Con-Folk Cometh

Mercurio and his Seaplane!I boarded a seaplane at Lake Union this morning and flew over the panoramic San Juan Islands, an archipelago of hundreds of islets, in my ongoing quest to experience–after the fact–a setting I’d already written about in a short story. When I arrived on the lush island of Orcas, I chartered a sailboat, as in my story, captained by a knowledgeable local Orcasian who pointed out the dolphins, otters and other sea life we encountered as we cruised the San Juan Channel. The gloriously sunny day seemed un-“Pacific Northwest” to me, except for the slight chill in the air. What struck me most during this day of sailing—and this was something that I failed to capture in my story–was the intense quiet, the sense of peacefulness that permeated the air. Otherwise, I must say that I think my fictionalized conception of the islands—if one tosses in a pinch of global warming and a dash of chemical contamination—wasn’t too much off the mark.

Lake UnionI’m growing more excited as Cascadia Con approaches. The hotel parking lot is now crammed with the cars of arriving attendees, Federation officials and other dignitaries. The hotel isn’t the only place where I’ve run across Con-folk. While visiting Pike Place Market and other tourist spots I was able to accurately identify several people as Con attendees—and spoke with them to confirm the fact. I’ve found there to be something, ahem, unique about the appearance of Con-folk—and I’m not talking about the glint in their eyes or their genre-related T-shirts. No, I’m talking about the heavy-set, bearded look. What’s that about? And why has it just now occurred to me as I sit here writing this blog, clad in my Star Wars T-shirt, that I’m borderline bearded and heavy-set…. Hmm. Hold on while I spellcheck “epiphany.”

On another topic, I plan to visit the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in the next couple of days. Frommer’s Seattle 2005 notes as follows: “[T]his place is an absolute must for devoted fans of one of literature’s least respected yet best loved genres.” Thanks, Frommer’s. I really needed to read that. Heck, at least sci-fi is loved.

7 Replies to “Con-Folk Cometh”

  1. Actually, your description is pretty close to the the way I remember the Northwest I visited in 1994. Did you get to stop by the Edgewater Inn? That’s where The Beatles stayed in 1964!

  2. I remember flying to WisCon recently and correctly identifying at least three people at the airport who were on their way to the Con. Con people are easily identifiable. I think that’s part of the subconscious way they (we?) have of identifying ourselves to each other. As for Frommer’s “least respected” badge, wear it with pride. When a genre as misunderstood as spec fic produces so much ground breaking stuff, a renaissance surely must be on the horizon.

  3. Don’t worry about readers paying too much attention to the details as long as the story sounds authentic. I visited the Seattle area once and heard about the San Juan Islands while I was there, but I didn’t make the connection when I read your story. Because the name sounded exotic, I thought the exotic quality of the vistas made sense — enhancing the dream quality of the past that his present lacked. Learn from Bush II: As long as you sound authentic, the majority don’t care about the details of the truth. (Yes, I wanted to push a hot button there!)

  4. Dave,

    Yeah, I think you can write about a place even though you’ve never visited it. Besides doing the research, I think you’ve visited enough places (some with me) similar to the Northwest to be able to convey the appropriate mood.
    As for your nickname, Evil Dave, I wonder how your fellow writers came up with it. I mean I know why we call you Evil Dave, but I was curious as to how you earned the same nickname with a different group of people. 🙂 Weird.

  5. Dave,
    Your entries really made this blog site sing. In all the years I’ve been reading it, it’s never seen it as good. Just kidding, Matt. I haven’t been reading it that long…

    One thing I don’t understand is why you made no mention of your invaluable sidekick during the trip. It makes no sense!

    Your former sidekick (and apparently friend), Lou

  6. — Jess, I’m not sure I’m going to have time to visit the Edgewater Inn, though I’m going to try.
    — Interesting theory about the Con-Folk look, Lauren.
    — Bruce, kudos on the deft shot at W.
    — My “evil” moniker arising independently from different sources is purely coincidental, I assure you, Steve.
    — Lou, you *wish* you were here.

  7. “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” —John Milton

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