The last day began with a series of manifestos. Al Filreis, Christian Bök, Kate Pullinger, and Lance Olsen each presented their manifesto for the future of writing. i was very happy that Kate brought up issues of money and power. Both she and Al commented on the insider/outsider dichotomy of writing: the established writers, the writers supported by institutions / the writers outside the institutions, the writers who don't get grants or teaching positions, the writers at the beginning of their careers. Christian Bök did his usual pot-stirring, saying that the avant-garde presumes its own failure. Everyone was invited to write a manifesto and hand it in (maybe some of those will appear online), but there was some resistance. The audience wanted conversation.
i didn't write a manifesto; i think they are counterproductive. Writers need to be flexible and dynamic, not committed to a statement of intent. Manifestos, i think, are militant and dogmatic, argumentative rather than conversational.
Then D Kimm performed. She has great stage presence, and i liked her use of electronic sound. The sentiment of "take me how I am" was cool, though not so much the idea of a lover being "possessed."
The Closing Remarks
Erin Mouré graciously allowed me to speak instead of her. i was torn: i've been saying a lot on this blog, and i don't want to be afraid to say the same things in person. But it was also the end of the conference, and it was very hard to be critical of Steven Ross Smith and the other organizers. i do think they did a good job of running the conference, even if i didn't agree with everything that happened. i did know that others had spoken to me about my blogging, and i wanted to give a brief voice to them. A conference like this has a lot of speaking at, and very little ongoing dialogue, i feel. Twitter alleviated that a little bit, but with so many panels packed in, many important discussions were lost. i brought up class, race, and gender representation. i asked if anyone else had any words, because really, there were other audience members who i know had as much to say as i did. It was a bit unsettling to get up and speak to writers older, more experienced, and many of them smarter than i am. i don't particularly enjoy the role of agitator, but someone has to do it. And really, just as well the conference ends on an unsettling note: isn't that the purpose of innovation? To unsettle and dislodge us? i hope an ongoing conversation emerges, and i invite everyone to comment on my blog, on twitter, and maybe eventually on a forum. There were some great connections made at In(ter)ventions, and i don't want those to be lost.
Fred Wah spoke after me. He said "Why bother?"
Why bother indeed.