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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Come to Confluence and find the others

See the entire Zen Pencils cartoon about Timothy Leary's "Find the Others" rap. 

I plan to attend Confluence, a science fiction convention to be held July 27-29 this year in Pittsburgh. I'm posting here to invite other RAW fans to come to the convention so that we can meet each other.

This blog has been active since 2010, and I've gotten to know many people via the Internet, but I have actually met only one person in the flesh that I know as a result of the blog — Ted Hand, who came through Cleveland last year.

It's a bit like science fiction fandom. When I got involved with fandom in high school, I would "meet" people via letters and fanzines whom I did not know in person.

In fandom, you usually get a chance to meet the folks you've corresponded with by going to science fiction conventions.

There have been "find the others" events for RAW fans in the United Kingdom and in California, but I live in the eastern U.S., and traveling to California or to the UK has not been easy or convenient for many of us.

I've wanted something that would be accessible for folks in the East and Midwest of the U.S. I live in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, and I've been having conversations about this with Gregory Arnott, who lives in Morgantown, W. Va. Gregory led our Email to the Universe online discussion group and has been doing volunteer copyediting for Hilaritas Press. You can read his Tumblr blog. Gregory knows a lot about magick -- not exactly my area of expertise -- so his interests complement mine.

Gregory's original idea was to organize a gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a place where Robert Anton Wilson lived in the early 1960s and a location that is home to Antioch College. It's mentioned in Illuminatus! as the school that Simon Moon attended.

That's an attractive idea. A gathering there would allow for actual research, such as attempting to local jail records for when RAW went to jail for an integration protest (mentioned in Cosmic Trigger 2) and attempting to local places mentioned in Illuminatus! and other books.

I want to go there. But with everything else on my plate (a full time job, household duties that come from being married and owning a home, doing this blog, keeping the blog going for the Libertarian Futurist Society, etc.) I don't feel up to organizing a gathering.

Instead, I hit on the idea of asking folks to come to a science fiction convention. That provides a venue and the infrastructure for a meetup. It would be easy to have room parties, to meet for lunches and dinner, and perhaps also to have actual programming if enough people were interested in coming.

So I looked for a quality convention that would be in the area and would be going on several months in advance, so that anyone who would be interested would have time to plan. After looking at a bunch of conventions in the U.S. over the next several months, I picked Confluence.

I have never been to Confluence, but everything I've been able to learn about it convinces me it will be a well-run convention well worth attending, regardless of how many RAW fans show up, and how much opportunity there will be for RAW programming. The convention is not a big one, but it's been going for years. The folks in charge of programming. Laurie and Jim Mann, are veteran convention fans. The choice of a big name writer as the guest of honor, Catherynne M. Valente; the obviously well thought out Code of Conduct, even the already-posted detailed restaurant guide, all point to a convention that will be an enjoyable experience.

So in the worst case, even if organizing a lot of programming proves difficult (it's too early to tell), you will be able to meet and talk with other RAW fans at a good convention. I am anxious to have some programming, if it's at all possible. Gregory has agreed to work with me on this.

I bought a membership in the convention and I wrote the convention's programming email, asking if Robert Anton Wilson fans could be organize a panel or two, and if it would be possible to have the use of a small meeting room for part of the convention, so that we could at least organize our own events.

This is the response I got Tuesday morning:

Hi, we're in the process of organizing Program for this summer.

As Confluence is a small convention, we do all the panel organizing and
scheduling.  We'll be inviting participants and scheduling over the next
few months and will consider your idea.

Laurie & Jim Mann
Confluence Program

So I guess it's too early to know if the convention will work with us. I have some ideas for programming, and Gregory does, too.

In the meantime, my contact information is on the right side of the page, under "About." If you think you will be able to attend Confluence, please write to me at that address (with "Confluence" in the subject line) and I'll begin putting together an email list.

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

This sounds great. I wish I could attend.