This past weekend was also Toronto FanExpo, and yes, I am still unhappy by the destruction of authors' alley. I had so many people come to me complaining that the author's were all scattered around both buildings with no rhyme or reason to it. It was frustrating to see that there were no literary guests other than Margaret Atwood (who is great), while in past years, there were around a dozen of us. The past few years also saw the deletion of the literary panels as well. This has been sad to see. There used to be panels on world building, character development, and on publishing fantasy and SF. Now, the emphasis is on the stars, and the cosplay. I understand the appeal of the actors, (I met Jewel Staite and she has my book!) and I love looking at the costumes and the creativity that goes on. But after a few days to think and to decompress, I feel jaded. Writers are the ones who tell the stories, and who put those words in the actors' mouths. Without the storytellers, there would be no stories. There would be no shows on TV, or movies to watch. I'm not saying that I should have been an invited guest. I am far less famous than the majority of the people who get invited to these things. However, I just wish that the writers got more love. So many people came to our little table and asked us about our writing, about how they wanted to do what we do, how they too create stories of their own. Imagine how amazing it would have been to have had panels for these people; where they could have an open forum to discuss these things with professional authors. This is what FanExpo used to be; what they used to have. It saddens me to see it tossed aside. And for what? I'm not sure. I wish I knew.
But on to happy and exciting news once more! This past summer, I was asked to collaborate on an extremely important project. For orientation, York University commissioned myself, Kristen DaSilva, and Katie Edwards to write a play outlining all the issues with regards to sex and consent. This play became There Is No Maybe. In it, we wrote out different scenes and monologues teaching students through the magic of theatre, all about how important it is to get enthusiastic consent from one's partner, and about how you can help and intervene if you see an assault occurring. These days, when people like Brock Turner roam free, and where it seems as if you can't go anywhere without hearing about rape culture, or victim blaming, it seems as if we need more ways to reach students, and to teach them that they can make a change.
Last night, There Is No Maybe had its premiere at York University in front of over 6,200 students. I was there watching, and to say that I was nervous is an understatement. I felt as if this was one of the most important things I have ever worked on, and I wanted it to be perfect. The show started, and I heard the first reactions, and it was glorious. The students cheered at the right moments, they laughed when appropriate, and there were moments where you could hear a pin drop. They were listening, and they were absorbing our message. I was stunned. I have never felt more proud. I can't thank the administration enough for giving me this opportunity, and I couldn't have asked for a better writing team. Kristen and Katie were brilliant to work with, and our director Theresa Noon-Hunter made our words soar. More schools should implement works like this into their frosh weeks. If only to encourage students to intervene on others' behalf. We need more conscious discussion. We need to change.