Potlatch 17: Feb. 29 - March 2, 2008

Notes from the Chair

It's a party. You'll have a good time. Come hang out with your friends, even if you don't know them yet.

In many ways, Potlatch is an assemble-it-yourself convention. We provide the hotel (with fabulous ambience, a good restaurant and bar, a coffee stand, comfy rooms, and a marvelous con-suite), a select set of program items, a dealers' room centered on books, a few clues that you're going to run into people who like to talk about the same kinds of things you like to talk about (literary science fiction, politics, race, gender, justice, influence of technology on social trends, how much garlic is enough, chocolate, whisky, music, good television, bad movies, the meaning of life, that sort of thing). You provide the energy. You provide the talk, whether you're a panel participant, or reading your work aloud, or sitting around in the con suite or the bar, or going out to dinner with two people you've known for years and three you've never seen before.

How do you assemble it? Start on Friday afternoon. Pick up your badge (and T-shirt and banquet ticket), then tour the dealers' room before heading up to the hospitality suite on the 16th floor. If it's not raining, go out on the deck to check out the second-best views in the University District. Alternately, you could spend the afternoon workshopping a story in a Taste of Clarion West workshop (for beginners) or a Journeyman workshop (for those who have attended Clarion West or Clarion, or have some solid workshopping experience).

Put together a dinner group, and head out; there are plenty of good restaurants within walking distance. Be back in time for the Clarion West annual meeting at 7:30, followed immediately at 8:00 by a panel on Clarion West history, and at 9:00 by a reception celebrating 25 consecutive Clarion West workshops. You're all invited: alumni, former instructors of Clarion West, and Potlatch members who just want to party. If you prefer, go back up to the hospitality suite to look at the lights of the city, or hang out in the bar, or in the lobby, which has remarkably civilized conversational spaces.

Saturday has the serious programming that sets Potlatch apart from a relaxacon. On Saturday, there will be two strands of programming during the day, one focused on panel discussions in the main ballroom, the other focused on readings in the Governor's Room just off the restaurant downstairs. All the less-formal spaces will be available for catching up with old classmates, buying new books, and setting up nanoprogramming items. After dinner, the strands come together for chocolate silliness at the Trivia Bowl and fundraising whoopla at the Clarion West scholarship fund auction.

On Sunday, we'll gather in the ballroom for brunch and schmoozing. Mystery entertainment may occur, and there may be bonus readings in the Governor's Room; stay tuned! Sunday is the day to connect with the people you've been trying to find time to talk with all weekend, or maybe since Boskone or Wiscon or Orycon.

Sunday afternoon, Debbie Notkin and Pat Murphy will hold their mid-career writers conversation in the Governor's Room. Attendance is self-selecting, but Pat says it's likely this won't be a useful conversation for you unless your second novel has been remaindered. We're flexible; if there are a lot of folks in attendance who would find a journeyman writers conversation useful, we can schedule that as well. That would be for writers who have sold a few stories or a book in the past few years.

As Sunday winds down, so will Potlatch, with a dead dog party in the hospitality suite or more loitering in the bar or lobby. See you there!

Kate Schaefer,
Potlatch 17 Chair