Oz Comic Con Wrap Up

It's Monday. I think. This year's Adelaide Oz Comic Con is over. Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a chat, bought books (and t-shirts, mugs, badges. And the lucky owner of the red octoscarf). I met up with a few regulars, including Kristian and his family <waves>. It was great to see you again. I missed out getting a photo of your costumes. Too busy chatting. Sigh. For those who signed up for my newsletter, Tea & Tidings: Thank you! You will receive an email this week with regards to the short story compilation.

 

Artists' Alley was full of colour and fantasy, showcasing the work of local indie writers and artists. Firebear (local chainmail maker) even sold a chainmail tie to Brent Spiner (congrats!)

   

Jess Cate and  Jana Hoffmann (of Heart of Millyera comics),  Rosanna Lam and Miranda Richardson talked about producing comics for a female audience.

On Sunday I did a talk on self publishing, with fellow Adelaide independent authors KE (Katie) Fraser, Kylie Leane and Matt Pike. Thanks to everyone attended. It was a fantastic turn out. Some of you even took notes. I'm hoping to get video of the talk onto our youTube channels (just need to sort out the sound - lots of background noise in the con areas) So watch this space. And what would a con be without fantastic costumes. There were many. Here's just a few:

        

And I finished my secret project - my TARDIS corset (over six years to finally achieve!)

More photos can be found on my flickr page and on my Facebook page.

Photos: ©2017 Karen J Carlisle / ©2017 David Carlisle.

A Whimsical Notion: Steampunk Hands Around the World #1

Greetings from Australia, and welcome to Steampunk Hands Around the World. (This week's Photo Friday will be posted on Sunday 5th Feb) Over the next month I'll be sharing my thoughts on how steampunk makes my life better. You can also read the thoughts of other steampunks from around the world - from the UK, Germany, Mexico, US, Sweden, Spain... and more. You can find a list of all participants at the Airship Ambassador's pages. Today I start with an important lesson I re-discovered, thanks to steampunk:

to look at the world with the wonder of a child and embrace whimsy (1)

When I look at the state of the world today, it makes me shiver. Literally. I shiver, my heart palpates. The constant bombardment of negative news, posts, tweets feed discontent, feed anxiety, feed the fear - with tumultuous results. Our world  is in crisis. Our Earth is dying. Our people, crying.

The world needs something to smile about; I need something to smile about - something, however small, to look forward to. Embracing whimsy is not frivolous. It is a form of protection. Ever wondered why we rally to fantasy movies and books in times of recession? When reality is unbearable we search for escape.

That is one way steampunk has made my life better. Look at some aspects of steampunk:

  • looking back to an era of etiquette and manners.
  • recreating history (well the good bits - like quest for knowledge and wonder of discovery), with a fantastical or fictional twist.
  • turning even the mundane items into individual works of art by
  • encouraging imagination, individuality,
  • and recycling and/or up-cycling unwanted items into artistic items of wonder.
  • whimsical cross-overs - steampunk pirates, steampunk fairies, steampunk Star Wars, steampunk Doctor Who - you get the gist.
  • Tea. There's lots of tea.  (All those antioxidants are good for you.)

So, how has steampunk made my life better? It's taught me to focus on the little things, the beautiful things and beautiful people. It's given me another strategy to cope with anxiety. I write, I create art and costumes. I socialise with supportive, like-minded people.

We need to discover the wonder and inspiration of the glinting treasures below the steaming pile of coal. We can strive to find ways to access that treasure and show the world it's beauty.

So here are Karen's Rules of life:

  1. 'Be excellent to each other'.
  2. Look for the hidden treasures and beauty in life.
  3. Encourage imagination.
  4. Rediscover how to have fun.
  5. Don't let the tyrants win.
  6. Drink tea.

  1. Definition: Whimsical: "Playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way." - Oxford Dictionary. Synonyms: fanciful, playful, mischievous, waggish, quaint, fantastic, unusual, curious)

Creating a positive from a negative.

Dear Reader,

Today's post is late. And there's a reason.

I had originally penned my thoughts on the Australia Day debate: to change the date or not to change the date? (To boil it down to basics:  The meaning of the day is more important than sticking to a date that celebrates only part of our melting pot of cultures, and creates a day of mourning for our indigenous people - who, by the way, is the longest surviving culture in the world. Think of that. Wow! I think May8 (Maate!) sounds good. But recent worldwide events have overshadowed this (important) question.

Regular readers will know I suffer from anxiety, brought on by my previous job. After years of trying to cope with work stress and the weight of worrying about my patients, taking on their worries as my own, I broke. I took up writing, first as a distraction then a form of catharsis.

Recent global events broadcast live via social media, have re-ignited my empathy and worry - worry for refugees, worry for legitimate citizens born outside their place of residence, worry for women's rights, for gay rights, native land rights - all swept away with a stroke of a pen, defying even the courts of the land. (I was barely coping with similar things in my own country, but this latest onslaught, this is mega. This is beyond belief. This is overwhelming.)

I feel for the people of the world. I fear for the people of the world.

And Friday night I had a wake up call. I woke at 2.30am - sweating, with palpitations and pain. Stress? Migraine? Or...? My anxiety escalated.

An ECG was performed, with, shall we say, not perfect results. A blood test was ordered. Four agonising hours later, I was cleared. Not a heart attack. This time.

Tomorrow I see the doctor for a follow up and, most likely, a referral to a specialist. Was the ECG a false positive or is there something that needs attention? We'll also discuss over the counter medications and other reasons for the palpitations.

I've had another wake up call. And I've made a decision.

I will try not to dwell on the negative of the recent events but look to the positive: the resistance, the fight, the wins. Rather than share the negative posts and tweets of hell unleashed, I will endeavour to share the positive results - the solidarity and resistance.

I will try to relax and focus on the victories, my family, my friends and the good times we have. I can delve into antagonist's thought process in fiction - where I can explore them (and control them) in a safe environment and purge my soul of the anxiety. (Well, I'll try.)

Yesterday we had a few friends over to play board games. We introduced Terry to Steampunk Munchkin (she won). We were confronted by a most foul opponent of almost impossible strength:

A +5 radium-powered Robot Queen Victoria, empowered by Gear Beer and ready for a bar room brawl - defeated by the co-operation of all the players. Huzzah!

That, dear Reader, is how we can heal the world - by joining together against our common foe - hate and racism. Divided, we fall. Together we can triumph.

Photo ©2017 Karen J Carlisle All rights reserved.