Coming Second (after W.B. Yeats)

Turning and turning in a plastic gyre

The Garbage Patch grows silently.

Things fall apart, degrading into plastic pills and

Floating Barbie heads are loosed upon the world.

The plastic-dimmed tide concentrates in filter feeders.

The innocence of tossing bone over shoulder

Should have died with the Neanderthals.

The best want more stuff, while the worst

Slave hopelessly, for the same petroleum dreams.

Surely this thing should make the papers?

It’s bigger than the Second Coming!

But the Second Coming is fodder for series novels,

Televangelists, and lame excuses.

When I close my eyes to sleep, the ocean pours in and

My head fills with bleached coral, flotsam, and decay.

Headless, eyeless and without pity for seabirds,

Trash vortexes are here to stay.

The darkness should be my refuge but,

Hundreds of years of industry

Have born this nightmare, hid from us

By Commerce, who puts Nature second,

That rough beast performing miracles

Daily, of air and water and sustenance.

Who could sustain the guilt we should feel?

Who, but the Greens, gives a flying dodo?

When in hot water, Flat Screen Man will ‘reset,’

Invoking some planetary cheat code

Like easy-peasy carbon sequestration.

We play with Earth as if any day,

A new one could be born.

By Maaja Wentz

I wrote this poem years ago for my critique group buddies but when I saw it fit the latest of Chuck Wendig’s weekly writing challenges, I couldn’t resist posting it here.

Live Reading of Second Coming plus speculative fiction stories and poems

If you would like to see me read this and other poems and stories on video, watch this clip of my reading at Can-Con, one of my favorite annual events.  Beware, may contain horror, and Dionysus.

Can-Con is the Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature, a literary and scientifically-minded science fiction and fantasy convention in Ottawa held annually by The Society for Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature.

Reading at Can-Con

Authors getting dramatic at Ad Astra.
Authors and actors getting dramatic at Ad Astra.

I will be doing a reading of short fiction and poetry at Can-Con in Ottawa, Saturday October 4, 2014. My co-reader will be novelist S.M. Carriere. One of the best things about conventions is meeting and discovering new authors and making new friends. Conventions are magnets for creative people in the arts and multimedia.

Can-Con is an Ottawa convention which brings together Canadian authors and content creators in science fiction, fantasy and horror. I attended last year for the first time and was impressed by the warmth and welcoming atmosphere. I spoke on the NaNoWriMo panel which brought together a variety of writers. The highlight for me was going out to lunch together and trading stories.

According to their website:

CAN-CON is Ottawa’s premiere Science Fiction and Fantasy gathering celebrating the written word. This yearly event brings together readers, writers, artists, scientists, and publishing professionals for panel discussions, workshops, presentations, readings, book launches, networking opportunities and to have fun. CAN-CON is a function of The Society for Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature.

2011 11 20_Thomas Camera_0049
Aurora Award Winners, 2013.

The 2014 Can-Con guest of honour is author Jo Walton, winner of the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and the World Fantasy Award. The editor guest of honour is Gabrielle Harbowy of Dragon Moon Press. Also check out the panelists.

Why Attend a Convention?

Conventions are fun if you like science fiction and fantasy novels, and/or speculative movies and shows. There are even conventions dedicated to comic books.

Much more casual than conferences, ‘cons’ run on volunteer power. Organized by and for fans, at a convention it’s easy to meet a favorite author. He or she will probably attend the same parties as you.

If half the convention action is at the parties, the rest is split between concerts, award ceremonies, panel discussions and special events. At some cons there are workshops and fashion shows for fans who build and wear costumes inspired by anime, books and movies. There might be an improv show, fire works or even a star gazing workshop. It depends on what the organizers and participants decide.

The panelists at conventions discuss topics as far-ranging as politics, art, science, technology, genre conventions, cultural diversity in literature, and music. My favorite panels are about writing, including workshops, publishing panels, flash fiction contests, author readings and small reader-author meetups called “coffee klatches.”

Fans in costume.
Fans in costume.

Conventions for Creativity

My very first convention was AD Astra, in Toronto. The experience was so creatively stimulating, I went home afterward and wrote my first (unpublished) novel in a six-week streak. If you are into speculative fiction and appreciate geek culture, attending a local convention might be your ideal creativity boost.

A few recommended conventions:

World Con (location changes annually)

World Fantasy Convention (location changes annually)

Can-Con 2014 (Ottawa)

Ad Astra (Toronto)

SFContario (Toronto)

My list is limited to conventions I have attended in Ontario and Quebec. Wikipedia offers a much longer list of conventions where you can find something local to you.

 

Have a great con!