On Spoons, Steampunk and Socialising

The alarm went off twice this morning. Well, I think it was twice. Maybe it was three? I cracked open an eye and cringed back into the sheets away from the sunlight streaming through the curtains. The alarm blared once more. My hand slapped the off button. I groaned and dragged myself out of bed.

I'm really not a morning person, especially after draining several days worth of spoons with an all day event. (The spoon theory is an effective way of describing how chronic illness or disability affects life. If you're not familiar with the theory, you can find out all about it here.) Friday's 13-hour celebrations for steampunk's 30th (naming) anniversary left me depleted. It was a long (but fun) day.

Socialising takes a lot of effort for me. It's exhausting. It's not you. It's me. In public, I spend most of the time trying to fight the urge to run away and hide. Anxiety does that. I usually organise my social events carefully, with a few days after to recover those precious spoons.

Fortunately it was an online event and it was celebrating something I love: steampunk. (Otherwise I would've been a gibbering mess if I'd spent all thirteen hours face-to-face with so many people without a break.) Large crowds, particularly in shopping centres with their cacophony of noises, crush me.

This got me thinking. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do conventions? Why do I do talks...? Why do I walk out the door at all?

There's a stereotype: the starving writer (that's a whole other blog post just there) scribbling away in a lonely garret - alone, with only the artistic muse for company - locked in the struggle to create the perfect prose.  But, despite this romantic (Victorian) vision, writers need company too. I need company too. I need to experience life, not just write about it.

So why do I keep pushing myself to attend events - social or professional?

Because, deep down, I like people. I love conversations where I suddenly realise the sun is rising and we've been chatting all night. I love talking writing, science, art, Doctor Who, steampunk. I'm fine one-on-one or in a small group. Where I feel safe.

On a bad day, I push myself to do online socialising. I can cringe in the corner while I type supposedly confident words - and no one can see my fear. But I'm still engaging with the world.

A couple of years ago I found an online steampunk forum, The Steampunk Empire. Tucked away in a corner was a writers group, The Scribblers Den - a band of steampunk writers spanning the globe. We chatted about writing, steampunk (lots of steampunk), events, shared pictures and stories. I felt comfortable there.

Unfortunately, as online entities often do, it disappeared. Some of us had seen the cracks. Some of us lived in denial. On a, soon-to-be bleak, day in March I logged onto the forum and - horror of horrors - my beloved Scribblers Den had dissolved into the aether!

But, never fear, my dear Reader, we had a plan (albeit a very vague one). Soon the Refugees of Steampunk Empire assembled on Facebook. We lamented, explored a few new enclaves and finally found a new home; the Steampunk Dominion was formed. My dear Scribblers' Den had returned from exile! (Thank you to the intrepid pilgrims - especially Lee and William - who founded our new realm.) I could once again frolic in steampunky goodness and forget about my anxieties.

You can now find fellow steampunks on The Steampunk Dominion's webpage and forum, or on Facebook group - The Steampunk Dominion (our bolt hole in case of future host demises).

Photo Friday: Written Words, A Bit of Fun and Moving Pictures

Adding to the library: First my latest haul from the local library. They have a wall shelf of books they have de-listed - for only $1 each. Adding my collections of Nancy Drew, Buffy archives and a book of dicourses and articles on cyborg and cyberpunk (for the research library of course). Shopping at the specials table at QBD: two more books for the research shelf. Incredible Elements has an updated periodic table (and history on the discovery of various elements). Old and new: I have a lot of second hand reference books. I can't afford a new book every time, so I search out good condition pre-loved ones (especially if they are out of print). The Dickens Dictionary of London has contemporary descriptions of many everyday places and people. Squee! And I collected the latest Writing Magazine this week from my standing order at the newsagent. A bit of fun: Last weekend we dropped in on the ABC Garden expo and collected a new set of 'support our ABC stickers'. Couldn't resist this poster. Do it; Retaliate! Tell our government to return funding to our ABC. Also saw a unique aerial safety end in a local shopping centre carpark.

Videos: And lastly, spend a few days grappling with a new video editing program (it will be amazing when I learn how to use it) - cropping, pulling out the narration from garbled background noise and condensing video of our recent writers' talk at Adelaide Oz Comic Con. Thanks to Matt J Pike for the title graphics.

  

You can watch the talk on my youTube channel HERE.

And finally, my Oz Comic Con video is live.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHSpZ69IOw4&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Photos and video ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Photo Friday: Eat, Write, Play.

Eat: One of the great things about conventions are the people you meet - con buddies, line buddies and fellow artists. My booth buddy, for the second time, was Kimberley Clark who travelled down from Brisbane for the Oz Comic Con. We had dinner on Friday night at Little NNQ Vietnamese restaurant in the city - a generous serving of delicious food and a photo opportunity showcasing the eclectic mix of old and new architecture in Adelaide.

 

Write: I completed my latest short - Mrs Hudson Investigates - and submitted it to an upcoming anthology. Wish me luck! I now have another story series percolating through my brain... 

My talk for the local writing group today: Plotting for Non-Plotters

Play: Last D&D session was intense but we survived! Tomorrow we get to play our alternative milieu. And a few more photos from last weekend: I helped my daughter make a 'Chat Noir' ring from sculpy. Unfortunately it was a tad large and was lost after only a few hours. If anyone found it at the event, please contact me.  

Any one for a game of chess?

I didn't buy much at the convention - but couldn't resist Neil Gaiman's Death or the Elfquest book and t-shirt.

Photos © 2017 Karen Carlisle.