Reflections in Azure

Where to begin? I'm not quite sure.

You could start with some social-networking sites where I maintain a regular presence, like LiveJournal and Twitter; or other Web 2.0 options where I can be found, such as Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace, and even Wikipedia and YouTube (but not Facebook, for a variety of reasons).

Otherwise, I normally tend to think of myself as a fairly straightforward person, but other people don't seem to see it that way. Apparently, I'm much more complex than I realise, so explaining myself could prove difficult.

Let's start with some simple facts.

My name is Edgar, as you know--though people tend to settle on addressing me as one of Ed, Eddy, or Edgar, regardless of how I initially introduce myself to them. No, I was not named after Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar the Good Son from King Lear, or any other real or fictional Edgar whose fame predates my birth.

I was born and raised here in Winnipeg (a wonderful city despite the inclement weather), and I attended Kelvin High School, where for some reason beyond my comprehension, I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program.

For several years after that, a typical day for me (during the school year, at least) began with classes--specifically, the study of English and Film at the University of Manitoba. Although I love intellectual pursuits and can see myself pursuing graduate and even postgraduate work at some point in the future, I found myself afraid at times that I would end up trapped in the soul-numbing depths of academia. Certain professors who seem to have lost all the passion they may once have had for their chosen field did not help me feel any better about this...

I spent a lot of my university time outside of class socialising with the Cool Theatre People (despite the fact that I wasn't a Theatre student), becoming increasingly involved with the local Model United Nations Association, and hanging out with a group of friends that was simply dubbed The Table, referring to the table we all sat around (one that is no longer there, sadly) in a certain lounge at University College on campus. They came from many different backgrounds and fields of interest, but I have any number of wonderful memories associated with them from that period in my life and I value my friendships with all of them, which I look forward to continuing in the years to come.

Around that time, I volunteered at the XIII Pan-American Games, which Winnipeg hosted from July 23 to August 8, 1999; only the Los Angeles and Atlanta Olympics have been larger sporting events in North America, and I had a lot of fun being a part of it. On a somewhat related note, I also had the opportunity whilst I was Down Under to volunteer at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, so if you caught a glimpse of someone in the crowd at the time who seemed to look an awful lot like me...well, it probably was. (You may be interested in my Quotes of the XXVII Olympiad to get a sense of what the latter experience was like on a personal level.)

I have various and sundry interests, if that wasn't obvious enough already (a quick look at my Amazon Wishlist should make it clear), and I tend to want to put my two cents in about all of them--much to the chagrin of many people I know who are caught unawares when I begin a rant. One of those interests which proved surprisingly popular online is fictional timelines, the pursuit of which has gotten me a share of media attention on multiple occasions.

As far as personal philosophy is concerned, I consider myself an equalist. It is my firm belief that all humans are fundamentally similar, and I do my best to help people see that the differences between them are ultimately negligible. The most fulfilling thing I can accomplish is to successfully challenge people to re-evaluate their assumptions.

The principal means by which I hope to do that is through my writing. I am an avid writer, which perhaps explains my early fondness for the Internet--no matter what I'm typing, the clicking of the keyboard feels safe and reassuring. One formative and inspiring example of what I hope to accomplish with my work was Writing Home (which I first read in my undergraduate days), an anthology of short stories by Canadians written on behalf of PEN International, a human rights organisation committed to countering censorship and advocating for Poets, Essayists, Novelists, and other writers who have been imprisoned for their work. That book and the work it represented made me more grateful than ever to live in a country which allows freedom of expression. (For more information, you should take a look at the website for PEN Canada.)

As it is, though, I am still that most common of entities, the aspiring writer, published professionially for the first time with my Star Trek: Enterprise short story "You Are Not in Space" in the anthology Strange New Worlds 10 from Pocket Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), which can be ordered from both Amazon.com (even Amazon Kindle) and Amazon.ca. My innate geeky tendencies (and the practice of other Star Trek writers doing the same thing) also led me to eventually follow that up with a set of annotations for the story.

My own frustration at the inadequacies of language occasionally prompts me to create new words and phrases, further serving to befuddle the people who know me.

Struck by a continuous sense of wanderlust, I've done a fair bit of travelling over the years which has given me the chance to see wonderful sights and meet many diverse people, pleasing me greatly. Nothing is so pleasing, however, as the time I spend with my friends.

Many of those friends are people I've met through media fandom in one form or another--either online or at various conventions. Such conventions almost always prove quite interesting (which is what I expect from them), and cons as a whole usually leave me with a few stories to tell the curious. The first con I ever attended was Keycon, a local science-fiction convention held over Victoria Day weekend in May, and being a regular attendee there provided the opportunity (amongst other things) for my first film appearance, in the independent short Starwatchers. Other local cons I've attended include Worldcon (when it was held in Winnipeg in 1994) and Central Canada Comic Con, which I continue to attend each year.

I didn't get to any con beyond the city limits until I attended Legacy (a Highlander convention) in Washington, DC in 2000. Having gotten a new sense of wanderlust this way, I later attended another Worldcon in Toronto in 2003, DragonCon and Valleycon in 2006 (with an eventual return to DragonCon in 2012, by which time it had grown considerably), and I finally became a con guest myself at Baltimore's Shore Leave in 2007 to promote the publication of Strange New Worlds 10. If I had the resources to travel more often to attend cons elsewhere, I would.

Some people (mostly those who've never been to one) think of sci-fi conventions as a haven for geeks and other lonely losers, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I associate cons with everything from general lack of sleep (and finding creative locations to get some) to stimulating conversations, from late-night parties to suggestive innuendo, but not to the stereotypical group of nerdy teenage boys trying to decide whether the Defiant could defeat the Millennium Falcon in a firefight. If you're into science-fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, and/or anything else at all along those lines, cons are simply a great place to meet people like yourself--and if you're one of those "closet fans" who has bought into the mainstream stereotype, I suggest you actually attend a con before drawing your own conclusions.

Each July, I also spend a lot of time at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, which never fails to be the highlight of my summer, and I volunteered at the Fringe for over a decade. It provides me with exposure to all sorts of entertainment and culture, as well as the chance to meet and talk to creative people from around the world--not to mention fellow Winnipeggers, some of whom have become my friends as a result. (Have you sensed the general friend-making theme yet?) I love the Fringe so much, in fact, that my familiarity with and passion for it indirectly got me a two-year gig writing theatre reviews (for the Fringe and beyond) as a Senior Contributor to The Charlebois Post.

Does that help, at least a little? I hope so. There is so much more I could say here, though I can't put words to it all. Those that know me have probably noticed gaps already, and no doubt they will let me know what I've missed.

That said, as time goes on, I will no doubt continue to expand my personal writings, since life is dynamic and many things change. I hope you will be here to watch the story unfold.

Smack Dab in the Middle of the Blue
Confusion is the best aphrodisiac. arphaxad@mts.net