Occult Humanities Conference 2017

I headed down to the city on a day that started out dark but became rather lovely. I saw the lovely Katja and her kitties: she’s the hostess with the mostest. We had a lovely dinner at Veselka, too. I saw a couple of the Ai Weiwei installations too. There are always sights to see in NYC including the 777 exhibit by Jen DeNike & Damien Echols and of course there was the third Occult Humanities Conference, which proved most inspirational in all kinds of ways. More photos on the ‘book — I’m thinking of trying Instagram: pros or cons you care to offer?

Make note: next April the 100th anniversary celebration of Leonora Carrington in Mexico City. I may need to get to that. Road trip, anyone? I’ve not been there before. Only along the border.

I forgot to take pictures of the lovely exhibit by Tin Can Forest, but you can see a lot of their art online. They did the fabulous What is a Witch with conference co-host Pam Grossman.

Tomorrow I’m talking on medieval charms at ISATMA. Free and open, including the concerts honouring the late Pauline Oliveros.

NYC with the QoE

Spring break has mostly been work but I did manage to make another escape to spend the day with the fabulous Stephanie down in the city. Just before another collaboration escapes on Monday, Respectable Horror, which I edited and she supplied the wonderful cover art featuring cover model Poppy. She’s not just skin and bones either!

More photos in a FB album — they’d take up too much of my storage space here — but here’s a few highlights which included stops at the NYPL, Society of Illustrators and the Met as well as fine Belgian and Thai food. Click to embiggen any of the images.

Transmission Will Resume

It’s the inevitable ‘catch up after a conference’ hereabouts. MUCH to share, much to mull over, much to write of course, mad plans and ideas popping. And really, if you can get to it go to the exhibit. Here’s a photo teaser from the weekend that seems apropos.


In New York City

I can’t vouch for the lord‘s whereabouts but this afternoon I head down to the city for the Occult Humanities conference at NYU, which includes a visit to the lovely Katja so that’s a definite plus. I’m sure I will have stories and photos to share upon my return, though be warned that things continue just as hectic hereabouts while I constantly change hats as I move from project to project.

I never managed to make it down to the city last semester other than heading to the airport. Making plans to get back down again soon, maybe with the lovely QoE Stephanie Johnson to see the cards exhibit at the Cloisters and a few other things (there are always things to see).



Vonnegut Talk

I had a great time at my talk on Saturday. There was a big crowd who proved very enthusiastic. I was rather glad that Vonnegut’s nephew Kurt and his son didn’t introduce themselves until after the talk or I would have felt rather self-conscious talking about their family members. Kurt said that his father Bernard had been recording video for the forthcoming documentary. I was one of the Kickstarter contributors, so I am eagerly looking forward to it. I remembered to take a picture of the sign for the talk but I realise I took the wrong side so my name isn’t even there.

The Mabee Farm site is quite interesting. There’s even an old cemetery and of course, right now there’s the It Came from Schenectady exhibit of SF/F from the capital region, including some Albacon members.

Accidents in a Very Busy Place: Kurt Vonnegut in Schenectady
presented by K.A. Laity
Saturday 4/11/15 at 2:00 PM at Mabee Farm Historic Site

Kurt Vonnegut, the renowned and beloved author, spend an important part of his life in Schenectady. The region influenced his work, and Schenectady appears as the setting for many of his stories. K.A. Laity will discuss Vonnegut’s time in Schenectady– as a PR man for GE, and as a volunteer fire fighter– and the region’s legacy in his work.

I’m making the talk available because it’s not really something intended for publication, but I know people who weren’t able to be there are interested. It’s a bit of a DIY situation because I don’t have time to combine the two pieces: so here’s the text and here are the slides. It’s far more entertaining with the slides.

sci fi poster smallIt Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region
(at Mabee Farm Historic Site through September 2015)

What if you had a superpower? What if you could travel through time? What if machines overtook Schenectady? “What if” questions inspire writers, artists, and filmmakers to create new worlds and imagine alternate realities. Featuring an Apollo EMU spacesuit (and a replica you can try on!), experimental equipment and machinery from GE, original science fiction cover art, hand-made costumes, an interactive studio set, film footage, and more, It Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region invites you to discover the “what ifs” that inspired the creations of local science fiction innovators, including Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Nelson, and Glendora. Join us on a journey through time and space as we explore the legacy of science fiction in Schenectady County!

A New York State of Mind

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I’m busy painting today so I will make this quick: I’ve put up a public album on Facebook of the house in progress. So much greenery has popped up this summer it looks lush. Yes, a lot of it is weeds, but pretty weeds. The semester started with a bang and an almost 12 hour day as I have a grad class on Monday nights. Trying to acclimate and get back to work, but it’s a challenge. There’s so much to do; at least I’ll be busy. But I miss Dundee and the ones I love there…

I’ll try to write up my con experiences before I forget them.

Writer Wednesday: After the Marathon

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I’m heading down to London today for the first of two conferences with my pal Debi. It signals the end of my sabbatical and all the writing it has engendered. More importantly, it means I have to leave Dundee and those I love here, but I’m going to stick to talking about writing here (if you see me sniffling on the train down to London, you’ll know why).

When you get a great opportunity of time to write, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. I wrote about my first writers colony experience in the same vein. Like most artists, we fight to find the time to create, carving out time here and there. When we’re suddenly presented with extra time — whether it’s an unexpected day off or a week’s holiday or, yes, a year’s sabbatical — it can at first be overwhelming: I must do ALL THE THINGS!

But I learned from that first writers colony experience to give in to my natural tendency to idle. As Jerome K. Jerome reminds us, “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.” So yes, I have idled a great deal as well as accomplished much (a small selection of recent publications):


But when the big marathon of writing and idling comes to an end, how do you go on? That’s where I am now. For a few days I’ll have LonCon and ShamroKon to entertain me and then I’ll be back in NY and the semester will be roaring to a start and acclimating will take up most of my energy — and then I’ll feel that pit of despair open up below me. You got too used to all that free time, the voice will whisper, you’re not going to get anything done now. I know better, yet I will hear that whisper and be tempted to give in to despair. Why? Because the truth is plain.

I won’t write as much.

That’s not a reason to despair; I need to remind myself of that, too. I’ll still write a lot. I have learned how to do that and life is too short to moan over what I don’t have (or where I’d rather be). My writing has brought me the wonderful life I have now. There’s every reason to believe that my writing will continue to make my dreams real (and help me deal with the inevitable sorrows of life). Writing is how I live in the world.

Most of all, I will remind myself that it’s all about having fun. And that will keep despair at bay.
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