Sunday, November 02, 2014

Noircon, Day I

Christa Faust, Frank De Blase
So I'm sitting in the hotel bar Thursday night with Christa Faust, Frank De Blase, and the ex-LAPD detective who says his father killed Elizabeth Short, and I'm thinking, "This Noircon thing is kind of fun."

Earlier, I'd attended a panel that offered Flannery O'Connor's biographer, Jean W. Cash; and Patricia Highsmith's biographer, Joan Schenkar; in a conversation moderated by Jim Thompson's biographer, Robert Polito.  Were Highsmith and O'Connor radically different in temperament? Were they so far apart that they began to approach each other from the opposite direction? If you begin to suspect that NoirCon is not like other crime fiction conventions, you just may be right.

Later, after a fine, light convention-provided lunch, events included a kind of reading slam called "Three Minutes of Terror," in which twenty or so writers read from their work for no more than three minutes each, with the threat of ringing buzzers, flashing lights, and a chain-saw attack for anyone who exceeded the time limit. Among the well-received selections was a modified-for-oral-presentation version of this story, by your humble blogkeeper, the first time I had ever read fiction in public.

And now, before I head to track down more of my peeps, collapse in happy exhaustion, or both, here are a few good things people have said at the con, context to come later:
"The dog lived. I knew that was a bad sign."
*
"Half man, half sponge."
*
"He was so wicked, he had to go live in Switzerland."
© Peter Rozovsky 2014 

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12 Comments:

Blogger RT said...

Jean Cash and Flannery O'Connor and NOIRCON. I am baffled about that peculiar connection. O'Connor never wrote a crime story. Yes, her fiction is "dark," but I do not quite understand how Cash -- bless her heart -- found herself drawn into such an event. Hey, Jean, what on earth are you thinking? Am I being too harsh? Am I being too much of an O'Connor purist? Well, perhaps. I suppose NOIRCON does encourage strange bedfellows. But O'Connor would be dismayed.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

RT, that's what makes Noircon so much fun. The programming can get positively eccentric, and help people make unexpected connections. Jean Cash was invited through a crime fiction-loving and -writing acquaintance of hers who is form her general part of the country.

The conference is called NoirCon, and noir, as will generally get pointed out a time or two over the course of four or five days, need not always imply crime.

Would O'Connor be dismayed? I don't know. But Jean Cash and I sat at the same table at the convention's awards dinner, and she was not dismayed when I told her that her discussion and its odd juxtapositions got me wanting to read O'Connor again.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

O'Connor's view on crime would be simple: anyone who runs and hides from the living Christ risks the ultimate criminal penalty -- eternal damnation (i.e., the capital punishment). In any case, any aficionado of crime fiction will almost certainly enjoy(?) O'Connor's fiction. If you do read O'Connor, I hope you will find time and space for postings and comments. I am always a sucker for O'Connor conversations.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger seana graham said...

Funny, but I can easily see the link between Highsmith and O'Connor. Whatever they may think of the eternal outcomes, they both paint rather perverse portraits of humanity. Or they seek out the more freakish elements of it.

I should say that I've read O'Connor and only know about Highsmith through movies and people's analysis of her work.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

The provocations of blogging are plentiful, and in this case I am provoked to begin (resume) my Flannery O'Connor reading challenge. See my blog (Beyond Eastrod) for details. Thank you, Peter, for the provocation. Seana, I also thank you. The provocation has come at an critical point in my life. Again, thanks.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., O'Connor'a belief in sin and damnation was, naturally, very much a part of the discussion, as was a letter of Highsmith's that "I do not like that woman." She had written that letter after finding O'Connor on a porch at the Yado writer's colony after a rain storm.

Joan Schenkar said the wished O'Connor and Highsmith had each made the other a character in a novel.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Whatever they may think of the eternal outcomes, they both paint rather perverse portraits of humanity."

"In any case, any aficionado of crime fiction will almost certainly enjoy(?) O'Connor's fiction."

Seana and R.T.: Those comments indicate you are very much in the spirit of Noircon. I urge you to consider coming up for the next edition in two years.

R.T., I am pleased you may be provoked to reread O'Connor. See what Noircon does who come within its orbit, even as one remove?

November 02, 2014  
Blogger seana graham said...

Peter, I wonder that you can actually fit NoirCon and Bouchercon into this brief period. You must be made of heartier stuff than I.

R.T., I'd love to jump on the rereading Flannery O'Connor bandwagon, but I may be a bit stacked up in the reading department at the moment. If you get it going, though, I may be able to jump aboard later.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, are you kidding? Give me a week between cons, and I'd spend all year going to them.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You have some time to prepare for the O'Connor jump. I'm unlikely to pick her up again until after Bouchercon. I still have preparation to do. This convention stuff is not all fun and games, you know.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

The jump has begun. See my blog.

November 02, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Noted, and commented upon. Thanks.

November 02, 2014  

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