On Saturday, I went to three sessions, the auction, and the reading. On Sunday, I went to the brunch.
The three sessions were on "Ethics and Science Fiction", "Environmental Catastrophes" and "Humor".
Ethics was a very interesting session which talked about the ethics that both writers and readers might consider with respect to stories. For a writer, one of the big questions could be "why are you telling this story" with respect to what you want readers to take away from the story. I know that's something I regularly think about when writing, so it was really interesting to hear the discussion.
Environmental Catastrophes sounded intriguing, I expected it to be a discussion of "what happens after the lights go out?" in stories. It might have started that way, but morphed into how farming corporations are doing all sorts of awful things to the environment and how you can live a greener lifestyle. It was still interesting, and there was much food for thought with respect to stories and how to live your life, but it definitely wasn't what I expected.
Humor was a lot of fun, as would be expected, and the panel made sure to crack jokes at every opportunity. They still had a very good discussion, especially about how humor often arises from "having a completely absurd world, and taking it very seriously" or "having a completely serious world, and taking it absurdly." They also talked about how something is humorous because it's unexpected, so you have to watch your "set-ups" for anything that you want to be humorous. In fact, maybe you shouldn't try to set it up at all!
After a dinner break, where I went to McMenamins with some friends who live in Portland, I returned for the auction. The auction was a blast, with lots of interesting items and Ellen Klages (http://www.ellenklages.com/) as the host. She was hilarious and really ripped it up! She has a new short story collection out titled "Portable Childhoods" and now I need to get it. The auction made good money, I can't remember if it was to benefit Clarion, Tiptree or both, but no matter what it was an excellent cause.
The reading was "Bad Medicine" by Robert Sheckley (http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/sheckley2/sheckley21.html). It was a good performance of a fun story, but I was getting tired (I'd been up since 4 AM) and started drifting off. After that, I crashed.
Sunday morning was the brunch, which was very tasty. I sat with some fans from California and Oregon and we talked about past Potlatch conventions and why they liked coming to Potlatch.
After brunch, I went to go visit another friend who now lives in Portland with her family, headed back to the airport and went back home.
Overall, Potlatch was great, both the workshop and the con. I'm sure I'll be attending more Potlatchs in the future and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves the literary side of speculative fiction and likes talking about books and stories and the issues they raise.