Instead of writing a summary of Radcon, I am going to present a collection of questions asked. Some of these were overheard in passing, others asked in panels, and some during social events. And yes, many teachable moments happened. Enjoy!
- What’s a unicorn?
- What’s a brony?
- If so many people in the Tri-Cities are so gratefully relieved to have Radcon for a weekend, why can’t they just change the local culture to be more like this year-round?
- Why do autistic people lack emotions? What? What’s neurotypical syndrome?
- Since our society has changed so much regarding property ownership and other traits that led to monogamous marriage, might this allow for more diverse family structures such as polyamory to return? Cool! How long will that take?
- In what ways is religion presented in fantasy literature?
- I want to propose to my girlfriend and… (this was a long one, so I’ll just let you know that she told him yes!).
- But why is that called a unicorn?
- How can we increase diversity in fandom?
- Where’d you get your [insert costume/clothing item]?
- Anybody have any double-sided tape?
- Where is the Fan Room? And why do they call it the Fan Room?
- Why is all the tea gone? Is there rum?
- Are you sure unicorns are that rare?
- Are labels such as “Aspie” or “dyslexic” or “geek” helpful, or do labels cause their own set of problems?
- Shouldn’t we prepare kids for the real world?
- What’s the real world?
- How can we change the world?
- How do we discover a more accurate telling of history? How do we know?
- Your wife keeps the money? Where is your wife?
- How do we know that no means no, or that yes means yes? Even with that costume?
- So, there are some unicorns out there, right? They do exist? Why are you laughing…?
- Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the next Radcon?
Okay that last one was my own question. If you want to help, or if you have feedback or ideas for programming, please visit Radcon.org to email Programming to let them know!
Tamra Excell with Kevin Wiley, dressing up for Radcon 6C
About five years ago, I made a five year plan. A note on the plan said this: find freaks and geeks. I wanted to connect with more people who sometimes see their own society through anthropologist eyes, on the outside looking in. It’s a perspective that helped a team of educators see the big picture and create a student-centric school that paved the way for so many more. We earned accreditation for the school to serve “outside the box” students and their families who didn’t want to be arbitrarily limited in life.
After that, I wanted to find others, to make sure they knew we existed. We have different types of “freaks” on staff, unique individuals with their own passions and talents, so each could do a part to bring others into our collective family.
For me, that journey would include mindfully entering the world of the sci-fi/fantasy conventions and festivals – not just as a visitor, but making my place as a member. Right now, I am writing you from Radcon, the Pacific Northwest’s second-largest sci-fi/fantasy convention. Soon, I will be on a panel to talk about Neurodiversity in Geek Culture. I am joined by many others, including Luna Lindsey – an Aspie who has found herself increasingly advocating for other autists. I have learned much from her about Asperger’s, which has helped me understand more about my oldest daughter as well as myself.
Other panels include the Rewriting of History, Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a panel by the brilliant Kevin Wiley called Making Your Own Way – about living the creative life and making a living at your art. “Art” here is what you decide it to be. Each of you has an “art” – just ask yourself what makes your heart sing, and you will find the answer there. Sometimes this takes some exploring, and such is the adventure of life! As part of that adventure, go find others who “geek out” about that same art, and this is where you will find your freaks.
So what about you? Who are you? What is your art? How can you make your own way to live your life according to your passions and talents? Let’s explore!
Connect with Tamra
Over the years, as Cass, Heather, and I prepared to leave for a festival or convention without Mikey in tow, he would warn us to be careful of all the freaks and weirdos that attend these things. He stopped coming with us about the same time I started telling him how good he would look in a kilt.
Shakespeare Festival: “Be careful. A lot of weirdos attend things like that.”
Ren Faire: “Be careful… there are – ”
I can’t remember which event it was, but I finally cut him off, smiled reassuringly, and then pointed out what should have been obvious to my cowboy husband.
“You do realize that you married a weirdo. Bred with a weirdo. Are parenting two weirdos. Relax. We’ll be among our own kind.”
He response was to tip his head back a moment in thought, smile, and agree. “Good point.”
Not only did he not fuss at the most recent convention, he seemed to be encouraging us to attend another one in Seattle. I suspect that he enjoys the peace and quiet when we are gone, perhaps even sitting around in his underwear. But alas, still no kilt.