Tag Archives: Social Interaction

Editorial: On Words (repost)

You’ll have to forgive your self-indulgent author, today. Every year, around this time, I get very maudlin. Part of it is the big change in my life around work that happened a while back, part of it is that lasting sense of “this is when the school year begins”, and part of it is grief.

In my Kaddish article these many years ago, I talk about the Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer said after the death of one’s parents. It’s spoken daily for eleven months, and then yearly on the anniversary of the death. It’s said in order to ease the burden of grief over time so that it does not remain an overwhelming force in life.

Would that I had the faith to let go. Still, no harm in trying.

So, in that vein, on this anniversary, yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba…

Five years ago, on September 6th, a friend of mine passed away.

I’d not really had all that much exposure to death before that, if I’m honest. My step-adoptive-grandfather died when I was fairly young, and all I really remember out of that was the funeral, and inheriting a small medal he’d won from Colorado State University, something about soil science and geology. After that, I had dream after dream about what winning that medal must’ve been like, walking through some grand oaken hall to receive a pewter medal on a velvet pillow. That I later attended CSU, and that CSU had no oaken halls as in my dreams, always left me vaguely disappointed.

Other than that, my brush with mortality was limited to my grandmother, who passed some time later. The unfortunate part of her passing was that, for years before, she had been deep in a mire of dementia that left her a pallid shadow of her former self. From her, I remember that a lot of our final interactions were beset by confusion, frustration, and tears. “You’re [my mom]’s son, right?” she asked in the airport. She repeated the question seven or eight times, being sure, each time, to comfort herself that the person pushing her wheelchair was someone known to her.

My mom and I had flown out to see her as she got settled into a final stage of her life in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom flew out to see her one more time before she died, but, after a long talk, it was decided that I would stay home. “I can’t handle it. I can’t be in that role again,” I pleaded, and my mom let me stay with my dad while she flew out of town.

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The Beauty of Small Cons

Guest post by Thurston Howl. Thurston is the editor-in-chief of Thurston Howl Publications. The author of several novels, short stories, and poems, he prides himself in the Ursa Major Award winning essay collection he edited, Furries Among Us. He received his BA in English at Vanderbilt University and his MA in English at Middle Tennessee State University. Aside from running a publishing house, he teaches English at a local college, plays piano, dances, and is actively training to be a coffee connoisseur.

Ed. note: I got so overwhelmed with other stuff that I forgot to post this! My apologies to Thurston and to his readers!

All year long, furries see it all over the social media: “3 days till AC!” “Can’t believe I’m on my way to MFF!” Or, my personal favorite, “Suffering post-con depression after that big con.” Yet, we never hear enough about the less famous small cons. Wikifur has published a list of conventions by attendee participation. It shows 55 furry cons, ranging from 58 participants to over 7,000. The arithmetic mean (average) of the participants for a con was 1,027. Yet, cons that average around that number are generally called “small cons.” I have been to more small cons than large ones. So, here I shall provide five reasons for why small cons are better—or at least, as good as—large cons.

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[adjective][species] at Further Confusion 2017

[a][s] contributors make the occasional appearance and presentation at conventions around the world (well, okay, a few cons in the US plus Confuzzled in the UK), and Further Confusion is one of our regulars! This year, [a][s] folks have a few panels at FC2017, so if any catch your eye, stop on by and say hi!

Note that times/dates are tentative until scheduling gets locked in by con staff. Bookmark this page and we’ll keep it up to date with any changes. Data was snagged from the panel system directly, but if I missed any [a][s] contributors’ panels, shoot me an email or leave a comment!

Friday

Gender and FurryMakyo – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Hilton: Santa Clara

Both gender and furry touch on very important aspects of identity, and the fandom often provides a space in which to explore one’s gender in a safe manner. Join Makyo from Love – Sex – Fur to talk about what gender is and how it interacts with the furry subculture.

Write Now! Jakebe, Kyell – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Having trouble starting that short story? We’ll present a simple structure for thinking about your story–then you’ll take half an hour to actually start writing it!

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Healthy Relationships Makyo – Friday, January 13 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, positive relationship with you and your partners? Curious on how to make long-distance and in-person relationships work? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy relationships.

Saturday

Resources and Tech for Furry Writers Makyo, Chipotle Coyote, Blackfeather Tanfur – Saturday, January 14 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

There’s a dizzying array of software, hardware and resources, both online and off, for both established and aspiring writers to use. We’ll talk about our favorites (and least favorites), from Scrivener to InDesign, writing guilds to libraries, and all points between.

Exploring the Fandom Through Data Makyo – Saturday, January 14 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salan I/II/III

Come join Makyo from [adjective][species] to explore what it means to be a furry using data from seven years of the Furry Survey and several other resources. We’ll investigate the demographics and interests of the fandom to see what it is that makes us who we are.

What’s Your Problem? Jakebe, Kyell, FuzzWolf, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 4:30PM-6:00PM – Marriott: Almaden

Your surefire story was rejected? The panelists talk about common errors (and maybe a few not-so-common ones) that get manuscripts turned away by editors.

Adult Furry Writing Kyell, Rukis, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Adult stories are a mainstay in the furry fiction world. Listen to some experienced authors talk about how (and why) to create effective adult stories.

Sunday

Brainstorming in Real Time Jakebe, Kyell – Sunday, January 15 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Don’t just stop at your first idea—it’s probably not your best idea! We’ll talk about generating ideas and show you the value of brainstorming in real time, mining for idea gold. Leave this panel with free story ideas!

Philosophy and Furry MakyoCorgi W – Sunday, January 15 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Curious about the ways in which we find meaning? How do furries actualize themselves in the world? Come learn about philosophy within furry from Corgi and Makyo.

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Safer Sex Makyo – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, sex-positive relationship with your partners? Curious on how to stay safe while playing? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy sexuality.

Mindfulness and Transformation in Action Jakebe, Kannik – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Being present and mindful is at the heart of nearly every philosophical tradition. This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of Buddhism and Philosophical Ontology, teach some practices that are useful in diffusing and bringing possibility to everyday situations, and will end with a short mindfulness meditation.

Unsheathed Live Kyell, K. M. Hirosaki, Ryan Campbell – Sunday, January 15 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Everyone’s favorite highly irregular furry writing podcast returns for a Further Confusion tradition! Join Kyell Gold, K.M. Hirosaki, Not Tube, and special guest Lady Gaga. Or a manatee.

The Shadow of the Future Fell Upon Us

In the year 2001, the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry had been in existence for five years since it’s beginning in June 1996, and its first post in August 1996, and had become a popular site for furries around the world to communicate online. By the year 2000, 540 Furveys from newsgroup participants had been posted, indicating approximately the number of people participating. Posting news and comments on furry topics was the intent of alt.lifestyle.furry, but topics other than furry had become common. Beginning on September 11, their discussion became intensely focused on the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States and which would soon affect many people all over the world.

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Editorial: On Irony

Sixteen years ago, I was a not-so-wee lad just starting his freshman year of high school. I had grown a foot and a half in the previous few years, and my voice had fallen down the staircase from alto to baritone. I had just come out to my mom as gay. My favorite saying, which my step-mother hated, was “sarcasm makes the world go ’round”.

And I had just found furry. That too.

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Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom

Guest post by Oxley. Oxley is a relatively new member of the fandom, having only been actively involved for a year–at the time this article was written, he hadn’t attended any conventions, but hopes to continue his work in this area at Midwest Furfest 2016. He is currently looking for feedback and other opinions on this article, and can be reached at his email.


The year is 2015, and marriage has finally been confirmed as a right for all Americans, whether gay, straight, or otherwise. Though the legislation has brought the queer community (sometimes referred to as MOGAI, or “Marginalized Orientations, Genders Alignments, and Intersex”) farther than it has ever been before in its fight for civil rights, talk of marriage now overshadows other important LGBTQ+ issues: many groups still find themselves marginalized and vulnerable in society. As the struggle slowly progresses, though, queer America has found both allies and enemies in the strangest of places. Individuals from some of the most conservative corners of politics have shown solidarity to the queer community, as have major corporations and brands. Nonetheless, their backing has often been motivated by political or economic gains—after all, in many places it would be considered political suicide to denounce marriage equality. Rather, various other communities and subcultures have often proven to be most readily and enthusiastically supportive of social progress. Countless YouTube stars have advocated for marriage equality or even used the site as a medium through which to come out, while common names in music have vehemently opposed restrictions on marriage.

Perhaps the most perplexing source of support for queerness in America, though, comes from the ever-controversial furry fandom. For years, furries have had intrinsic ties with the queer community, as only a minority within their numbers are straight. While furries as a whole have certainly never been a strong voice against equality regarding gender and sexuality, though, their advocacy of gay rights is nonetheless imperfect, and often detrimental to those who do not fit the more easily-recognized definitions of “queer”—that is to say, the transgender population. Still, observing a subcommunity as being a largely queer space offers a peculiar analysis of it, from an angle that is not often used. That said, the intersections between the queer community and the furry fandom provide a valuable insight into modern conventions of normativity, and the queer community’s interactions with society as a whole.

Continue reading Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom

Self-Care and Conventions

Originally posted on Jakebe’s blog here.

Further Confusion 2016 will begin tomorrow, and for most of us furries we’re just counting down the hours until we can head to San Jose to immerse ourselves in fandom for four glorious days. I know I’m itching to get there myself. But one of the things that rarely gets talked about at these conventions is how big a disruption they are to our daily lives, and what that disruption can do for those of us coping with mental illness. While the potential is there for a brilliant weekend, the craziness of the convention alone can throw us off-kilter.

For many of us, FC 2016 is one of our only chances to be with people we feel truly understand us; for four days we can put aside the problems of our regular lives and enjoy company and kinship in a way we rarely get to experience. We become so attached to the promise of a non-stop great time that any disappointment or gap in pleasure can send us spiraling into dark places. Unfortunately, downtime and disappointment are both facts of life; we can do ourselves a huge favor by learning to roll with them.

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Editorial: On Friends

Have you ever tried to delineate your past into phases? And not necessarily based on school. I mean, school and work do tend to serve as markers for a lot of our perception of time, and it seems almost habitual that we use them to mark out the periods in our lives. When I grew up, you went to preschool to prepare for kindergarten, which prepared you for elementary school. Fifth grade prepared you for middle school, and eighth grade for high school. Naturally, your senior year of high school prepared you for college, which prepared you for work, which helped you towards retirement, which seemed to be the best bit of all. Four years old, five, eleven, fourteen, eighteen, twenty-two, sixty-five.

When I was growing up, it all seemed right and natural. Right up until half way through my fifth-grade year, when I had just turned eleven. My parents had divorced when I was very young, and I’d spent my years up until that point living primarily with my mom. It was decided, though, once I left elementary school, that I would go live with my dad. That threw a wrench into the idyllic progression of years: where my dad lived, elementary school was kindergarten through sixth grade, not fifth, and middle school was replaced with junior high school.

If I were feeling particularly cheeky, I could blame most of this article on the turmoil caused by early recognition that, in River Tam’s words, “day” is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles, and really this was just all made up to make the paperwork easier. (I don’t, however, think that would give me a pass from the fact that I spent seven years in university, rather than four. That’s all on me.)

Continue reading Editorial: On Friends

Editorial: On Words

Three years ago, on September 6th, a friend of mine passed away.

I’d not really had all that much exposure to death before that, if I’m honest. My step-adoptive-grandfather died when I was fairly young, and all I really remember out of that was the funeral, and inheriting a small medal he’d won from Colorado State University, something about soil science and geology. After that, I had dream after dream about what winning that medal must’ve been like, walking through some grand oaken hall to receive a pewter medal on a velvet pillow. That I later attended CSU, and that CSU had no oaken halls as in my dreams, always left me vaguely disappointed.

Other than that, my brush with mortality was limited to my grandmother, who passed some time later. The unfortunate part of her passing was that, for years before, she had been deep in a mire of dementia that left her a pallid shadow of her former self. From her, I remember that a lot of our final interactions were beset by confusion, frustration, and tears. “You’re [my mom]’s son, right?” she asked in the airport. She repeated the question seven or eight times, being sure, each time, to comfort herself that the person pushing her wheelchair was someone known to her.

My mom and I had flown out to see her as she got settled into a final stage of her life in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom flew out to see her one more time before she died, but, after a long talk, it was decided that I would stay home. “I can’t handle it. I can’t be in that role again,” I pleaded, and my mom let me stay with my dad while she flew out of town.

Continue reading Editorial: On Words

Death in the Fandom

This article was originally published in March, 2012. In the wake of another death of a member of the fandom, we’re reposting a few articles on remembering our lost.

If we accept the fact that the furry subculture, the fandom as a cohesive group of somewhat like-minded individuals, has only existed for about thirty years, then we have available to us a growing and expanding membership at the beginning of what I hope to be a long thread of human society. We’re still in that bright, almost expansionist era of our creation where we are doing out level best to create more than we can consume. We bring in new members not only through the shared interest in anthropomorphics, but also through both the vibrancy of our existence and the social currency of our creative output. Furry, such as it is, is on the rise.

We are still young though, there’s no getting around that.

Thirty years, in the grand scheme of things isn’t really all that long of a time. The United States has lasted eight times that long, Christianity approaching 70 times, and, according to some, the universe almost 200 times that long, and that number is considered very, very small by many others. Our vibrancy and social currency is strong, but we are not the only group on the rise out there. In western culture, the anime fan base is taking a similar track, as have countless other subcultures and fandoms before it. Our output is copious and so, in turn, is our social currency, but they are not out of proportion.

Our fandom is young, and given the median age of about twenty years old, we are a fandom made up of many, many young people. Really, then, it’s no surprise that a single death among our ranks affects so many of us so greatly.

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