Books Graduate school Travel Writing

Going conning

What is it about half-weeks before a trip that makes them so odd, even when you’re not missing school or work to travel? I’m not leaving for Wiscon until Thursday morning, but I still feel rushed. Partly this is self-induced dissertation pressure; it’s weird to realize that Wiscon will consume the last few days of May and drop me into June. I’m starting to build some real momentum on this chapter, but I’ve been enjoying thinking to myself, oh, it’s still May, I have so much time. In fact: no. From mid-July to mid-August, I’ll be teaching an intermediate fiction workshop at UT — fiction-writing boot camp, basically, meeting M-F for 75 minutes a day. I’m really excited but fully aware that I won’t get much else done during those five weeks. Fortunately, it looks like the 2010-2011 school year is now going to be completely dedicated to writing (of the diss and of Killingly — I’ll say more once everything is confirmed).

I’m going to try to write up a Wiscon report, since it’s my first time going. I’m especially curious to see how panels work and what kinds of conversations they create. I’ve gotten so accustomed to the academic humanities style of conference presentations that I could feel my hackles rise, a few days ago, when I stumbled across a non-academic’s blog post complaining about the way academics organize and perform at conferences. I actually do think that the conference paper can be a valuable genre, though I get why it bothers people. But I’m curious to see how academic round tables, for example, compare to the more free-form discussions I’m anticipating at Wiscon.

Also, I’m looking forward to geeking out.

A few things I’ve been geeking out about recently:

This map of movie locations in California and the other places they’re meant to represent.

This essay about how flawed theories about scurvy led to a temporary loss of the cure for it.

And Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”:

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