Monday, August 13, 2012

Subscriber glitch, and time-bending

Due to some bizarre glitch of - I guess Feedburner! - some people who are subscribed to my Screenwriting Tricks site are getting sent a post that I made back in April, saying that The Price and The Space Between are free today.  They're not!

I have no idea why this his happening and am on my way to Australia so I can't look into it.  It doesn't seem to have affected that many people, but I don't know for sure.  So sorry for any inconvenience!

It was a day of time weirdness - some major time misreadings on the travel front.  I guess that means while I'm traveling, I'm supposed to live in kairos rather than chronos. As we all do on the road, really.

So as I hit the road... um, air... for Diamonds are Forever, the RWAustralia National Conference,  I'm leaving you with a post on this fascinating concept.  Have a great week!

- Alex 

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Well, convention season has kicked into high gear.    If one were looking to avoid writing, just for example, one could jet off to – Romantic Times,  Book Expo America, Mayhem in the Midlands, American Library Association,  Thrillerfest,  RWA National…  to mingle, network, party with hundreds of favorite and soon-to be-favorite authors, librarians, booksellers, DLers, 4MAers, MWAers, ITWers, Sisters, and most importantly, readers.

Authors are strongly advised to go to conventions and festivals to build their careers.  There is no question that the networking is gold.   And except for having to continuously “sparkle”, as Margaret Maron puts it,  it’s so easy to network at these things.  All you have to do is relax and walk around and just run into the people you need to run into. Really, it works. Reviewers, booksellers, your publicist, the author whose incredible book you were reading just the night before, extraordinary friends you haven't seen in ten years - they're all there in a very contained space and you will drift into them if you just go with the flow.

Some people call that work.   But what it really is, is magic.   What it is – is Faire Time.

I learned the concept of Faire Time, or Festival Time, over the years of my interestingly misspent youth, hanging out at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire –a month-long semi-historical recreation of life in an Elizabethan village, except with sex and drugs and overpriced irresistible craftish - stuff.

(Wait, what am I saying?  Of course they had all of that going on in those real Elizabethan villages, too...)

I’ll be lazy.  Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about festivals:

Among many religions, a feast or festival is a set of celebrations in honour of God or gods.


Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?   A set of celebrations in honor of gods – and goddesses.   Take a look at the guest of honor lists for any of the above- mentioned conventions.   Gods and goddesses of the mystery/literary world?   You betcha.

What else?

Festivals, of many types, serve to meet specific social needs and duties, as well as to provide entertainment. These times of celebration offer a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups. Modern festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics seek to inform members of their traditions. In past times, festivals were times when the elderly shared stories and transferred certain knowledge to the next generation. Historic feasts often provided a means for unity among families and for people to find mates.

Now, does that sound like a convention or what?

Maybe it’s that first, religious purpose of festivals but I do notice this unifying principle of “Faire Time” or “Festival Time" in full force at conventions.  There is an element of the sacred about a festival – it is out of the ordinary, out of simple chronological time, out of chronos - into kairos (again, from Wikipedia): "a time in between", a moment of undetermined period of time in which "something" special happens.

And here’s an interesting bit:

In rhetoric kairos is a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.

Synchronicity and opportunity happen with such regularity at these convention things that they’re really more the rule than the exception.

It is my absolute conviction that much more important career business gets done at conventions and festivals than anywhere else because it is being done in Faire Time – a suspended moment of opportunity.

And that is not even mentioning the creative and personal inspiration of being in that state of suspended time with so many passionate worshippers of the book.   By the end of a convention I will always know the next right step to take, professionally and creatively, just as clearly as if it has been spoken to me.   All it takes it to ask the question.

And one of my favorite things about conventions these days is running into aspiring authors who I met and connected with at previous conventions – only to find that they’re now published or about to be.   It reaffirms my whole faith in the process.

As many of you have witnessed, I love the total debauchery of these gatherings, but I’m never unaware of something also sacred under all that revelry.

I’m sure that all of us have stories of improbable connections and synchronicities at festivals, and I’d love to hear them today!


2 comments:

Cherise Kelley said...

Greetings from a fellow Faire person! We hung out at the same Renaissance Pleasure Faire, and I knew exactly what you meant as soon as you said "faire time." I confess, this is my first time reading your blog. However, I am now going to subscribe because I feel like we are family, just because you understand "faire time." :)

Through the magic of Facebook, I am still in touch with a dozen people I haven't seen since my own misspent youth at the faire. They feel like family, too, because of the faire connection. They are also each super-connected to their own various networks and through these dozen people I have access to hundreds of connections that I don't even know yet that I need.

Conventions, festivals, and faires are like college that way. You make close friends that stay with you for a lifetime and will help you out in ways you never dreamed of while you were debauching together!

Besides, they're fun. :)

If you in any way enjoy gaming, I would recommend adding gaming conventions such as DunDraCon to your list of beneficial festivals to attend. More and more, game apps are realistically attainable extensions of novels that bring in just as many fans as movies, at a fraction of the price or the entry cost.

Ellen said...

Hi, Alex from Ellen. This isn't for the blog (I don't think) but just FYI: I was at my local public library this morning, and the display near the front door was "Paranormal Romance." Naturally I made a beesline over to see if my favorite paranormal romantic writer was there. Didn't see you, but some other names I know from your blog (Heather Graham, etc.)--I don't think I read anything else that could be called paranormal romance, but I felt certain that Game of Shadows would qualify! So I got a copy from the shelves and put it in a nice top-tier spot on the display. These display books are available for check-out, and as a volunteer librarian (for that 2-minute period) I felt obliged to fill in that blank space. I am positive someone will discover you're the author they've been hankering for all this time. Yes, always pimping for you and happy to do it!

Don't know if you got a message I sent at the end of July when I finished the FABULOUS Huntress Moon. It was to an aol account, so maybe that's obsolete. On the other hand, I know you are super busy. But the upshot is--and no pressure or hurry--if it appeals to you to get into a visiting writers slot or bring a workshop up to my school in the next year or two, give me a shout sometime. They usually bring in people from the trade paperback crowd, you know, but I bet I could make a case to get a little funding and bring you in. (The money might not be enough to get you, small school, not well endowed, but it would be fun to give it a shot!) And we'd get to hang out in Portland.

Hope your travels have been great . . .