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: (Default)
It's Tuesday, so there is a new Tate installment: Bringing Balance and Force in which we learn the TRUE mission of the demon Internal Affairs agents. Dun-dun-DAAAAHHHHH.

There is also new story up on my co-writing project with Rachel Gold/Calish called, "Demons, Demons Everywhere" and is the introduction to the character of Erin.

All of this is late getting to you because my morning was IN-teresting, as we say in Minnesota. I knew I didn't have much time to get everything done because I had to go pick up Shawn by 9:30 am to get to an appointment with our lawyer. We haven't changed our wills and such since being married, so we figured we should get that all taken care of finally. At any rate, I'd just settled in and stared writing when there was a shy knock on the door. I figured it had to be too early for Mormons so I opened the door. I discovered the eldest neighbor kid. He wondered if it would be possible for me to give him and his brother a ride to school. They'd overslept and they didn't have enough cash in the house to pay to take the city bus. I hemmed and hawed, but, seriously... it seemed like the thing to do. So, I ended up giving them and their dad (who, if you have been following along is a genderqueer person named Ebony.) They use the 'her' pronoun, but call her dad. So, there you go.

Ebony joined us because... everything is more fun when Ebony is involved.

As I told Shawn later, the thing that amuses me about every interaction I have with Ebony is that I feel like we could use subtitles provided by Urban Dictionary. Plus, she is so much bolder than me. I have exactly ONE question I want to ask. "What is your preferred pronoun?" It's not a rude question and with her kids in the back saying, "Hey, Dad..." this and "Hey, Dad" that, it seems like I could just pipe up and say, "Speaking of that, do prefer he or she or yo or what?" But, somehow I never manage this.

Ebony meanwhile, just asks all the things, shamelessly.

I ended up telling her all about how Shawn is Mason's birth mom, how I ended up warming up the vial of sperm in my hand during the insemination process, and all sorts of crazy things like that. SUPER personal stuff!

On the other hand, I found out more than I wanted to about their financial situation--none of which actually surprised me (they use the food shelf, etc.) but which just made things a little more awkward (if that's possible?) Shawn and I are very rarely food insecure, but that's because we made a decision in college that we would sacrifice nearly everything to be able to buy what we wanted for food. This is why we have no cable. This is why we don't have an X-box or flat screen TV or more than one car. We dumped all those things so that we can, if we want, buy our bread at a nice bakery and put decent dinners on the table and go out eat and have pizza every so often.

We do the same thing to keep ourselves and Mason in books.

But, we *do* have the luxury of that choice. It's very clear that our neighbors don't.

Ebony, who already works ungodly hours at the Wendy's down the block, is now trying to get a second job for the holiday so they can afford something really nice for Christmas for her kids. I heard all about Nicole's health problems, too. I have a lot of respect for them. They're really working it to make a go of things.

So... that was my morning.

I should pull out the best Ebony conversational moment though:

Ebony: (after learning Shawn was Mason's birth mom) "But he really favors you."
Me: (using internal translator) "You mean he looks like me?"
Ebony: Exactly.

At first, I thought she was telling me she thought that Mason liked me better/had bonded better with me than Shawn, but given my experience with "stud" I decided to double-check.

SERIOUSLY. I need subtitles.

At any rate, I managed all that and got us off to the lawyers in no time. Tonight is going to continue this running around trend because Mason and I have Japanese class tonight AND a new book he's been waiting forever for is out today. So there's a quick stop at Barnes & Noble too. Busy! Busy!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
In a minute I'm going to change into my painting clothes and go paint our fence.  It's already green, so I'm re-painting it green...which may seem like an odd choice.  I can't quite remember why we thought this was a good idea in the first place.  I do remember painting it the very first time many, many moons ago and our next door neighbor saying from her second story porch (just loud enough for me to hear), "Tsk, those Micks will paint anything green."  

This is not as random as it may seem.  

She apparently thought we were Irish due to the bumper sticker on my car at the time which read, "26 + 6 = 1" (which is a reference to the partition of Ireland and my personal politics.)  And you know, we painted our porch green too... so she might have had cause to think we had some kind of weird love of the color green. And, god knows, I might have been blasting Irish music while painting, too, so... not as odd an assumption as you might think, given that I'm Czech and Polish and German.  

When I was talking to Naomi about this last night at Wyrdsmiths, we stopped to wonder what a Czech or Polish or German person might paint a thing if they were feeling particularly patriotic.  Turns out, red would work for all of them.  But, I'm not painting everything red.  I mean, it DOES still kind of suit my politics, but you know., then the neighbors would have to be all, "Tsk, those Commies will paint anything red!"

In un-related news, I was going to see if I could find a Japanese language 'tape' to listen to while outside painting.  I may just have to listen to music (oh noz!) but it would be nice to reinforce my Japanese.... because, damn, I feel far too old to be starting a new language.  Though, as a bonus, I've been listening to my "John Learner" tapes in the car again.  What is funny is that, of course, what I remember best is the English and I find myself, not so much listening to learn the language, as making up crazy stories about the life and adventures of John Learner.

This is what I mean about too old.  The Japanese just bounces off me and I'm off in my imaginary world with fictitious John Learner.


Speaking of things Japanese, though, I signed Mason and I up for Anime Detour.  We are now officially attending together!  That should be great fun.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Okay, I should stop stalling.  There is a fence to paint!

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