Once again, I spent Labour Day weekend at the Masters And slaves Together conference.
Though the hotel was about an hour’s drive from the Washington Beltway, it was surrounded by a bleak post-modern landscape of hotels, office parks and strip malls. The closest thing to a landmark I saw was a Krispy Kreme in which the doughnut assembly line was located next to a large window and you could see the entire process of the dough being formed, pre-baked, deep fried and then carried on a conveyor belt through a waterfall of sugar frosting that would give you Type 2 diabetes just by looking at it.
As before, MAsT laid on an excellent spread in the presenter hospitality suite, so I ate breakfast and lunch there. As always, the people were fascinating, including chances to meet Raven Kaldera, Guy Baldwin, Master Skip Chasey and other people. Often just meeting people in the common area was fun. I met an African-American woman who was there with one of the vendors, who said she hated the “Master-slave” terminology and said she referred to herself as a “pet.”
Master Taino’s Training Academy, who ran the event and paid my airfare and accommodation, are the people who commissioned the Master-slave history project book. I had a face to face meeting with the editorial board I report to. I also had some personal contact with people who were contributing or considered for contributing. We’re finally filling in some of the gaps in the editorial schedule.
The presentation went remarkably well. I had refined the presentation from last year, and greatly expanded it with the addition of material about Barbary coast slavery. I made a point of not counting the attendance, so I wouldn’t obsess over numbers, but there were at least a dozen people attending, and a lively Q&A afterward.
One guy told me, “I can see the Ken Burns documentary now.” To blue-sky for a moment, a TV documentary would be awesome, and something I have discussed with a friend who does docs for German television.
Even better, a guy introduced me to his girlfriend/slave, who works at a literary agency in NYC, though not as an agent. Still, connections can be vital, and I’ve made email contact with her since.
That does mean that I need to do some more thinking about the project. What tripped me up the last time I contacted the publishing world was a lack of a strong thesis statement, the kind of thing to go on a book jacket (or on the back of the trade). In the words of my late uncle George, I need a statement I can put on the back of a business card.
In the meantime, I still want to get a draft done by the end of the year, and I’m working towards that. My current focus is the chapter on Nazisploitation.