ReaderCon – Night the First

Where to begin?

This is my first ReaderCon. Two names drew me here: Peter Straub and Caitlin R. Keirnan.

Straub wrote Mystery, one of my all-time favorite novels, and Keirnan I’ve been following since the 90’s. Her story “Faces in Revolving Souls” continues to create a great ache of recognition inside me.

And then I saw the panels and the guest list… The trip is costing me a pretty penny. Somewhere I hear my family howling as only they can about the hotel and the rental car costs, etc.

The first night alone made it worth it. This small hotel, the Marriott Boston Burlington, contains a nice restaurant, and a pub. I had my first Guinness in over a year there. Yes, I paid for it thanks to the lack of a gall bladder, but writing in a pub for once made it all worthwhile.

And then there were the panels. The first I attended was “Managing Motivation to Write.” Hosted by Stephen P. Kelner, it pointed me to a great book which I have to recommend to my writing group, and provided me a new quote on my quotes page from Alexander Jablokov.  Many notes were scribbled into a legal pad during this presentation.

But the next panel “The Visual Generation” – about the impact of fantastika films on literature – had as panelists Keirnan, Elizabeth Hand, Gillena Files (former film critic!) and artist Lee Moyer. The panel was born when many complained about how modern horror stories stole the language of horror films, and wondered how people wrote horror in a world where there was no film.   Hand pointed out the original Gothic writers would travel abroad to see great sights – like Alps, or the cities of Italy, in order to feel a sense of the sublime and a sense of terror as well. These landscapes, and the feeling of being dwarfed within them, inspired modern horror.

The discussion veered to how many times Blade Runner was viewed by the various panelists, and how films influenced them, and lead them to find other influences. Martin Scorsese was given a name check, to my delight. (One never truly leaves film school). But in the end, no one – author, filmmaker, artist – creates in a vacuum.

Scorsese himself is influenced by great artists, like Van Gogh, whom he played in Akira Kurasawa’s Dreams. There is a reason he got the director’s guild to change its rules so every time you see his name on screen, it says “A Martin Scorsese Picture” – he’s painting with film.  No one creates alone, untouched. We feed off the world around us and each other. And this is going to be a big meal.

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