Luck and Perspective

I don’t have a lot to say about luck in general.  Sometimes, I think it’s a matter of perspective.

For example, last year, I went to a steampunk convention:  a conference for people who read or write a fantasy/sci fi/speculative fiction genre where the books are (a) set in an alternative Victorian era where steam is the main power so introduces cool gadgets that never really existed, OR (b) set in an alternative future but using the “signs” of the Victorian era, OR (c) break the first two rules but involve fantastic mechanicals.  Steampunk celebrators dress up in things like top hats and suits, or long flowing skirts with corsets or bustles, but wear them with aviator goggles or steam-powered jet packs or conglomerations involving gears.

The first day was spectacular—a veritable feast for the eyes plus myriad family-friendly activities—and I thought my kids might like to attend.  So I bought a couple of top hats from the conference shop.  Then on the drive home, I tried very hard to think of a way to condense the definition of steampunk for an audience of two, both under ten years old; I basically whittled it down to “a party for stories that have gears and goggles.”  I didn’t know if it would be exciting enough to lure them into a literary conference.  But when I walked in the front door, here’s what happened.

Son:  Hey, are those top hats?
Me:  Yes.
Son [putting it on his head]:  I always wanted one of these.
Me:  You did?
Son:  Of course.  Top o’ the mornin’ to ye.

Behold the power of the top hat.

That certainly was lucky, I thought. Who knew they would like top hats?  So much that when I mentioned going to the conference, all they asked was, Can we wear our top hats?  And when I said yes, they were like THEN LET’S GO RIGHT NOW.

I’ll admit to having had visions of my children later crediting this very conference for contributing to their happily book-centric lives. Yet, soon after we arrived, I was “volunteered” for an event which involved being shoved into an elaborate hat-and-cape combination and forced to sing something.  In front of a crowd.  Of strangers.

I have no idea how that happened. But my kids thought they were pretty lucky to witness that.

As I said: a matter of perspective…


9 thoughts on “Luck and Perspective”

  1. LOL You never know. Your kids might look at this as the moment that got them into a new genre, or the moment they got cool hats, OR the moment they saw Mom doing something silly. Only time will tell. 🙂


  2. Perhaps it isn’t so much about the perspective of luck as it is the perspective of a really cool hat. For the record…I’ve always wanted a top hat and have several miniature crocheted top hat headbands…I may get weird looks but I think I’m awesome and great stuff happens because I’m wearing them, and they boost my creative spirit.

    I haven’t written any steampunk, but I may have to now. I hadn’t thought of the wardrobe opportunities. ;D


  3. Love this story and I so wish I’d been there with you! I just finished Gail Carriger’s ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE (not what I expected but I loved it). I would have moved on to the next in the series but I decided to binge on Sookie Stackhouse books…. And BTW, my BF has a top hat and a cape I made him a few years ago. The ensemble gets worn (in public) about 3-4 times a year. Voluntarily.


  4. Thanks for the comments, all! (Every so often, the kids still wear those top hats.)

    Estyree, you ARE awesome. And yes, the steampunk costumes are incredibly imaginative…

    Diane, Gail was actually one of the headline speakers at that con. Extremely articulate AND adorned in both octopi and spoons, as she mentioned in her blog interview here, I think.


  5. Love this! I discovered Gail Carriger’s books by accident–never having ready Steampunk–and fell in love. I read one whole series in a week (there was little sleep happening). I’d love to attend a conference someday. I think it would be fabulous! What great luck about the hats, and the performance!


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