Wake Up Call

I am back from Worldcon, also known as Midamericon 2.

First of all, I want to say that I had a great time at the convention. I managed to get together with a lot of people I know and enjoy. Most of my time was spent being social and I really, really enjoyed that, although it really wore me out as well. There was simply a lot going on. Too much, I think. I overplanned.

The panels I attended were good. I particularly liked World Building in Five Questions, which the panelists decided was not possible, but in a very humorous way. I participated on two panels: one about voice in audiobooks and podcasts, where I learned a bit, and another about NonAnglophone writers, which was a real highlight because the other presenters were pretty impressive. The Tor party was loud, raucous, and excellent. I felt like a real writer among real writers. All to the good.

We did line up 7 interviews for the podcast. That’s terrific.

But you know, there were two really salient revelations.

Ken Liu amazed me this con. I went to his reading. I was very appreciative of his versatility, his professionalism, and his talent. Could I have what Ken Liu has? Well, I don’t know about the talent, but yes, I can write more and goof off less. I could be more prolific. The trick, the real trick is to be excited to write, to realize that writing and creating is the reward, is the activity done preferentially. I have a lot to write, and I’m not getting any younger, and there are stories that would give me joy just to write them. Writing gives me joy. So let’s get down to brass tacks and not only Ken Liu’s example, but the example of all the wonderful, prolific, busy writers I had the opportunity to hear and talk to at the convention.

I love the podcast. I love interviewing writers. I will keep doing that. The focus becomes creating.

And the next part, kinda emo, so you need not go there. I cannot seem to get the cut to work, so please avert your eyes if you don’t want to see that kind of thing.

I think I need to back away from all but the closest of my connections. Because frankly I’m not good at the social thing, when you get down to it. I’m good at a certain, superficial level, but I’ve made some hard choices in my life and I am warped by them. There’s a reason why my dearest and closest are few, and it probably has something to do with kindness toward me in spite of me. These people are kind enough to understand what I really can’t explain adequately because I am from a very different planet.

I realize I’m out of my league in the convention-verse. I was raised by horrible people wolves and am broken in some very fundamental ways. The cons I attend primarily to spend time with my dearest and closest will continue. Other venues? No. I don’t think I can be trusted to dance the convention tango. The tenuous peace I have established with myself and my own integrity may be problematic, but it is how I stay anchored to self and sanity. And that’s pretty important to me, obviously.

I am sorry for any consternation I caused concerned friends.

World Con: MidAmericon 2

Yes, I will be there. You knew that.

Here are the two panels Dr. Catherine Schaff-Stump will be on. Oh, the hubris!

Saturday, August 20, 10 am – 11 am. Finding a Voice in Podcasts and Audiobooks. 2502B Kansas City Convention Center. Both of these media-types are well established, but what really makes ‘voice’ in both podcasts and audiobook narration? The panel discuss ways of representing and discussing the author, their characters and other types of media through sound.

Just stepped up to moderate this one, so I have a little planning left to do.


Sunday, August 21, 11 am – 12pm. Non-Anglophone Writers You Must Know. 2208 Kansas City Convention Center. Most of the world is not English speaking, so as the minority, what should English-language users start to pay attention to so that we can start to read outside of our own communities – even if that will be in translation most of the time?

Come here me talk about (mostly) some excellent Japanese SF/F. Also, come here me talk about how English is the Esperanto of the new century!


I’ll be all over this con from about 2 pm on Thursday until about 3 pm on Sunday, give or take. I’m gonna hit Thursday’s swing dance super hard.I’ve made arrangements to catch up with some folks, but please let me know if you’re there, so I can say hello!

Unreliable Narrators Posts

Before I list recent posts, I just want to let you know that we’ll be releasing this week’s interview with Ann Leckie early because of World Con, AND we will be broadcasting from World Con each day we are there. So, you can live vicariously through us. Oh yeah!

New posts? Here we go!

Romancing the Show

Tech Spotlight: Dan Novy

Author Spotlight: Thomas Olde Heuvelt

August: The Most Interesting Month

Hello, cats and kitties!

I returned to work on July 27th and immediately plunged into the world of beginning my year as faculty association president at Kirkwood (round 2–I did this 2002-2003, a lifetime ago) and then began to prepare to be gone over the two Fall Kick-Off days. You would be surprised at how much paperwork it takes to create a virtual me. Well, I did all that and as of today have completed my World Con prep for panels as well. So, that’s all as it should be, and I’m looking forward to connecting with people and being on panels at World Con. I’ll post my schedule a little later in the week.


Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, there has been a confluence of strangeness all hitting at the same time. Some of it was well-meant strangeness, but when you have a lot planned, sometimes, the early isn’t ideal.

The above work preparation I knew about. Also, we knew Bryon’s mom was going to get a tumor removed from her bladder. It is a slow growing cancer, and after the lab results, they’re going to give her one more chemo treatment to reduce the chances of it coming back. She’s 90, so we’re thinking that will be the end of it for her and the cancer will trouble her no more. It’s a good diagnosis.

What I didn’t expect? People doing things faster than I expected, which is usually good. Like the geothermal guys starting outside about two days after we gave them the green light to transform our 160-year-old house into Environmentally Friendly Manor. Our backyard has had four giant wells drilled into it, and a couple of giant mole men furrows leading to our house. Who knew our yard was full of limestone chunks my husband took it upon himself to carry out of our yard so we could get it to become a yard again? Also, who knew, like when a grave settles, you have to leave giant channels of earth on top of the ground, letting them naturally settle until you can take the backyard to “rough” grade again?

Yes, I know that now. There were also indoor hijinx.

Continue reading “August: The Most Interesting Month”