Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rock, Paper, Web

Nina (my ten-year-old) decided to teach Max (my four-year-old) to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. After a few throws, Max put out a hand with two fingers pressed to his palm and said “web”. I’ve never been more proud and horrified at the same time. Not only was Max thinking way outside the box, he grasped the fact the Spiderman trumped rock, paper or scissors.

Of course, then there’s the matter of geek influence. Nina knew what Max’s gesture meant. Have I submersed my children in geek culture? By watching certain shows with them, as opposed to near them, by being more willing to play with action figures than soccer balls – based on my own skill and knowledge base, got to play to your strengths, right? – have I pointed them down the geeking path, aimed at a future of cons, zines and recurring frustration that a jet pack does not, indeed, actually exist, because I would be home by now?

I’m not sure. I shared a love of words and automobiles with my father, but not basketball or early rock and roll. So I’ve decided not to be too worried. Exposure is about all I can offer anyway. My children are already carving their own personalities out of whatever raw material Sarah and I threw down – rock, paper or webbing, I guess.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zen Questions

What's the sound of one author clapping? No, no, I've got a better one. If an author falls in the woods, does he make any noise? I pondered these questions sitting in the Gardenview Room, which really does look out at a garden, as opposed to most hotel conference rooms which have nothing to do with America's founding fathers or fox running or other inane marketing folk cleping. I pondered these questions in abject silence, awaiting someone, anyone to show for my live reading. From my book. I probably should have said 'palms' or 'tea leaves'. I would have gotten a lot more response.

There's little worse than forced meditation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Here’s what I’m doing

I’ll be in Toronto this weekend, attending SFContario. This is the convention’s inaugural run, but I’m convinced it’s going to be a success. The organization leading up to this con as been outstanding. They sent out clever surveys well in advance, to help create panels that made best use of the scheduled participants. At least that’s true in my case. I’m on the following: Introducing SF to four-year-olds, Writing Short Stories That Don’t Sell and Coffee Drinking. I’m the moderator on that one.

I’m also on How to Write a Proposal, Why SF, Best of 2010 and Fake Swearing. Really. That one I did not make up. I’m doing a reading on Sat. at 2:30 PM and if you’re in the area, stop by. Please. As only one in 50 get half my jokes, I need 100 people in attendance to hear any chuckles.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Get Cold

Crawl out from under your blanket. I don’t like to take advice, so I really don’t like to give it, but there it is – get cold. I’ve been to two conventions now, ostensibly to remind people that my novel Cinco de Mayo waited for their eager eyes at area book stores or Amazon. In both cases, I went knowing no one. Not my forte. I live two miles from the house in which I grew up, married my high-school sweetheart and never go to a restaurant to which I haven’t already been. My fiction spans the globe. I do not. Making conventions that much more formidable to me. More important, too. Somebody’s got to know I wrote a book, right?

Forcing myself out of my little writer’s pod as been the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the last two months. Out in the world, alone, I had to talk to people, so I did, and it turned out wonderfully. Science fiction and fantasy conventions facilitate friendliness in a way I hadn’t anticipated. The ice is already broken. We all already have something in common. Conversation flows like a creek in spring. I also enjoyed the lack of competition. These aren’t a trade show, with competing companies battling for attention. No one rooted a team they needed to see smash another team into irrelevance. Everyone seemed to want everyone else to have a good time. Very refreshing.

Attending a convention without buddies is like jumping into the deep end to check the temperature of the water. It can be cold. It can test you. It can also be a fresh experience and every writer needs those more than the security of a down comforter. Besides, conventions like these are really just a bigger blanket. As they should be.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fantasy Fantasy League II

We have a winner, with six out of nine correct answers. I didn't think anyone would score that high. Indeed, the next highest score was three, with a whole bunch of people hitting that plateau. Most only got two right, with Charles Vess being everyone's best guess.

Thanks for playing.