As class ended last week, one of my students asked me if I "do" CONvergences and I was all flippant and said, "Of course, of course..." and might even have SOMEHOW managed to let slip that I'm a former GoH. He takes all this in stride and says, "Yeah, I'm hoping to actually be on programming for the first time this year," and starts making it sound like he's already getting his schedule. Suddenly, my heart is in my throat and I think, "!" and I think, "!!" and then, "!!!" and then: "OH GOD, DID I EVER EVEN ACTUALLY TELL THE GUEST LIASON THAT I WANTED TO COME THIS YEAR??
CONvergence should not have been that far from my mind. My BFF Naomi is going to be one of the literary GoHs and I was asked to write her bio. Mason, my son, has only been having crafternoons with his cosplay buddies for the last several weeks, building their costumes for CON. So, it's not like I could possibly have forgotten that CONvergence was coming, but somehow I FORGOT THAT CONVERGENCE WAS COMING.
In an utter panic on Tuesday night at like 10:30pm, I dug up the email asking if I was coming to con. (Thank you, Gmail, for never making me delete anything, ever!) There is was, FROM JANUARY, very politely asking if I could please let them know my attendance for 2017. I hit reply so hard and typed out a desperate, apologetic, OMG PLEASE STILL TAKE ME I AM SO ASHAMED I AM REPLYING 4 MONTHS LATER message. Thank goodness the CONvergence folks are flexible and professional and accommodating even to pathetically forgetful old ladies like me. So I will have a badge! *whew!*
That settled, my next freak out was about paneling. The way my student was talking I was half-convinced final schedules were going out and that panels were all already filled. Plus, a couple of my twitter peeps were talking about the annual midnight slash panel in a way that ALSO made it sound like maybe it was already scheduled and my panic level kept rising. I was fairly convinced I had MISSED THE BOAT. COMPLETELY. So, I shot off an email to programming, who were very nice but a little confused at my panic and wrote (paraphrasing here), "Uh, we only just opened it? Here's a link: http://panels.convergence-con.org."
I am happy to say that I've since filled out my programming form and should be set. I got the little acknowledgment email, so unless the universe conspires against me, I should be in the programming matrix somewhere. That is good enough for me. At least I didn't miss the deadline. I really was convinced I had.
So yeah, class. I have to say I have always been tremendously lucky when it comes to my Loft classes. I can really only think of one, very early group, that I would have categorized as 'meh.' That was the class that, when I asked them what their favorite science fiction or fantasy novel was, told me, almost to a person, that they didn't have time to read and/or "weren't big readers." After that group, I started making sure to have at least one part of my lecture series entitled, "So you want to write? THEN YOU'D BETTER F*CKING READ."
I also started assigning readings after that class. With the Loft, I can't actually _assign_ anything. I put it on the syllabus and I *strongly* encourage people to read the stories if they have time, but the majority of my students work full-time (and have families, etc.) This year I have one student (besides myself) who is faithfully reading the stories. We're going through some of the Nebula nominees right now, so we've read, ‘‘Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 3/16) and ‘‘This Is Not a Wardrobe Door’’, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine 1/16). I actually highly recommend LISTENING to the podcast of "Welcome..." It's a kind of a chose-your-own adventure and the narrator pauses in a way that, I think, makes it a little easier to parse? I'm not sure, but, the point is, I really enjoyed it as an audio story. The structure of it makes me think it'd be harder to read, I guess. (Though, admittedly, I did not try.)
it's interesting that one of my students (one who had to dropout, actually,) was talking about how difficult it is to sell portal fantasy. I think that's still true for novels, perhaps, but there are two stories on the Nebula ballot that are portal fantasy related, Rustad's and Seanan McGuire's "Every Heart a Doorway" (novella). I see that I can listen to McGuire's... hmmm, I might have to consider that option. Naomi was telling me about the plot of that one and it sounds like... well, it sounds like parts were problematic, but that it's still a good read.
At any rate, the point is my class is great. I love teaching the advance class though I have not quite hit my stride with lectures. Usually, by this point (this was the third class) I've had a talk where I thought, "yes, that was good information. I have given them INSTRUCTION!" That has not happened yet for this class. I think, in some ways, it's because they're all active writers and therefor, my peers. I feel less beholden to pass on INSTRUCTION! to my peers, you know? And I think that sense creeps in when I start to stand in front of them. Last time, in fact, I was supposed to talk about character building but instead ended up asking each of them about their process--where they started, what hit them first. I think this next time I'm just going to have to confess that this class has turned into a round-table. :-)
If we weren't doing a lot of critique, I think my evaluations would suck this time around. But, luckily, the majority of class is critique and that's like high-intensity learning that covers All The Topics.