Muslima” exhibition