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Perspective: On Programming – Meg Belviso

What is your favorite part of Sirens?

The programming! Seriously, every year I find myself feeling like Hermione Granger before she got her Time Turner. I want to attend everything! The only trouble with the presentations is that they’re too short. It doesn’t take much to start an interesting conversation going with the people at Sirens.

 
Tell us about a Sirens presentation that you loved.

I’ve yet to go to a Sirens presentation that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, so I just let my mind go blank and answered with the first one that came to me. I was completely surprised by the answer. It was a paper from 2014 by Hallie Tibbetts called “It’s Coming from Inside the Dollhouse.” It was about middle grade novels of the 70s and 80s that dealt with haunted toys.

I expected the paper to be a fun discussion about haunted toy stories—and it was—but like all the best papers of this kind, it also discovered a pattern that said something deeper. It was really a discussion of the use of toys as a metaphor for growing up, specifically transitioning from childhood to adolescence. I can’t wait for the compendium to come out so I can read it again!

Not surprisingly, it sparked a great discussion about toys and the way we relate to them, and lots of obscure books and movies. We looked at all of them in light of these new ideas. It made me excited to reread and watch them again, and to just think more about the discussion. This is the kind of thing I come to Sirens for, and I loved finding such a great example in a paper focusing on something very specific. The best way to describe it would be say it was a true gem!

 
Tell us about a Sirens Guest of Honor that you’ve found particularly inspiring.

The first year I went the theme was Monsters and I was really surprised at how the three speakers with the same job (writer) could be so different and so equally interesting. Each writer had her own story that led to her own unique voice. That’s continued to be true for every speaker in all the years I’ve gone. It really is inspiring because it reminds me that everyone has their own voice—that it’s the voice that creates the story. That sounds like a cop-out that I’m not picking one, but really that’s the inspiring thing!

–Meg Belviso
 

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