Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Belated LaffCon2 Gratitude

(Photo by Yakov Varganov. See more of Yakov's photos of the day here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.1327845240601842&type=1)

It's been nearly two months since LaffCon2. Yikes. Two months. The party was so good that it has taken two months to recover before I could even attempt to give an account of the day. Let's stick with that excuse.

So, just how was the party? Once again, it was marvelous. Thank you to all of you who came out and talked Lafferty all day long. Another year and another day of running around, I regret that I didn't get to talk to all of you, but I was always glad to see lively conversations happening in every corner during every break.

Thank you to Rob Bee and the Mercer County Library for hosting us. Rob does the work behind the scenes that makes this event possible, both before and during the con. Thank you to the Friends of the Library- Lawrence Branch for another free lunch. It is a great boon to be able to stay on site for lunch and continue conversations.

Thank you to Kevin Cheek for his love and enthusiasm for Fourth Mansions. His talk which started the day set a tone of serious engagement with the text coupled with good humor and true sense of wonder. This is how we should read Lafferty, on our own and with each other, with careful attention and a holy chuckle.

Thank you to Gregorio Montejo for sharing from his deep wells (yes, a bit of a pun there) of knowledge and wisdom. Gregorio has drunk deeply (continuing this fountain bit here) from a past most of us have either forgotten, forsaken, or never known, a previous world, different from our own, perhaps much more robust, a world in which Lafferty swam freely.

Thank you to Tairiku Ronin, Yakov Varganov, and (again) Gregorio Montejo for broadening our perspective on Lafferty fandom. The "Lafferty Tribe" may be a small one, but it is a truly international one, with diverse members from diverse cultures in diverse lands.

Thank you to Anthony Ryan Rhodes, Lissanne Lake, and Yakov Varganov for speaking about their own art and the art of others. It has been an ongoing joy for all of us to appreciate and benefit from their seemingly endless generosity and largeness of hearts in their work of illustrating Lafferty and their willingness to freely share their work with the rest of us.

Thank you to Darrell Schweitzer, Samuel Tomaino, and Kevin Cheek (he opened the day--might as well close it too!) for leading us in a discussion of a couple of Lafferty's best "planet-fall" stories. This was a fun and loose ramble on the stories and a perfect way to wind down at the end of the day.

Thank you to ALL OF YOU for being there and sharing in the day's activities. Attendance was down this year from last year, but the room still felt full, especially in the afternoon (you stragglers need to step up your game and get in earlier). The core group that was there last year was also there this year (we had more curious strangers from the library last year than this year, I think, but we also lost the presence of a few further out-of-towners who couldn't make it this year for various legitimate reasons). It was unspeakably satisfying to see the same faces again, to see the material evidence that we are indeed a real community, joined together in a common cause, a common joy, and committed to the act of doing this thing over and over and over again!  

Speaking of doing it again, we have a date set for LaffCon3: June 9th, 2018. See you then.

(For those of you who couldn't make it to LaffCon2, there is no way for us now to make the day's lively camaraderie available to you. The best poor substitute that we can achieve is to at least have the LaffCon2 booklet available via Amazon--hopefully fully live in a couple of days--- https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998536415/.)

2 comments:

  1. Thank you John Owen for drawing us all together and for organizing such a magnificent event! It was more fun than an entire barrel full of monkeys (a LOT more fun, I imagine being trapped in a barrel with a bunch of monkeys might be both dangerous and painful)!

    Don't forget the LaffCon videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCks21LN_x3gqBd3ZjYnTrkg

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