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"From legal paperwork to scheduling conflicts to the proliferation of inlaws, what are some of the complications faced by successful poly relationships and families? What fictional sources go beyond the introductory narratives to portray the day-to-day challenges and benefits of living in poly relationships? What tips and tricks have our panelists and audience found for managing their non-traditional lifestyle?"

It's interesting to note that whenever you add a human being to a relationship, whether it is a child or adult, there is added complexity. Sometimes the added person decreases the work load to the individual, and sometimes the added person increases the work load.

For myself, I'd have to say that my partner's partner adds to my stress and workload because Mike goes to visit her; she never comes to our place. So Mike's relationship takes Mike out of the work-loop and necessitates my doing household chores and childcare on my own

Lisa Cohen had a wonderful summation: "One of my partners had a child and the time that he spent with me became less and less. We communicated and we tried to work it out but what happened is that he simply didn't have time for me. Communication wasn't enough."

Cat Meier comments, "One of the big challenges in poly is to not screw up your relationship with yourself."

Some conversation now about chores. Bleh. I'm tired of talking about poly households and chores. Yes, yes, it's important and probably the most resentful-making of topics. Still.

It was interesting to talk a bit about Mike's durable medical power of attorney for Sylvia, and about how Sylvia negotiated Mike and David's kidney transfer.

Cat Meier and Marna Nightingale talked for a bit about how they worked out Marna and Ian's emigration into Canada -- about getting a divorce and remarrying other partners. Maryanne in the audience touched on that with another story and commented about how there are people who have been doing this for decades, and how she is wistful that someone might write up a biography about how these people have constructed their lives.

Ian Hagemann reccs a book by Katie Royphe, Uncommon Arrangements and Lisa Cohen recced a bunch of fiction via the tweet #Poly501, and there's a strong rec for Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault.
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"In speculative fiction, we create entire worlds and societies. How does SF handle social and economic class? Is there room for improvement? If so, what?"

Ian Hagemann is the moderator, and sets out the ground rules that we want to be talking about these issues in fiction (including things like graphic novels, filk and film), not what we experience in the real world.

Madeleine E. Robins comments, "Most sf writers are writing about the rocket ships, who uses the rocket ships, not the guys who make the widgets who make the rocket ships go."

Eileen Gunn: "There is only a subset of the public who is interested in class and class issues. In my own work, I want to be aware of class, be aware of the markers, the way people mark their class to others."

Also! A new author for me -- Barbara Jensen. I got up and answered the question "What are some of the markers of today which might be seen in fiction?" -- and I said word usage, specifically online in places like Facebook. To my surprise, there's Barbara Jensen in the audience agreeing with me. Heh. Very cool.

She points out that The Color Purple was written in the vernacular, Celie's part, while Nettie's letters where in a correct (in my opinion less impassioned and less compelling) schooled English.

For all of Ian's admonitions, the panel was still firmly in the realm of the real word, with some examples of examples of class portrayals in fiction.
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"How do we as creators tell stories that make a point without becoming didactic or preachy? What works, what doesn't? Where does our art intersect with our political realities? Is art a lullaby or wake up call? Can it be both? We'll ponder these questions and more on this panel."

Commodity and the marketplace -- how does that play out? How are artists react to what the audience wants? We live in an age when, happily, there are many more venues for publishing or showing of your art.

Do you have to compromise or can you be successful with an unusual message or delivery style? Gyan Davies suggests that this is a false dichotomy.

What's the difference between "preachy" and "Preach it, Sister!"?

Preachy can be good -- depending on the message and the listener and emotional immediacy. Also, there's a difference between telling a story and saying "feel this! Think this!"

Content is essential -- that is, how aware is the artist? Is there hidden content in their work? Is the message cultural -- that is, what is the schematic code or images the artist using?

Ian Hagemann talks about a Noam Chomski quote about using sound bites, that is, short hand images or messages, and how that practice might limit what you are saying or trying to get across. Do you want to have a 101 or 201 conversation?

A commercially viable piece of art is most likely to be a 101 conversation. But there is a place for 201 art. There needs to be a way to have 301 and 401 conversations.

I'd love to see an anthology called "201."

Literary Agent Eddie Schneider suggests that a well crafted 201 will sell and will have a dedicated audience, but it might be smaller. An inexperienced writer is all over the place, full of passion but uneven in execution.

For next year, we'd like to see more conversation about the intersection between art and activism, dealing with censorship, breaking down what activism is and the process of creating art interwoven with activism.
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A bit of a bitch session on the Dove "Love Your Body" campaign and the other one, the one where women describe their face and a sketch artist draws them, and then someone else describes them and the drawn person looks at the two pics.

But really, there were some excellent parts. The comment I loved the most was the "I don't think I need to be told to love my body. I want Levi Strauss to love my body."

The assumption that you have an obligation to be of a certain size is so ingrained in society that those who refuse to "fix" their body are met with social anger, revulsion and fear.

I think that there is a lot of anger directed at happy fat people. We should not be happy; if I have suffered to maintain my current weight and I still hate my body, how dare you be happy and fat.

I shared a comment about not really experiencing body-hate, and so not really getting the whole shame thing. I'm way to "fuck you" for that, I guess. Or at least I like to think so.

I love the comment by the panelist who said, "I think that I want to spend more time loving other people's bodies. To letting other women know that I think their bodies are beautiful."
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WisCon 37 idea proposed by ljgeoff@aol.com

Title: How Many Wiscons Do We Have Left?


In the 1970's, the World3 simulation had several scenarios that allowed for humans to control their population and live within their planetary limits. However, developers of the program, Meadows and Randers, now contend that those scenarios are no longer within reach. Elizabeth Kolbert, writer of Field Notes From A Catastrophe has said, "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing." Climate scientists from all walks are becoming more strident. Are we pushing ourselves into a doomsday scenario? Is it too late? Will science save us from a world of drought, heat waves and horrifying storms? What kind of world will shine on Wiscon 55? Will we see a Wiscon 60?

Track(s): Science and Technology / Power, Privilege, and Oppression
Format: Panel


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