lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Feels like that, anyway.

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:"

Deep breath.

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.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
I totally forgot to post this anywhere. But if you're at CONvergence this weekend, here's where you can find me:


11 am - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Remembering the Phantom Tollbooth": Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" is full of word play you may not have caught when you read it as a child. Let's discuss the book through an adult's eyes. Panelists: Lis Morton, David Schwartz, Joel Arnold, Paul Weimer, Lyda Morehouse (mod).

2 pm - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Non-Network Original Content" : Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are all releasing original content, some of it taking us in interesting directions in sci-fi and fantasy. Will online original content soon make networks obsolete? Panelists: Alex Musial, Matt Gamble, Lyda Morehouse, Grace Ulak.

8:30 pm - DoubleTree Bloomington - "Jessica Jones" : The Netflix original series presents arguably the most complex, nuanced Marvel character to date in the antihero Jessica Jones. Join us to discuss season 1 of Jessica Jones and what we expect and hope for from season 2. Panelists: Keane Amdahl (mod), David Schwartz, Olivia James, Grace Ulak, Lyda Morehouse.

11:30 pm - DoubleTree Atrium 6 - "Animation Blue" : The air might turn blue as you listen to these miscreants talk smut about some of our favorite animated characters. Panelists: Greg Weisman, Khary Payton, Christopher Jones, Lyda Morehouse, Jenna Powers.


11 am - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Filled with Determination" : Want to squeal/sob about your favorite Undertale characters, plotlines, and secrets? Want to talk about how queerness and nonbinary gender is represented in the game? Have cool theories to share? Bring all your determination to this panel! Panelists: Allyson Cygan, Lyda Morehouse, Jason Thibeault (mod), Luxander Pond, Anna Besmann.

2 pm - Crowne Plaza U - "Starblazers" : Space Battleship Yamato/Argo is one of the iconic vehicles of science fiction anime. We will be looking at the classic series, the dub, the movies, and the remakes. We might even have a singalong of the American theme song!
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
CONvergence is this weekend. In fact, my con will probably start Wednesday night. I don't have a TON of panels this year, but enough to keep me coming back pretty much every day of this four day con:


5 PM - "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
7 PM - "Guardians of the Galaxy"


8:30 PM - "Slash Panel"


11 AM - "The Best Recent YA Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels"

None of these are exactly meaty, but I get to talk TWO Marvel films, so I'm not complaining at all. I'm not quite sure why I got tapped to talk about YA novels. I've reviewed a few, but not that many. On the other hand, it's easy enough for me to make a list of this year's YA novels that are up for awards to bring to con.

I bought Mason a membership this year, slightly ahead of time. I'm going to bring him with me on Thursday and we'll probably spend the day there exploring and whatnot. I purposely didn't schedule myself on Saturday, because it's the 4th of July, and Mason really loves going to see the fireworks. In the past, my CONvergence schedule has made it tough for us to go.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Last night was CONvergence's 'opening night.' Traditionally, there's a Guests of Honor/Former Guests of Honor mixer held on Wednesday night to kick everything off. Eleanor Arnason (GoH 2001) and I (GoH 2012) went together.

I managed to loose my voice yesterday afternoon, so I squeaked a lot, and pretty much everyone who heard me gave me advice about how to conserve it/help it. (All of which I intend to take.)

The party itself was surprisingly fun.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, the CONvergence people are always awesome and know how to throw a good party. It's more that as a visiting artist/writing professional in a room of one's colleagues, sometimes the atmosphere can be kind of... well, daunting. You look around the room and you think, "Wow, all these writers/artists/media stars..." and your next thought is often, "What am I doing here? Compared to them, I'm nobody."

Like actors, writers are often seen as 'only as good as their current project' (at least among ourselves.) This, I've found is far less true out in the Real World. If you've written and published once, for most people, you're always a professional writer. The latter makes far more sense than the former. A book, once published, is always there for people to see. Regardless, a fellow author is likely to ask, "What are you working on now?" And, when the answer is, "Oh, um... nothing official," it can make for a very awkward night.

For whatever reason, last night, I didn't feel any of that. I saw a room full of people, many of them friends I hadn't seen in a while, and then I found the corner of anime fans and we squeed about the fact that the newest season of Free! started.

Seemed like an auspicious start. Fingers crossed that the rest of the con goes as well.

If you're attending con this year, here's a lovely pointer to my CONvergence schedule:

You can also get from there to the main programming schedule. CONvergence is amazing because they also have this whole 'app' thing figured out. You can download any number of amazing things to keep track of your con and follow along with live tweets and everything. (Didn't I say? These CONvergence people are GOOD!)

As you can see if you go to my schedule, I'm going to be hopping this con. Today, I have THREE Panels:

5:00 - 6:00 PM, Edina
The huge new thing - and they're all becoming movies now! Discuss the Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, Legend, Mazerunner, and more. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Hilary Moon Murphy, Kethry Burke-Scovill, Christine Norris, Pete Hautman

7:00 - 8:00 PM, Edina
Where are the Black Widow / Wonder Woman / etc. movies? Panelists: Shawn van Briesen, Joan Sullivan, Kelly Pesola, Jonathan Palmer*

(*I'm listed on my own schedule as being on this, but I'm not in the program. I'll show up and hope they're feeling generous and let me on. Perhaps I can wow them by the fact I've read the new Black Widow title.)

8:30 - 9:30 PM, Plaza 2
Intrigued by anime, but don't know where to start? This is the panel for you. Come learn the lingo, the classics for a strong anime foundation, and how to avoid accidentally showing your children hentai. Panelists: Jessi Silver, Lyda Morehouse, Heather Deakman, Damarra Atkins

I suspect I'm on the last panel intentionally as a newbie. Since I'm not sure I've watched all the anime classics. My introduction to anime was pure accident (Starblazers was on my TV at 6 am when I was 12 or so--I didn't even know it was, as we called it then, "Japanimation" until someone typed on a screen and the characters weren't familiar to me) and I've been feeling my way through the genre, ever since... but I supposed that's a good counterpoint to the methodical, careful researcher.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today is shaping up to be a productive and possibly social day for me. I managed to get a bunch of errands all done before 9:00 am (including returning a purchase to Target) and Shawn just e-mailed to say she might be available for a lunch get-together. At 1:00 pm I'm going to be meeting a friend from KSW to read his astrology chart. So, that's like twice as many people as I usually see in any given afternoon.

Otherwise, after about fifteen minutes or so, I'm planning on getting up off my sorry butt and doing the dishes while watching Anime. I'm still working through the original (1984) FullMetal Alchemist. Mason suggested I just give up on it since so many people seem to prefer The Brotherhood, but I'm stubbornly seeing the storyline through to the end. Because I'm like that.

CONvergence is clearly picking up steam, as I've been contacted a bunch of times about various preferences and arrangments. I still can't quite believe how awesome it is that I'm going to be one of their guests this year. This is the event, after all, that much of the Twin Cities simply refers to as "Con" (which implies it's the ONLY ONE, Highlander-style.)

It has now been confirmed by the programming guy that my con schedule for CONvergence is "crazy busy." Anton had earlier hinted that my programming was "a metric tonne." So, I guess I get to have ALL THE PANELS. Hooray! It's like Christmas in July!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I need to mention a couple of things. First of all [ profile] naomikritzer found this awesome ad on Craig's List Minneapolis:

Star Wars Character with Lightsaber Experience

Can I just say I _love_ the line, "Lightsaber skills a must." Because, you know, that's easily demonstrable. Also, how many zillions of local fans right now are thinking, "damn, I have the costume, but not the Jedi training!!" Or, "Crap, I can only move things with my mind, Yoda wouldn't teach me any of the awesome moves!!"

Actually, in all seriousness, as I just posted on Wyrdsmiths, I have no doubt you could hire out something really, truly incredible through local fandom. I know there's probably an entire battalion of stormtroopers who could show up and bust up the party at the end. You know... suddenly, I want this for MY birthday party.

Secondly, it's official!! I've just been offered and accepted one of the Guest of Honor spots at CONvergence in 2012 (just in time for the end of the world according to the Mayan calander)! Whoot! Get your tickets now. It's going to be AWESOME. Extra points if you show up in your stormtrooper costume and/or have mad lightsaber skillz!!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, despite NOT being Mason's favorite parent, he and I went to the park. In the way of my little nerd, we brought along books to read. (New LEGOs catalogue arrived!!!) We started at Mirriam Park, but quickly discovered that it was empty and very cold. So, after a quick stop back home for sweaters and such we headed for the River Road (Saint Paul side.) By chance we ended up reading on a park bench right next to the Desnoyer Park extension (a little paved path that disappeared into the woods towards the Mississippi River.) After hanging out on the park bench just reading for a half hour or so, Mason decided he was up for a little adventure. So we checked out the extension path. It took us down to the river's edge where Mason spend several hours just finding large rocks to toss into the river. We watched some people on the opposite shore play with their dogs on a wide sandy beach, and then we followed the trail awhile until Mason found some easily climbed sandstone cliffs and including one weird little crevass that in a horror film would have housed some giant trapdoor spider, but as it was, was a great place to slip and climb in the white sand.

Mason soon declared this was "the best day ever." So, while I might not be the parent du jour, I get to share the very best days with him. I decided that was a pretty good deal after all. :-)

He's aggitating to go back to the River Road today, and we may do that, although we have a new LEGO Star Wars game at home to figure out. Mason joined Half Price Books' Summer Reading Program, wherein if you read at least 15 minutes a day for seven days a week you get a $3.00 coupon to use at the store. Mason exchanged three weeks worth of reading yesterday and bought the game, a sticker book, a Marvel All Ages "Fantastic Four" graphic novel, and, of course, Mommie and I bought a ton of stuff (although Mama sighed and said that nothing compares to Uncles and we'll just have to make time to get over there before her next business trip to Seattle in the next week.)

Anyway, we're hanging out at the coffee shop right now and I think Mason is at the end of his patience for sittin' and reading, so I may have to keep things short.

Here's my CONvergence schedule:

Friday July 3

7:00 PM: Tricks of the Trade: How to Publish and Not Perish

Saturday July 4

11:00 AM: Lyda Morehouse Signing

12:30 PM: Meet the Wyrdsmiths

2:00 PM: Writers Groups: The Secret to Success in Fiction?

3:30 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading

Oh, and hey, we have a Senator. Whoot!

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