Arisia 2018 Con Report

I went to Arisia this weekend! Some of you may have even seen me.

We got there later than intended on Friday, and just about the only thing I did programming-wise was visit the Princess Bride fight that my partner was doing. Well, that and the neurodiversity meetup. Friday night is almost always mostly running around greeting friends and getting excited and wearing the stellar outfit that one can’t stand wearing for more than brief periods at a time because it’s uncomfortable– or at least, I would have been doing that, but I had this problem with my corsets. (Sidebar: there is nothing to make you freak out about your body like discovering you can’t fit your corsets. Mind you, one of these corsets was acquired when I was sixteen and one when I was 20 or 21, they’re both the same size, and I’m now 26, so perhaps freaking out about this isn’t really warranted, but.)

The fight was pretty neat. Really. I hang around with these people and watch them fight on a regular basis and it’s *still* pretty neat. They did not recreate the fight from the Princess Bride, but instead talked about and demonstrated techniques from the various swordmasters that were mentioned in the dialogue. I think the most interesting was probably the one that involved an elaborate diagram on the floor depicting places to step.

After that there was running around seeing friends and I went to the neurodiversity meetup, which was also neat. I got a matched set of buttons that I can swap out as needed: a green one that says “Socially awkward human desires conversation” and a red one with a stop sign that says “Non-Verbal, no interaction desired.”

On Saturday, “Edges of Community” was an awesome panel. It’s so fascinating to sit there and listen to people talk about not really belonging to communities they feel like they should be able to belong to. As a biromantic demisexual woman in a relationship with a man, I often feel isolated from the LGBT community (despite the acronym, bi people often aren’t really welcome there), so it was nice to get to listen to other people who have similar problems not fitting. (Most of the panelists were biracial and talked about that, but some of it is applicable to any community.)

“SFF Relationship Goals” wasn’t nearly as engaging, but that might just have been how out of it I was; I did not do nearly as well as I should have at meals over the weekend.

Somewhere in there was a costume panel, but I can’t remember which day that was. It wasn’t nearly so exciting– it was billed as “practical tips for beginning costumers” and what it actually turned out to be was “how to get over your nerves about trying costuming for the first time”. The problem I have isn’t nerves, it’s sewing skills!

On Sunday there were more panels. I think I went to the most actual con programming on Sunday– highlights of that include “Policing Diverse Creators” and the late-night sex panel which I was not intending to actually be at the con late enough to see, but as it turns out daytripping, and therefore sleeping in a real bed every night and not babysitting, works wonders for my energy levels. As does grapefruit. (It’s hard for me to find fruit I can eat, and every time I do add one I end up with a massive energy boost, which is just further evidence I have nutritional deficiencies. I’m working on it.) The sex panel is fuelled by audience questions written on notecards, and so it apparently various wildly in tone from year to year, depending on what people ask. This year it was mostly light and fun and funny, with occasional touches on heavier topics. Apparently in past years it’s been really heavy.

Other amusing con highlight: at the “Explicit Representation in SFF” panel, I had this moment of “representation I didn’t know I wanted”: dietary restrictions. I have a lot of dietary restrictions, and I hadn’t even realized until N. S. Dolkart mentioned it that I desperately wanted a book that reflects that experience– though I had a rather tortured metaphorical subplot in the first-draft of something I was working on in which the lead character can’t comfortably eat fae or mortal food because she’s part-Sidhe, which should maybe have been a hint. (Seriously, it was tortured— partially because I am well aware that you can’t be an action hero when you’re so dizzy from not being able to eat anything that you can’t stand upright for long, and here I was trying to write an action hero who suffers from something like my issues anyway.) I went up to Dolkart after the panel and was like “I need to read your book!” Bearing in mind that at that point I didn’t even really know what his book was about, just that it was some stripe of SFF. It’s one of the ones that has migrated to the top of the to-read pile, to be read just as soon as the giant pile of library books is back at the library.

I got the most wonderful corset jacket at the Cloak and Dagger sale! (And Partner was deathly bored, as both of his girlfriends got deeply absorbed into trying on corsets simultaneously. Isn’t polyamory fun?)

And I bought some art. More of the kittens-with-dragons art, because I love the whole kittens and dragons line, and some hand-knitted fingerless mittens. There was a beautiful necklace in the art show that had already been sold or I would have bought it– it was a skyscape with a big brass thing around it, and I kept looking at it and thinking “I would actually wear that jewelry”.

Goals for next year: get enough of my beaded-feather-jewelry done that I can put it in the art show.

As ever, I was baffled by the party-hopping, but that may just be because I end up standing in a corner awkwardly, even with my “Socially awkward human desires conversation” button on.

Weekend was fun!


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