As many of my friends know, I took a trip to Dallas this weekend for the 2012 ACFW Conference. I did NOT go to the full conference. I was only able to go to the gala with my husband. We came a few hours early and visited with many cool friends. Quinton was bored at first. That is, until he started to see the way-cool awesomeness of my friends. I mean, look at that picture of spec-fic writers. Have you ever seen so many in one place and at one time? There were actually a few more but I don’t think they got the memo for all the freaks to meet on the stairs. That right there was better than the $85 a plate dinner and I really wish I could have been there for the entire thing. Maybe next year in Indy.
Anyhoo, I had a blast and was able to hug the necks of so many online friends. Of course, I’m holding Grace Bridges hostage at my house right now. That is another level of cool. How many people get to kidnap their publishers and force feed them Long John Silvers. Okay, force is not the right word since Grace kept grabbing for another piece and I thought about fighting her for the last fish. My hostess skills overruled my gluttony and Grace got the fish.
Now that I have told you a little about my experiences of fun, let me get to the point of this blog post. Because, even though I am usually smiling, there are certain things that really piss me off. I will not mention names because I do not know who wants what said. I will simply give my understanding of what happened and my opinion. Remember, this is 2nd and 3rd hand knowledge and should be taken as such. Even with that said, the problem is there and needs to be addressed by someone brave enough or stupid enough to do so.
Speculative fiction IS the Christian writing industry’s dirty, red-headed stepchild. I have suspected it for a long time but this weekend convinced me and it really does sadden my little book-nerd heart. In case anyone doesn’t know what speculative fiction is, it is all the weird and cool science fiction and fantasy. Think quantum physics, angels, demons, aliens, flux-capacitors, dragons, steam punk, Borg, wookie…the list is epic. It is what me and many of my friends write and we all write it with a Christian world view. To say we are strange would be an understatement and many do not understand how we can glorify God with our stories. I’m sorry for their misunderstanding, but I know we can.
Back to what has convinced me that some in the industry would rather cram us spec-fic writers in a closet under the stairs and feed us crackers without a glass of water…praying we will give up and go away. Certain people each year dress in character at the conference. It is always a highlight for me. It doesn’t matter if it is period dress, Amish, medieval, or what ever, it is just cool to see a few people brave enough to put on a costume and represent their genre. It makes everyone smile…usually. Until you start messing with preconceived notions of what is and is not acceptable.
For our part, Grace and I wore Star Trek uniforms. We found a new friend named Gary Wade that showed up dressed like Picard…which is way cool. We joined our table without incident. A few others were not so fortunate. They were denied entry into the banquet they paid to attend. The reason given? Something about ACFW not wanting their banquet to turn into a Star Trek convention.
If you are wondering, yes, I am pissed. Situations like this make me embarrassed to write for the Christian market. But then I remind myself that I am not writing for some snooty person that feels threatened by my weirdness or a small group that thinks by standing next to a person wearing a costume will make them spontaneously combust with embers from the pits of hell. I write for God and any reader that seeks Him in all things…especially the fun stuff.
To those mean people that spurned my friends and denied them access to the banquet they paid to attend, you should be ashamed of yourselves. What you did was akin to turning away a person from the doors of a church because he has a tattoo. You do NOT get to say who God loves. You do NOT get to say how God’s message will meet the masses. If YOU do not like spec-fic, don’t read it and don’t buy it. There is a market for it. Maybe if you stopped running off the talent with your hypocritical judgement and general rudeness, we’d get a piece of that. But we are NOT going away and we ARE strange.
Peace, love and God’s will.