Book Reading: Leaving Mundania

The Boston Phoenix has very much been doing right by me lately.

I recently picked up a copy because the cover mentioned articles about a nerd convention, and a project that interests me a lot as  a huge fan of Game of Thrones a cookbook based on A Song of Ice and Fire.

And then yesterday, I was in a convenience store when a friend spotted the front page of this week’s Boston Pheonix.

“Zombies & Vampires & LARPers & Bikes.”

The article on zombies was quite interesting- it was a report on the author’s experience at the Run for Your Lives Zombie 5K, which is a race/obstacle course where runners get chased by zombies, and are considered bitten and infected if they lose the three flags on their belt to zombies. (Not unlike flag football.)

The article contains the line, “I had traveled to Amesbury, Massachusetts, to LARP out the zombie apocalypse…” Interesting. I had read and heard about others’ experiences at the event, but hadn’t thought of it as a LARP. When it comes to defining LARPs, and determine what falls under that category, I sit pretty firmly in the camp of, “if you want to call a LARP, I won’t argue with you.” People write pages about how to define it, and I’ve yet to see a definition that pleases every one, though I’m sure one day I will attempt it for myself.

But if you’re reading this, feel free to chime in- would you consider this a LARP?

At any rate, I really hope to participate in a future run- it sounds like crazy fun. The Boston Pheonix has pictures of the event online here. Doesn’t that look like a great way to spend your day? And check out that undead Santa. And here I thought Santa couldn’t get any scarier.

Of course, it was the word “LARPers” on the cover that had really caught my interest. The article turned out to be an interview with Lizzie Stark, the author of Leaving Mundania, and at the bottom, it mentioned that she would be at a book reading that evening. Score. I’d missed her at Intercon L’s Pre-Con event (she’d hosted a panel on Ars Amandi, a Nordic mechanic for simulating romance or sex in LARP), and luckily, my evening was open. And I even happened to have my copy of her book on me.

I got there about 20 minutes late, so I missed the beginning of her reading (though it was a passage I’d already read.) I slunk in and took a seat in the front row. There was also an author doing a reading on his book, The Cornbread Mafia, (about marijauna growers in the US), which was not what I’d come to hear, but very interesting and at times, quite amusing. (I just realized I forgot to get a whiff of the jar of moonshine he’d brought- a Southern lady had used it to pay for her copy of the book!)

I was very curious to know if there were any LARPers in the small audience besides me and the friend who accompanied me. He spotted a LARPer in the crowd who’d caught the beginning. He said she’d asked and that there were maybe 6 of us total. (People were recording it for podcasts; I’ll see if I can find one online.) It felt a little odd, but also strangely flattering, to be one of the people that others had come to read and hear about because something about me was so strange and foreign to them. Some of the questions gave me the crazy urge to stand up and answer, especially when people asked about non-combat focused LARPs, and the relationship between LARPing and Choose Your Own Adventure books. I wanted to tell them all about Intercon and Venezia.

I got my book signed, of course, (The inside of my book cover now reads, “Keep it larpy, Lizzie Stark”). I also got the article in the Boston Phoenix signed. I asked Lizzie Stark why, according to the interview in the Boston Pheonix, she didn’t consider herself a LARPer. She said she LARPed but it wasn’t a part of her identity. Interesting. Now that I think about it, I do consider “LARPer” to be part of my identity, but I might also say yes even if it wasn’t. She also told me about a Nordic LARP she’d like to run here in the US, based on Y: The Last Man (a graphic novel series I’ve really enjoyed, and keep meaning to finish), which I hope will fit into my schedule when it runs. And there was talk about her coming back for a future Pre-Con.

The evening then concluded with LARP discussions over falafel.

About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years, in all different styles. I love trying out all different styles and genres and formats. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serving as a board member of NEIL, as LARP Coordinator for Extracon, and a member of bid com for the British convention Consequences. I was also the coordinator of Festival of the LARPs in 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I've also served as an editor for Game Wrap, NEIL's publication about the art and craft of LARP, and served on Intercon staff in various roles over the years.
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