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e_moon60

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow [Aug. 16th, 2009|06:45 pm]
e_moon60
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Literally.  I'm back from ArmadilloCon (a few hours ago--the laundry from that excursion has just been taken in from the clothesline smelling of very hot sunshine) and tomorrow morning I leave for South Carolina, to speak at Clemson University.

ArmadilloCon was fun as usual.   There was the crossbow (small, red, throws goldfish crackers a nice distance--also throws M&Ms but you don't want to use those in a room with a carpet in case someone steps on the ammo before you can retrieve it.)    There was the guy in the Clemson T-shirt who told me a few things about Clemson that might get the crowd on my side, maybe.  There were friends.  There were fellow writers (many of whom are friends.)  There was crawfish etouffee at Papadoux (or however you spell it--I am TIRED) that I coudln't finish.  I slept instead of eating supper between yesterday's afternoon panel and the 9 pm one I had to moderate.  The ConDFW party (small but select, and the mini-bow was a real hit--though I fear my eternal attempt to prove that I am sweet, gentle, and completely harmless may have been damaged by the crossbow...)  

Then I came home and had to do the laundry, hang it out, and start thinking what to stuff in the suitcase for tomorrow's trip.  Grump.  Hate, hate, hate, back-to-backs without even 24 hours between, but there was no alternative.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kristine_smith
2009-08-17 12:20 am (UTC)
though I fear my eternal attempt to prove that I am sweet, gentle, and completely harmless...

::chuckles quietly::
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-17 01:58 am (UTC)
I chuckle back at the person Scott was frantically looking for last night when you left your stained glass behind...at least he was sure you'd left...I even went up to the con suite to ferret you out, but you were not there...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-17 01:41 am (UTC)
Sigh. It was intended to be a Palin-esque giggle of pert innocence. Not, huh?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-17 01:57 am (UTC)
O well, then. Kick that idea to the curb. I'm not giving up my vocabulary and I won't wear high heels. (Well...maybe in boots. But not spiky ones.)

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[User Picture]From: lillian13
2009-08-17 01:12 am (UTC)
I would spot a goldfish and think to myself "See the spoor left behind by the wild Elizabeth, crafty and stealthy...."

I think I need to contact Iolo about getting one for Rachel!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-17 01:42 am (UTC)
I'm not responsible for every goldfish...other people tried it out now and then.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:42 am (UTC)
I suppose it's how you (or I) define "harmless." The iron skillet on my stove is harmless, as an iron skillet; properly used, it will never hurt anyone. Forget that the handle heats up, and you get a burned hand. Corner me with evil intent when the skillet's near at hand, and...suddenly it's Skullbasher, Jawbreaker, Teethflinger...or in short form, Burglarbane. I think of myself as harmless with an asterisk. I know the peace bonds tied down over the blade and what won't loose them. But of course...I know what will. That's the asterisk. So many things are shrugged off. Some are muttered at. Nothing in decades has cut the peace bonds. With luck, nothing will for the rest of my life...there's a time to have that kind of fight over with, done, past. But like you, I wouldn't bet my lunch money on it...and the asterisk remains. Harmless* (*in nearly all but not all circumstances.)

(Giving and receiving bruises in training is outside the calculations.)

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[User Picture]From: dirtwitch
2009-08-17 05:11 am (UTC)
Yay! Iolo got one finished for you! I sold a couple at Pennsic, but, really, it was the goldfish that sold them...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:28 am (UTC)
Yes, the red one! and I had such fun with it! And he's got more orders for more.
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From: ozdragonlady
2009-08-17 01:18 pm (UTC)

*rofl*

When are you going to accept that you are not "sweet, gentle, and completely harmless"? >:>

And why do you have to be?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:24 am (UTC)

Re: *rofl*

Why should I be (or appear to be) sweet, gentle, and harmless? Because I'm too lazy (and too old and too creaky-in-the-joints) to go stomping around being visibly nasty, rough, and dangerous. That ends in having more fights than any sane person wants, and if you keep on having unnecessary fights, you don't have a lot of energy/strength/remaining body-parts-that-work left for the few critical ones. (Something a certain former US President never caught onto, because apparently he always got rescued from his early follies.) This way I don't provoke ire from any but the worst actors, and their contempt of my actual ability to fight back means they're careless.

And I'm not.

So kindly help me follow the advice of the author of STRATEGY, who advised indirection. Quit that giggling and hooting and rolling on the floor laughing as you point at me, and just agree that I'm sweet, gentle, and harmless.

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From: ozdragonlady
2009-08-20 01:49 pm (UTC)

Re: *rofl* - *cackle* *roflmao*

Or you'll come after me with that great big sword you are waggling at me???
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 02:06 pm (UTC)

Re: *rofl* - *cackle* *roflmao*

Of course not. Especially not when you're so busy with LifeStuff (tm). No, I'd bake you a loaf of bread or some sweet rolls and suggest we relax and chat awhile.
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From: ozdragonlady
2009-08-20 10:12 pm (UTC)

Re: *rofl* - *cackle* *roflmao*

And very welcome you would be 'n all, thankee ma'am :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 10:31 pm (UTC)

Re: *rofl* - *cackle* *roflmao*

Wish we had a gate, portal, transfer beam, or other means of instant (or shorter than that long, long, long, long flight) transportation. I think some home-baked goodies, done by someone who promises to clean up her own mess after, would be good for you.

Alas, it'll have to be virtual comfort, not actual. Virtual hugs, cup of tea or cocoa, baked goods.
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From: ozdragonlady
2009-08-20 11:28 pm (UTC)

Re: *rofl* - *cackle* *roflmao*

Youd be most welcome - but 'tis cool, things are looking up a bit now.

Just have a meeting to get through this afternoon, including my boss, and it all may pan out better. Things have been suspiciously quiet since he had a word to our ex-boss, who would have been most displeased at what had been happening. Ex-boss has a fairly impersonal way of dealing with folks - but he does get things moving and he hates innaccuarcy (hes an accountant) and he sits people down and says, now what do you need to do to fix this ... and works through it. Trouble is (for those folks who have been causing us grief), then he expects you to go away and do it!
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[User Picture]From: amm_me
2009-08-17 04:09 pm (UTC)
Does someone have a picture of the goldfish crossbow? Please?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:25 am (UTC)
Several people took pictures, but as I had to leave the con early, and then leave for a trip, I don't have one. I may be able to post one tomorrow--we'll see.

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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2009-08-17 06:22 pm (UTC)
I haven't been to ArmadilloCon in a few years. 4 or 5 at least. I went to three of the cons, and one of the writing workshops one year. I've met some cool people there (I met you twice at the con), but it is pretty hard to go with two kids (one a toddler).
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:27 am (UTC)
I hear you on that...it's hard to go to conventions with one kid, if you don't have a designated helper. With two...until they were both old enough...I'd never make it for more than an hour at a time.
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2009-08-20 04:47 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'll make it next year, my son will be four, and my daughter nine, and my hubby is an SF geek so he loves talking to writers. I just have to remember to plan ahead, and I shouldn't forget because it is usually around my birthday. I suspect if I ever do get published that I'll have to make time out for it. I know I'll be nervous as all get out that I'll make an idiot out of myself. My degrees are in English not in a science related field although most of my fiction is fantasy. I've always wanted to write some military SF; I figure my husband can help me with the science parts.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 05:12 pm (UTC)
It will be easier if you've been there before you're published, so you grasp the social structure of conventions and feel comfortable. It's really a lot less daunting than addressing a university audience or the annual meeting of a major charity organization (did both--found the first times VERY stressful.)

Try to corral hubby into sharing child-care at the first SF cons you attend. You need some time to just wander, look, listen. Tell people it's your first one, that you've been home with kids, that your hubby is watching them for an hour (two, if you can manage that) and then let them welcome you and tell you all about it. Attend at least one panel *without kids* (because it will bore them and they'll fidget or make noise and you'll be in Mother Mode not in audience mode.) Go to the con suite, chat with people. You will find you naturally gravitate to some and not others...and it may surprise you which you find yourself wanting to spend more time with...but circulate at your first three conventions. Take a bite of everything on the plate, so to speak.

The rules for happy con-going are pretty simple: be polite, don't start rows, take care of the health & hygiene stuff (get enough sleep, food, quiet time, showers, to feel comfortable.) It isn't all about writers and books (though we sometimes wish it were...) and you'll find people with a wide range of interests and activities--any topic from archaeology to gardening to zoology (Terran and fictional-alien) may come up. You'll find very well socialized people--and some less so--but as long as you aren't too tired, hungry, stressed-out, you should enjoy it.

I, on the other hand, didn't know about SF conventions until I'd sold my first stories (not yet out) and had to do a crash course in "how to attend a con and enjoy it" which involved a few cons where I felt totally fish out of water. So go on and go, starting with something smaller than a NASFiC or WorldCon (ideally. Those were my first two. Eeek!) Make some friends, see if you like the flow (I do), and then when you're published someday you won't be like me and wonder if the book dealers in the dealer's room will "let" you sign your books. (They *want* writers to come by and sign stock--it helps the books sell. Of course you ask if they want them signed now or later--sometimes it's later.)
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2009-08-20 05:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I've been to a few including ArmadilloCon, so that's probably why I'd be worried about saying something stupid or being a wallflower. I made it to DragonCon (huge!) and WorldCon when it was in San Antonio. Of course, I've only gone as a fan. When or if I get to go as a pro, I don't want to be one of those writers who everyone just shakes their head at. I think I'd almost rather talk about SF television or movies since I'm a huge fan than writing, but I think that is mostly a confidence issue. Usually my folks will watch the kids, but the one time they couldn't, my hubby played chase the girl (the next day they watched her). I did manage to attend the ArmadilloCon workshop one year, and A.C. Crispin's workshop at DragonCon.

I know if I go to another workshop, I'd really like to try to get into Clarion West, but I know it is highly competitive and expensive.

Wow, WorldCon as a first con--scary! I think the first con I went to was probably an Anime con.

I think the real fear for me would be the public speaking. I'm fine in certain situations where it is impromptu or playing music with a group, but solo in a formal situation, I get nervous.

Thanks for the advice, I know I like the con scene especially getting to talk to writers and fans. My hubby was actually the one who pushed me to the Con scene to try and make connections with people. I'm an extrovert, but I'm shy around people I don't know if that makes any sense. You probably can't tell that online. I think though I will definitely make sure I do some local cons to get my feet wet again since it's been a few years like you suggest. Maybe ArmadilloCon next year or ApolloCon when it comes up.

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-08-20 07:05 pm (UTC)
You can avoid the public speaking aspect by just talking to people in one-on-one or small-group situations. Some writers hate public speaking and just never do it.

But you can also look at the people you enjoy (and see others enjoying) as they talk on panels or do a reading, or a solo program item--and instead of just listening/watching, analyze: what is it they do that you and others like? Which of those things do you normally do when you're talking with friends? Then notice the details of the ones you don't like to listen to...what is it they're doing or not doing that makes it a less fun experience for you and other listeners?

Then you can either--with the help of some friends and a videocam--practice public speaking until you know exactly how you look and sound, and what you want to change, or you can take a class in public speaking and/or voice, which will do much the same thing. Public speaking, like writing for publication, is an extension of something we all do anyway--we talk to each other, and we write notes (or post on blogs) to each other. We also all have (or nearly all) some tension when we're suddenly in front of, and not among, other people. But the audience nearly always wants you to succeed. They want you to be fun to listen to...they want you to be interesting. Your friends and family think you're fun to be around--what is it they like about you? At least one of the things you do with friends and family is something other people would enjoy--whether it's your knowledge of a skill or ability to tell jokes or the ability to keep a conversational ball in the air when others are momentarily stumped.

Instead of focusing on how scared you'll be, and how likely you are to screw up and look stupid, focus on preparing yourself so you are less likely to screw up or look stupid--and if it happens, laugh at yourself. "Did I say THAT?" and burst out laughing. We all make mistakes--professionals on TV make mistakes. Do we hate the "outtakes?" No--we treasure the blunders. The nervousness can actually give you a boost of energy (so it's nervous energy--you can still use it) so that you seem animated, not frozen.

Besides, an SF con, even a big one, is 99% NOT "a formal situation."

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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2009-08-20 09:29 pm (UTC)
*nods* You are absolutely right. I'm okay in informal situation or even a lecture (taught college a bit). Bombed the college class Public Speaking (passed but got a C-). Admittedly, it is probably a good ways into the future before I'll be in that situation, but you never know. I hope not!
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