Fourth Street Considered as a Whole Pomegranate

When Lydia Nickerson decided to resurrect Fourth Street, she wrote this piece for the website:

It was almost midnight and I was hungry. I went to the refrigerator and stared at its contents; cheddar cheese, mustard, English muffins, jam, hard-boiled eggs, some fancy pickles I buy for occasions like these, Chinese left-overs in a white box – and none of it is was what I wanted. None of it. Not even the pickles. I looked over the shelves: tins of soups I don't want to eat and some dry roasted peanuts. It occurred to me that what I really wanted was… pomegranate. It's midnight, I'm standing barefoot in the kitchen wearing nothing but a dressing gown, it's screamingly cold outside, and I want a pomegranate. So I put on clothes, and then some more clothes because it's Minnesota, then a parka, gloves, and a hat, and I drive to the nearest Byerlys*, and buy a pomegranate. By one o'clock, I'm nice and warm, tucked into my bed, my fingers are stained red and I've eaten a whole pomegranate. It can be nice to live in Minnesota.

So it happened that way only different. I looked around and found some wonderful little Iowa Icons, a Demicon off in one corner, some very nice Windycons, a truly spectacular bit of left-over Minicon, and a small, tangy bit of CONvergence. There were other things, too, but none of them appealed. I wanted… I wanted a pomegranate.

Pomegranates are mythical. For merely six seeds, the daughter of the earth is in thrall to Pluto for half the year. Imagine if Persephone had been as greedy as I, and eaten the whole pomegranate! Pomegranates have a strange flavor, not quite like anything else, and a stranger texture; rather like eating seeded grapes without spitting out the seeds. The seeds themselves are prettier than any grape, like little tear-shaped rubies. The process of eating a pomegranate is personally involving; it takes serious attention to eat a pomegranate, unlike eating an apple. Pomegranates are difficult to open. Each individual seed has to be persuaded to let go of the incredibly bitter rind. No matter how hard you try, you don't get all the good seeds. In the end, your hands are covered in red stains, and the plate is covered in red stains, as well as yellow, papery rinds, and stray seeds.

Fourth Street Fantasy Convention is equally mythical. Moreso, perhaps, as I've never eaten a Fourth Street. I've heard tales, though. I know people who traveled to that country, and ate the fateful seeds. It is a place where conversations have depth, and plant seeds of thought, sometimes even seeds of creativity. A place with music which opens up vistas that words cannot. A place of companionship, small and comfortable, but varied and lively.

They don't sell conventions at Byerlys, so I've gotten together many of the people who made Fourth Street Fantasy Convention happen before, and asked them to help me make it happen again. Because it's midnight in Minnesota, and nothing else is quite right. I want the damn pomegranate.

* If you want to get really technical about it, it was a Lunds, but they are now both owned by the same company, and both of them are grocery stores where you can get almost anything.

Lydia Nickerson
Chair of Fourth Street Fantasy Convention 10 (which was held in 2008)