Wordstock - for those who are unfamiliar with it - is Portland's annual literary festival. This is the third year I've gone. The first two years were marked by two main features: 1) fierce envy (written about here); and 2) a sense that my eyeballs and head were going to explode from over-stimulation. I am happy to report that not only did my eyeballs and head fail to explode once again but I'm starting to get a handle on my envy. (It helped tremendously to see a bunch of people I knew and feel like part of a community.)
I'm also starting to understand how to approach the mind-spinning madness that is the book fair. I mean, it's one thing to sit in on readings and panels where nothing is required of me except reasonable quiet. But it's quite another to walk among the booths of literary magazines and journals, editing collectives, publishers, authors, vendors selling books or lit-related merchandise, etc., etc. and know what to do.
To whom do I introduce myself? What do I do with all that information, not to mention all the flyers, postcards, business cards, free magazines, and such? Answer: Find beautiful/interesting books, journals & magazines I want to read and introduce myself to their publishers and authors. Hopefully get them to agree to an interview.
My Wordstock 2013 highlights
- Craig Thompson & Gene Luen Yang talking about childhood, family, & religion in their graphic novels.
- Daniel H. Wilson, Kathryn Davis & Timothy Zahn discussing robots & cyborgs, what it means to be human, ways in which (reliance on) technology affects human relationships, and how humans form/define in-groups & out-groups.
- "Dangerous Memoirs" with Jay Ponteri, Scott Nadelson & Ariel Gore. Nadelson said that when we write memoir, "part of our offering is making ourselves as vulnerable as possible." Ponteri said he's "trying to break into what is unspoken." Gore said, "It's about saying the things we've been told to shut up about."
- Have three new markets to do reviews on: Burnside Review, University of Hell Press, and Big Fiction Magazine.
- Got a free copy of new Portland food magazine Chomp from Burnside Review's editor, Sid Miller, as a consolation prize for getting to the table too late and missing out on the free back issues of the Burnside Review. True dilemma: this is so beautifully packaged I don't want to take the paper band off to read the little books!
- Somehow talked Scott Nadelson, Greg Gerding from University of Hell Press and Heather Jacobs from Big Fiction Magazine into doing interviews for this blog. (WOOT!! Must follow up with them soon before they forget they ever said such a thing.)