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.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

4 thoughts on “Wake Up Call”

  1. I think you do a pretty great job of being you, and I love you, so I guess I’m biased? Anyway, if you want to drop an conversation on me I hope you feel free to do so.

  2. I love you right back. There’s a personal email in your gmail to let you know what’s up.

    This was mostly for me to get this out of my system so I could move forward. You know me, spew words. Move on.

  3. I had a great time with you, and would have loved to hang out more. Thank you SO MUCH for your help with my 4AM emergency essay. You rock!

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