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Sirens Is Now My Home

If you’ve read most any other person’s experience attending Sirens, you’ve an inkling of what I’m going to say.

Yes, it is an amazing few days—surrounded by women and men (why, YES, men do attend Sirens, and enjoy it immensely) who celebrate who they are, and what and who they love. The conversations are far-ranging and tightly-focused, curious and passionate, overlapping and attentive. The interactions are both open and intimate. There is space and there is affection. Questions and affirmations. Challenges and comforts. Embracing old friends and picking up where we left off last year, and embracing new friends with the anticipation of connections yet to be formed.

Three cool things in particular, but in no particular order:

First: Conversations about grief and grieving. Not many opportunities come about in daily life for those. People close to me are much more interested in making sure I’m “all right,” which to them means I’m not expressing loss and longing. That makes it easier for me to talk about grief with people I don’t see all the time; they tend to be more curious than concerned, and curiosity is what opens doors in search of answers. Those chats are emotional gold for me—the chance to share in the hope it’ll help someone else, yes, but also the opportunity to better understand myself and the process.

Second: The Sirens Fight Club. Hooking up with women who understand the subtle and overt challenges of choosing to train—to openly enjoy—combat arts is exhilarating. Truly, I wanted another entire weekend to spend with these women, and I knew so within the first few minutes of our meeting. We’re going to plot out a proposal or two for next year. Truly, between us, we could offer a multi-day workshop!

Hmm…

Third: Laurie Marks. I’ve said before I am grateful for, and humbled by, the female fantasy writers who “raised” me in this crazy world of storytelling. Laurie was the first published writer I’d ever met, the first to teach me about critique groups, the first to give me feedback on my very first attempted novel. I was nineteen and stupid and arrogant and ambitious, and when she told me I used too many gerunds, I had to go home and look up the word (in an actual printed dictionary, no less!) because I hadn’t a clue. We lost touch a few years later, and the more years that passed, the more awkward it felt to pop back into her life with a “Hey, remember me?”

Twenty-five years passed that way.

Nervousness remained as Sirens came closer, until I passed Laurie in the hall on the second day and re-introduced myself.

And was given a full smile and a tight hug and an invitation to lunch with her and Deb. Catching up was wonderful and too brief, but there isn’t a shred of awkwardness or nervousness on my part remaining. There will not be a horrible time-gap again!

All of that was Sirens for me.

The conference will be in Colorado again next year, but this time up in Vail at a marvelous luxury resort that—and this is the incredible part—will cost little more than the rooms down in Denver.

You want to do this, my darlings. You want to do this so, so badly.

You want to come to Vail in October, when it might be clear and merely crisp at sundown only to give way to snow-covered mountainsides by sunrise. When we will celebrate the women of fantasy who not only hold power in their own right, but wield it as well. Women of strength. Women of magic.

Women we all know.

Women like you.

#SFWApro

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Oct. 28th, 2016 01:20 am (UTC)
Sadly, I can no longer do that elevation. Sigh.
blairmacg
Oct. 28th, 2016 08:48 pm (UTC)
Bummer! And I completely understand. Living at elevation, especially for just a couple days with no time for adjustment, can be very very hard and physically traumatizing.
queenoftheskies
Oct. 29th, 2016 09:19 pm (UTC)
This is my fear, too; that Vale would just be too high for me.
(Deleted comment)
blairmacg
Oct. 28th, 2016 08:49 pm (UTC)
I think you'd very much enjoy it!
queenoftheskies
Oct. 29th, 2016 09:19 pm (UTC)
I love Siren's. It's unlike any other conference/convention/workshop experience. The attendees are so different.

I do worry about it being in Vale, though.
blairmacg
Oct. 31st, 2016 07:42 pm (UTC)
I do understand that concern. Even I, living at Denver's elevation for a year, feel the altitude difference when I head up to places at Vail's elevation.
suzanna_o
Nov. 20th, 2016 02:10 am (UTC)
I'd really like to go to Sirens next year! I'll have to see if I can find people for carpooling/room sharing.
blairmacg
Nov. 20th, 2016 05:07 am (UTC)
Chances are I'll take the shuttle myself, because I've a Hyundai that does great around town, but not so great when winter weather combines with variable topography. :)

I think I'm already in a full roommate situation, BUT if you haven't already, look into joining the Sirens group on Facebook. Many folks connected well and happily with roommates there!!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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