Week of April 15 - 22
This was Minicon week, a busy one for me. I worked a few shifts for Bite Squad, and one for Tutor.com, but most of my activities revolved around getting ready for the convention and participating in it.
This includes a visit to Office Max to have some over-sized art scanned in preparation for a panel on the history of Convention T-shirts in general and Minicon T-shirts in particular. I created ten pieces of artwork for Minicon T-shirts between the years of 1981 and 2004, (mostly between 1981-1991; 2004 is an outlier), after 2004 the convention started using work from the Artist Guests of Honor for their T-shirts.
Two of the pieces I created for conventions were not chosen to be used on the T-shirts, two were used as front & back for the same year. So, my work was used for seven Minicons. (Not including a Volunteer T-shirt design which may have been used for more than one year.) (My preparations included researching the details and finding images that weren't in my portfolios - many thanks to the Mnstf Archivist, Matt Strait, who has amassed much knowledge here: http://mnstf.org/minicon/
In advance of the con, I also filled out my Art Show/Print Shop paperwork. I've been feeling generally overwhelmed lately, so I only brought half a dozen pieces of art to the show, and some coloring books to put in the print shop. I was pleasantly surprised when a couple pieces and one coloring book sold.
I've been feeling *so* overwhelmed and anxious lately that I spent a whole evening in meditation and found myself considering doing a Patreon page. I have an account because I contribute to a few writers.
After my meditation, I found myself feeling more optimistic than usual. Maybe a Patreon account wouldn't make much difference, but it might make some difference, so I started thinking about what I could offer patrons and recalled a lot of things like art prints and bookmarks and coloring pages, and started feeling inspired at the thought of doing chapbooks. I could do a short story or two as a chapbook. I could do one compiling my original filk lyrics. I could do one compiling all my t-shirt art, etc.
I posted on Facebook about the possibilities and got little response, so was feeling less optimistic after that.
I missed the pre-convention work party and move-in activity, but got to the hotel early on Friday to put things in the art show, bringing along my mandolin & gear in preparation, since I'd promised to help get the early shift of Open Music started.
The T-Shirt panel followed soon after the Opening Ceremonies and was a lot of fun, though my part consisted mainly of pointing out the examples of my own work when they came up in the slide show. D'Db knew a lot about the general use of T-shirts in fannish history, and Matt had a slide show to display images of shirts used by Minicon over the years. Peg Kerr had brought along quilts made from her late husband Rob's collection of T-shirts. I was delighted to find one of the panels made from a piece of my artwork that I hadn't been able to find among my portfolios.
Saturday started out with my participating in two panel discussions in a row, followed by the concert performance of the Last Saturday Filkers.
The first panel discussion was about how we categorize books as 'Young Adult' vs 'Middle Grade.' Other panelists included Laura K, a librarian, who talked about how the libraries do it. This is different from how the book stores do it, and there are so many different approaches and considerations that I came out of the panel more confused than ever. Laura and DavidL had examples of lots of books for young readers and with young protagonists who deal with dark and difficult subject matter. The ages of the protagonists and the nature of the story issues are factors in how the books are labeled, but we came up with no definitive formula.
In the Green Room earlier, Naomi Kritzer mentioned having a middle grade book of hers rejected because the protagonist was 'too independent.' I relayed that to the panel. My own Middle School characters are pretty independent too: taking the bus, biking all over town on their own. Standards are different now than when I was growing up as a free-range kid in Bloomington, MN, wandering around the woods by myself.
The second panel was about Art and Mental Health. Adam Stemple moderated and talked about his experience as a writer and musician dealing with depression. Peg Kerr talked about her experience using collage-art card making as a tool dealing with writer's block. I drew on my experience working with the Mental Health Association's 26th Street Project, teaching art to adults with emotional disabilities. My own conclusion: the arts help us by providing ways to bring our lived/sensory experience of the world into the same frame of reference as our cognitive perspectives.
The concert went reasonably well - I fumbled a few times, but the rest of the filkers filled in all the gaps, and John Sanderson on guitar made up for a host of my short comings on mandolin. Thanks to Thorin we had printed programs with lyrics to the choruses so that anyone who wished could sing along. Beth Kinderman's handling of the sound system made it all sound good for the audience. Yay! And we got to share a good sampling of our favorite songs to an audience who appreciated them.
Sunday, I was back and forth from the convention. I checked my work out from the Art Show, I had the Easter Brunch, I attended Closing ceremonies, but I also went home for a nap in between (Sat & Sun both included naps, not only for my sake, but to reassure Rajesh that he was not abandoned). I worked the dinner shift with Bite Squad, and came back to the con afterward for a last game with the gamers before going home to stay.